Rufus Wainwright and Rachel Eckroth at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO on 11-17-18

Rufus Wainwright – All Photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess

On Saturday night, Rufus Wainwright recalled the first time he performed in Boulder. It was about twenty-years-ago at a radio conference promoting his first album. When Wainwright sang April Fools, several fraternity brothers in the audience became angry about his flamboyant delivery. That’s when two avid followers of the singer (Wainwright described them as “bears”) started dancing between the perplexed members of the Greek organization. This silenced the detractors and made others witness his unique talent.

Rufus Wainwright in a colorful cape

Rufus Wainwright is music royalty. He is the son of renowned folk-singer Loudon Wainwright III and Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle of the legendary McGarrigle Sisters. Wainwright has recorded multiple albums, written two operas, and covered classic songs for the movies I am Sam (a Sean Penn film about a mentally handicapped man) and Moulin Rouge (a musical starring Nichole Kidman). Wainwright’s current tour is revisiting his earlier music that catapulted him into the spotlight.

He appeared on stage in a pin striped suit and a Charles Dickens style top hat (possibly to use for caroling after the show). The first half concentrated on songs from Wainwright’s 1998 self-titled album. He revealed his mother was the inspiration for one of the songs entitled Beauty Mark – “I may not be so manly/But still I know you love me/Even if I don’t have your beauty mark.”

Rufus Wainwright in a feather cape

Wainwright informed the audience about Joni Mitchell’s star studded seventy-fifth birthday celebration that he recently attended. Apparently, Seal played the song Both, Sides Down at the party. But Wainwright performed it flawlessly at the Boulder Theater.

After a brief intermission, Wainwright returned in a colorful cape and yet another top hat (more Steampunk than Dickens this time). He sang the entire album Poses with more attitude and power than the record. Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk had the audience sing along to the silly lyrics about addiction. During Evil Angel and In a Graveyard, Wainwright slipped on a black feather cape to illustrate the darkness of the songs.
The night ended with the song he recorded for the I Am Sam Soundtrack (re-recorded for the Poses album) The BeatlesAcross the Universe –  “Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup/They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe.”

Rachel Eckroth

Rufus Wainwright’s multi-instrumentalist band member was also the opening act. Rachel Eckroth adorned a sparkly blouse and sat behind two keyboards she called, “the spaceship.” She played mainly material from her new album When It Falls. The songs explore her melancholy state of mind after the recent death of her father. The studio album features her Grammy award winning producer/bassist husband Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie’s bass player). Eckroth has a beautiful voice that complimented Wainwright vocals throughout the evening. On her own, Echroth’s singing was powerfully moving despite the use of backing tracks. The crowd was memorized when she repeated the phrase, “I had the strangest dream.” 

See you at the next show. I’ll be wearing a Charles Dickens’ top hat looking for a feathered cape.

 

Dermot Kennedy and The O’ My’s at the Summit in Denver, CO 0n 11/9/18

Dermot Kennedy – Photos by the
Rock and Roll Princess

The sold-out Summit crowd was giddy with anticipation to see the Dublin, Ireland singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy. So much so that someone left in an ambulance before the show even started (drinking can be dangerous). The twenty-five year-old musician layers his vividly poetic songs with elements of hip-hop. A few years ago Kennedy got his big break when he was invited to be part of fellow Irishman Glen Hansard’s annual Christmas concert. The exposure catapulted Kennedy into the spotlight.

Dermot Kennedy

Dermot Kennedy started his set with the song All My Friends. It’s a combination of rapping poetry, rolling keyboards, and a heartfelt chorus. A few songs later, the mostly twenty-something female crowd shouted along to Young & Free. Fun Fact: the name Dermot translates to free man. The song could have easily been named Young and Dermot (probably a bad choice). Next Kennedy played Boston. The lyrics describe the summer he spent busking near …wait for it….Boston universities when he was eighteen.

Kennedy thanked the audience for making his latest single Power Over Me such a hit. It was released just before his current tour started a few weeks ago. That’s when a gospel vocal echoed over the audience making most of the loud drunks stop talking for a brief moment. His other gospel inspired song Glory had him belting out, “A set of eyes had pinned him/Became his version of a kingdom/She’s everything the devil can’t be/When she’s singing to me Glory.” Kennedy ended with After the Rain. It was the same song he played at the Glen Hansard concert that made everyone first notice his incredible talent. Kennedy didn’t have an encore because all he had to give was already left on the stage.

The O’ My’s

The O’ My’s were the opening band. The duo from Chicago, Illinois is made-up of singer/guitarist Maceo Haymes with an impressive falsetto and keyboardist Nick Hennessey with an equally impressive mustache. They met in high school and have been playing music around the Chicago area ever since. The O’ My’s recently released a new album entitled Tomorrow with a guest appearance by Chance The Rapper. The MC did not join them on stage. But their heartfelt song Pieces more than made up for it. Another fun fact: Pieces appeared in the Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson HBO series Ballers.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one shouting fun facts over loud drunks.

Insane Clown Posse at the Stampede in Aurora, CO on 10/28/18

Insane Clown Posse

Halloween is the time of year to do something that scares you. People usually watch a horror movie, visit a haunted house, or handout candy to creepy little trick-or-treaters. I decided to do something much more frightening… see the Insane Clown Posse.

Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler) from Detroit, Michigan are the rapping duo known as ICP. They dress up in clown make-up and perform their own unique style of horror themed rap known as Horrorcore. ICP has sold millions of records, formed their own record label, and even founded their own federal wresting federation (Juggalo Championship Wrestling).

Fargo Covered Crowd

Their devoted fans are known as the Juggalos. The FBI has labeled them a gang. This is mainly due to the fact a small percentage of them commit petty theft, assault, and/or break stuff. I only witnessed devotees of ICP embracing a long tradition of dressing in clown make-up, wearing ICP merchandise, and repeating their signature phrase, “Whoop-whoop.”

It was ICP’s twenty-fifth anniversary of their Hallowicked Tour. It was billed as the last actual traveling Freak Show on planet earth. I witnessed a sword swallower, a woman shooting sparks over her body with a metal grinder, and a clown Elvis impersonator named Clownvis. I assumed they were performing between opening acts. I didn’t realize that they were the opening acts.

Insane Clown Posse

The show began on a dark stage with a Freak Show sign. Two cages were uncovered containing costume characters Ape Boy and ManyFaces. They remained confined behind the bars dancing throughout the performance. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope appeared next restrained by chains. After being released, ICP began rapping the fittingly titled In Yo Face from their Bang! Pow! Boom! album. The duo started to spray Faygo (a soda made in in their hometown of Detroit) on the crowd. They go through around 300 to 400 two-litter bottles of the soda a show. The Faygo’s odor (mostly diet root beer) was so strong I could smell it from the balcony. Vulgar songs about Halloween, birthday parties, and tilt-a-whirls were rapped along with carnival organ music. Meanwhile more Faygo, streamers, and confetti covered the crowd. I remained safely in the balcony.

 

Merch Booth

Near the end of the show, Shaggy 2 Dope announced that everyone there is a Juggalo. That’s when the fans that paid for the VIP upgrade jumped on stage for the Faygo Armageddon. They sprayed the crowd with Faygo as the band performed If I Was a Serial Killer. The rappers left the stage as the Juggalos sprayed each other with the signature soda. As the long lines formed to buy a large variety of ICP t-shirts, it was apparent the images and the fans of the clown rappers were the stars of the night.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one smelling like Diet Root Beer Faygo.