People in fear for their lives got out-of-the-way of a frightful woman dressed in yellow with danger in her eyes and a Pabst Blue ribbon in her hand. She was making her way through the crowd to get closer to Brent Cowles. He was performing his last show of the year (it was billed as the year end banger). Cowles is from Colorado Springs formally from the alt-country band You, Me & Apollo. He is back with an impressive solo album appropriately titled How to Be Okay Alone.
His band opened with the spirited Hold Up transforming the Bluebird Theater into a rock and roll revival. With long curly hair and a 70’s style mustache, Cowles commanded the audience’s attention. His voice ranged from a falsetto to a low growl making each song full of surprises. One moment Cowles would be dancing to a high-energy groove and the next instant shedding a tear during a heartfelt serenade.
The woman in yellow was unwisely handed an additional R.B.R. that made everyone take a step back.
Singer Heidi Hamill harmonized beautifully with Cowles. Their duet Velvet Soul created such an intense energy Cowles left the stage. Returning in a sparkling jacket, Cowles declared it was something special he put on for the audience. After Cowles played a few ballads on his own, Hamill returned in a matching shiny dress to assist with the vocals on the haunting 9th and Lafayette.
Cowles announced that the band was going to play a seasonal song. Instead of the traditional Christmas jingle, they performed the original Cold Times (no jingle bells or reindeer were mentioned). Lead guitarist Trent Nelson added an additional layer of sound to the song with his unique leg stomping style of playing.
The woman in yellow had her head on the stage making everyone wonder if she was going to spit up her seasonal cheer.
The band finished with How to Be Okay Alone. It started quiet and built to an explosive ending. Drummer Joe Richmond was so caught up in the emotion of the night; he lifted Cowles off the ground before exiting the spotlight.
Starting the night of music was local favorite Strange Americans. The American roots band has shared the stage with everyone from the Old 97’s to Miles Nielsen. Matt Hoffman led the band through material from both their albums That Kind of Luster and last year’s release Borrow Your Brother. Crowd favorites Riverside and Places II were played to the audience’s delight. Trent Nelson pulled double duty playing guitar in both bands on the night’s line up. Strange Americans will be opening for another local favorite Gasoline Lollipops at the Gothic Theatre on February 22nd.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one wearing a sparkling jacket staying clear of the woman dressed in yellow.