June 25, 2006

Brandi Carlile & The Fray: Denver 6/24/06

My first experience with the CityLights Pavilion last night was a favorable one. True story: I notice the stunning close-up view of the Denver skyline (about a mile from the venue) when I turn around and look out from the stage area. I turn to my friend Andrea and say, “Wow! Look at the view of the city lights- . . . aaaand that must be why they call it CityLights Pavilion.” Not the sharpest pencil in the box sometimes.

It was apparently a sold-out show, based largely on the frat-boy and 12-year-old ticket-buying bloc. There were some pretty people there. The Fray is just alright for me. I would like to support them because this was a homecoming concert of sorts for them – several members are from Denver – but they don’t DO IT for me. I guess they are pretty melodic and rocking, though, and the Coldplay comparison is definitely unavoidable.

My enjoyment of the show was only slightly marred (actually, perhaps enhanced) by the blonde thirty-something lady in front of us who was apparently auditioning for the Whitesnake! Live! Raw! Loud! concert video (or maybe the music video for a new remix of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”). She pulled out all the stripper dance moves as the concert unfolded. She gyrated. There were pelvic thrusts and slow winds down to the ground and back up (where’s a damn pole when you need it). There was the “hand-to-the-forehead” move (like, “I can’t believe you just stuck a dollar in my g-string!”), the various wrist flippery (it’s all in the wrist). It was a show unto itself. Kind of out of place at what was, essentially, a rock show but at least she seemed to be enjoying herself. And all of us around her enjoyed it too. Some people were even taking pictures.

Stripper dance lesson aside, the highlight of the show for me, by far, was Brandi Carlile, who was the opening act. I came to the show to see her and I was not disappointed. Seeing her in a larger venue rocked. This gal is going places – all she has to do is pick up her guitar and open her mouth and the crowd just stops and listens to the passion and strength in her voice. Brandi played with her full band again this time, including a cellist (which I loved). She rocked through several of the best songs on her album (“What Can I Say,” “Throw It All Away”), some original songs which are not on the album (“My Story”), and a few superb covers (“Creep” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” as well as her show-stopper finale of “Hallelujah”).

I wanted to see more of her. She is playing in Boulder tonight, a headlining show at the Fox, but I can’t make it. I hope perhaps you can if you live in the area. I know I talk about her a lot, but she is worth every word that I write in publicity. Buy her album, and check out some of my previous posts about her (here, here, here and here) to download or stream some live performances.

Creep (Radiohead cover) – Brandi Carlile
(from last night’s show, poor sound quality, but just for the curious)

Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash cover) – Brandi Carlile
(from last night’s show as well)

Throw It All Away – Brandi Carlile
(an excellent live version of this song, from 12/7/05 in Chicago)

Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen via Jeff Buckley cover) – Brandi Carlile
(also from 12/7/05 Chicago)

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  • We need pics of the pole dancer, sounds v.funny.

    Matt — June 25, 2006 @ 10:23 am

  • I’m with you on The Fray. I saw them open for Ben Folds, and at first I was thinking “hmmm..kinda catchy”. By the third song, I was more like “hmmm..I need a beer and a cigarette”. And I spent the remainder of their set at the outdoor smoking area with the other degenerate Ben Folds fans.

    Sybil — June 25, 2006 @ 4:19 pm

  • Also agree on The Fray. To me, they merely sound like every other second-rate, Coldplay copycat on the radio, and it pisses me off when all the local deejays fawn all over them simply because they share the same zip code.

    Heather, if you want to catch a real good local band sometime, check out Meese.

    Interestingly enough, they will be opening for The Fray in a late September show at Red Rocks.

    Pete — June 25, 2006 @ 6:51 pm

  • Pete – How funny! My sister (who was in attendance last night as well) loves Meese and just shared the same info with me. She’ll be stoked to see you mentioned them.

    heather — June 25, 2006 @ 8:16 pm

  • “We need pics of the pole dancer, sounds v.funny.”

    I second that. Stuff like that can make some good money on Break.com.

    Glad you enjoyed the show.

    Gamer C. — June 25, 2006 @ 10:50 pm

  • I am excited to see someone mentioning Meese! I’ve enjoyed thier music ever since I moved to Colorado a year ago, and rocked out at their album release party earlier this year. I’d agree that they are very unique in their talent and have a wonderful sound. I’ll definitely be there to cheer them on at the Fray in Red Rocks.

    Kristy — June 26, 2006 @ 10:05 am

  • Yay more Brandi Carlile! She might be my favorite new artist of the last couple years. Can’t wait for a new album…

    Charles Olney — June 26, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

  • Your sister clearly has great taste! I have been thoroughly impressed by Meese every time I’ve seen them. Can’t wait for more.

    Pete — June 26, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

  • Isaac Slade of The Fray is best friends with Nate and Patrick Meese. That’s why Isaac asked them to open for them when they Play Red Rocks. I’ve seen Meese many times and currently ‘Pulse of a Song’ has been stuck in my head.

    Anonymous — June 26, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

  • ITALIA!ITALIA!ITALIA!ITALIA! Well, you get the picture.

    mimo70 — June 30, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

  • Brandi Carlile is amazing! I keep trying to go to her shows as she’s a local girl (went to my high school), but can’t seem to ever get tickets! I had a feeling she would be awesome live…

    lessadventurous — July 4, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

  • Lot of harshness for my Fray. Coldplay comparisons aside, these boys are going places, and thats undeniable. I do admit, their early shows were somewhat loose, but as we near the last leg of this years tour, they’ve brought everything together and are playing tight sets. Will Denver give them a proper homecoming this fall at Red Rocks?? From the sounds of this blog, you’d think not, but with 4500 tickets sold the first 2 days, and not many seats left at all, I’m pretty sure it will be GREAT show. GET YOUR TICKETS WHILE YOU CAN – September 30 – LIVE at Red Rocks opening with Meese.

    Anonymous — July 14, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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