200 Million Years and Le Divorce transform the Hi-Dive - Reverb

Live review: 200 Million Years, Le Divorce @ the Hi-Dive

Zale Hassler, Carl Sorensen and Ellison Park are 200 Million Years.

Zale Hassler, Carl Sorensen and Ellison Park are 200 Million Years.

Local electro-shoegaze trio 200 Million Years have been hard at work in recent months recording their latest 6-song EP, and got a chance to show it off at the Hi-Dive Saturday night in front of a modest crowd.

Behind stacked synths and a laptop, Ellison Park gyrated as he maintained loops, samples and keyboards as well as some of the songs’ vocals. Zale Hassler, meanwhile, filled out the sound with a mixture of vaguely Sonic-Youth-sounding guitars and Carl Sorenson matched the band’s cacophony damned near perfectly. If there was any shortcoming in their performance, it was the fact that it was brief — they left the stage after only about 45 minutes. For a band that seems to specialize in psychedelic jamming at times for upwards of 15 minutes, three-quarters of an hour just seemed abbreviated.

Short as it was, their set successfully transformed the Hi-Dive into something other than a bar, as well. The lighting was limited only to reds, which gave the room a feeling of warmth, and strings of lights covered in fabric covered the floor of the stage. The visuals seemed to add to their heady, atmospheric sound and created a feeling of burial beneath pillows for much of the set, while at other times they created a jazzy, more easy listening sound. The title song from the new EP added a funk sense that highlighted the set, and was bookended by nearly all of the new record.

Le Divorce, a Denver “supergroup” that’s rising quickly in popularity (they opened for Liz Phair earlier in the week before Saturday’s show), played a strong set focused on their unabashedly ‘90s sound before 200 Million Years, and nearly took the night away from the headliners. Anchored by Kitty Vincent’s powerful, throaty vocals and accomplished guitar, the foursome had no trouble endearing a large crowd with their 50 minute set. Vincent, who sings with Johnette Napolitano’s depth and PJ Harvey’s intensity, filled up most of the stage with her personality, and was well met in banter by bassist Ryan Stubbs and guitarist Joe Grobelny between songs, and in noisy, passionate sonics during them, while drummer Chris Durant maintained the rock beat from behind the three.

With characteristically easy comfort, the quartet played songs about heartbreak and made them sound almost happy, funny. Coupled with the laughter between songs, they completely belied the implication of their moniker while they slayed the crowd.

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Billy Thieme is a Denver-based writer, an old-school punk and a huge follower of Denver’s vibrant local music scene. Follow Billy’s explorations at DenverThread.com, and his giglist at Gigbot.

  • Le Divorce

    Hey Billy! thank you so much for the incredibly kind review. And don’t worry, we’re releasing your family unharmed, you have been very cooperative in meeting our demands.nnmuch love,nLe D

  • Guest

    maybe i was at a different show that night because i’m not sure this is an accurate review… the show was rather lopsided by the opening two acts. calder’s revolvers was by far the best act of the night, and otto von cousitcon (while i missed the first couple of songs) were quite decent themselves. the truth is the opening two had the most interested crowd, le divorce didn’t quite slay the crowd, but did thin it substantially. 200 million years wasn’t bad, but the atmosphere wasn’t quite as magical as described, it was still the hi dives hamburger lights, but with smoke machines behind the band.

  • Garycakes

    I agreed. Le Divoce is pleasant enough but nothing special. Calder’s Revolvers (who aren’t even mentioned here. For shame!) blew everyone else away.

  • Redtrike

    I too am confused and disappointed that Calder’s Revolvers–who tore up the Hi-Dive on Sat. nite with a dynamite show–merit not even a mention, let alone a review! Why the very pointed omission?

  • Anonymous

    Not intended as a substitute for a review, but if you’re interested in hearing more Calder’s Revolvers, you can grab a free track from their new EP here: http://www.heyreverb.com/2011/01/17/steal-this-track-calders-revolvers-and-gashead/

  • John B

    Unfortunate that there is no mention of Calder’s Revolvers and Otto von Cousticon. The ‘modest’ crowd that Billy refers doesn’t properly reflect the entire evening. 200 and Le D were great, but we thought the show was worthy of more than just plucking them out of it. Maybe Billy was at another show for the first two bands.

  • Danny

    Reviewers often miss opening bands at shows. That’s one of the unfortunate things about being a newer or lesser known band – it’s part of paying the dues, so to speak. As far as the crowd thinning after Calder’s Revolvers, that’s to be expected since it was a release party for Calder’s Revolvers. I wouldn’t blame Le Divorce or 200 Million Years for thinning the crowd, I’d say the order of the bands was incorrect. A release party should have been later on the bill since it would obviously be the big pull of the night and a lot of their friends leave as soon as their performance is done, making it appear the later bands somehow hurt the crowd. I was there for most of the show and the crowd energy definitely slowed after Calders Revolvers, but that was due more to the fact that a bunch of people were gone 10 minutes after their performance before any of the following bands went on. Big crowd=Big energy. I give big props to all the bands that played, because they were all great. I wonder about who arranged this show because Calders Revolvers probably should have headlined their Release Show.

  • John B

    It was also 200 Million Years’ release show.

  • Danny

    A lot of people were there for Calders Revolvers, because the place emptied out a bit after they were done. 200 Millions Years were great and so was Le Divorce. And so were the other bands. I just saw a lot of people leave after Calders Revolvers and it went from a big crowd to an ok crowd. It sets me off when people talk trash about the other bands though because they were all pretty good. It just seemed like the people in this post were blaming stuff on the bands when it wasn’t the bands it was the order they were in.