It was a night of local music at the Hi-Dive on Saturday as Moon Tides played to a modest crowd with support from Stag and Shaky Molars. The crowd was largest for the opening set from Denver’s Shaky Molars. Frontman Chuck Potashner weaved his way over and across the stage, making repeated and successful attempts to engage an audience that was more receptive to Shaky Molars than either of the night’s other two bands.
Boulder’s Stag followed with a set that mixed old and new material. Its sound, which could be described as a stripped down Animal Collective at its most textural and lucid, relies heavily on atmosphere and slow builds. The group played well and sounded tight as it made its way through an eight-song set that included favorites “Sunrise, Sunset” and “Wayill,” but never managed to excite a crowd that had clearly attended for the Shaky Molars performance.
So it was with declining audience enthusiasm that Moon Tides took the stage for their headlining set. The two-piece project was a member short as Lexa, the co-vocalist and drummer, was in Portland, Ore., on Saturday night. Her spot was filled, but the band’s chemistry was lacking as the surf-rock group trudged through a short seven-song set. With only four officially released tracks to their name, it was exciting to hear the group play fresh tunes “No Time” and “Sunrise” amidst the well known cuts “To Be” and “1966.”
The crowd had steadily withered since the Shaky Molars set, though, and by the time Moon Tides fumbled the ending of their track “Runaway” it was clear that the show had reached its peak early on. They reacted to the night’s misfortunes with good humor, even pausing before their last song, “Swimming,” to hide behind the Hi-Dive’s stage curtain in an attempt at a mock encore. As the show came to a close it was best summed up by Moon Tides’ other half, “Dillon,” who said in-between songs, “Thanks for sticking through this with us. I lost a band member. She didn’t die, though. She’s just in Portland.” And when the faces in the audience only looked back at him blankly, he added, “That wasn’t funny, was it?”
Nic Turiciano is a new contributor to Reverb and can be reached at email@example.com.
Jeb Draper is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.