I Might Be Wrong: Five buzzworthy local acts to see at UMS 2012By Colin St. John | July 19th, 2012 | 3 comments
The toughest part of any festival chock full of bands is making the right choices. At some of the larger gatherings, that can mean choosing between holograms or real people. At the UMS this weekend, deciding between “big names” won’t be as much of a problem. And that’s not my concern, here. Surely, I am stoked to see national touring groups like Atlas Sound and Cloud Nothings, but much of the excitement for this Denver institution depends on hometown innovation. So, I set out to find five groups who I had either heard little about and definitely never seen play live before. I combed through many songs, playlists and a few recommendations from other bands playing the UMS. Here are the groups for which I think you should break out the highlighter this year:
Colfax Speed Queen, Denver Wheel Club 404, 5 p.m. Saturday
Colfax Speed Queen is not new to the game, but the band no doubt deserves more attentive, Denver-area ears. Its songs are as a idiosyncratic and lively as the street from which CSQ takes its name. Jumpy keys and jangly guitars steer quickly and full of punk attitude; it’s a formidable body that, also, extends a hand outward and grabs a fistful of catchiness.
Native Daughters, 3 Kings Tavern, 8 p.m. Saturday
This troupe recently opened for Russian Circles at the Bluebird and the inside scoop is that it was a rip-roaring blast. Because the Daughters are working on their first album, tunes can be harder to locate on the Internet than pictures of Lindsay Lohan with her clothes on. But, what can be found is a swarm of post-rock that delves into doom metal territory. Genre be damned: Native Daughters’ instrumentals are explosive yet tight, two drummers tapping the spine of the proceedings. Side note: Native Daughters’ similarly-minded and aggressively loud pals, Trees, play right beforehand, at 7 p.m.
Warhawk, Denver Wheel Club 404, 11:59 p.m. Saturday
Warhawk traffics in rock ‘n’ roll chords, rock ‘n’ roll lyrics and rock ‘n’ roll attitude. If the name of the song, “Cold Gin, Hot Sin” doesn’t clue you in, these Denver boys are all about a drunken, naked party. Early heavy metal and ‘70s Southern rockers inform much of the decision-making; it seems Jack Daniels can take it from there.
The Morning Clouds, Hi-Dive, 8 p.m. Sunday
The Morning Clouds have been fortunate enough to score a record contract with Lefse and have had a couple of tracks posted on Pitchfork. And their 2011 record, “Wasted Youth Blues,” is an opus of lushness. Still, the quintet isn’t exactly a household name. The Morning Clouds bask in being reserved, letting the tunes crawl and unfurl with rolling harmonies and chords that punch through like a sunrise through the nebula.
Common Anomaly, Denver Wheel Club 404, 11 p.m. Sunday
While its moniker might present an oxymoron, Common Anomaly’s tunes are more straightforward: Its upbeat, propulsive rock is suffused with electronic rhythms in the name of jammed-out pop. Sure, the Fort Collins group has a few balladesque numbers, but it will no doubt get a party going late in the fest. Common Anomaly might just be reason enough to call in sick on Monday.