Mike Watt at the Larimer Lounge, 10/4/12 (photos and review) - Reverb

Mike Watt at the Larimer Lounge, 10/4/12 (photos and review)

Mike Watt addressed the Larimer Lounge crowd rather coyly on Thursday night: “The good thing is that now we know this piece.”

Watt was referring to “Hyphenated-man,” a 45 minute grab bag of short, jerky tunes strung together under a theme that combines the artist Heironymous Bosch with the film “The Wizard of Oz.” His quip referred to the fact that the trio — Watt, guitarist Tom Watson and drummer Raul Morales — was touring the opera for the fourth time, and this was the second time that the group had played it in Denver.

“Hyphenated-man” bolted off the Larimer stage through a mid-sized crowd with its thumping, asynchronous bass lines, jangling guitar and free jazz rhythms — and everyone in the room stood mesmerized. More like a drawn-out shotgun blast than a setlist, the opera reached back to the music of Watt’s breakout band, Minutemen, famous during the early-‘80s as part of the endlessly touring DIY/Black Flag scene.

Watt and his backing musicians proved that they know the whole piece well, almost in muscle memory. Off-kilter breaks and starts, rhythms that seemed to make no sense and Watt’s guttural, meandering voice formed a unique, brilliant whole.

Japanese band Lite opened the show with a 30 minute set of brilliant prog-math rock that quickly roused a small crowd. Watt chose the band to join the tour from a small scene he’s promoting in Japan, and this is its fourth U.S. tour alongside Watt’s trio.

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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.

Michael McGrath is a Denver area photographer. His work is available at Twist and Shout Records. Visit his website.

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  • WATT THE F

    skip it… saw in boston he played under an hour and the back up band sucked