Live Reviews

Fierce Bad Rabbit at the Oriental Theater, 01/11/13 (review)

Fierce Bad Rabbit performed with the Yawpers on Friday, Jan. 11 at Oriental Theater. Photo courtesy of the band.
Fierce Bad Rabbit performed with the Yawpers on Friday, Jan. 11 at Oriental Theater. Photo courtesy of the band.

The current buzz behind Denver bands like the Lumineers and Churchill is beginning to characterize Denver’s scene as a kind of folksy wellspring. With this sound becoming the forefront of popular music, expect to see many bands — especially here in Colorado — ride that buzz. One would think Fort Collins band, Fierce Bad Rabbit, with its light, pop-folk sound would be the next local act to cash in on the genre radios and listeners want. But, FBR showed at its CD release party on Friday night at the Oriental Theater that it’s just not ready for the same success of its peers.

FBR’s hour-long set kept promising to explode into something more than it was, but the four piece seemed somewhat over-cautious and consistently fell just short of folk-pop glory. Frontman Chris Anderson is a powerful vocalist, and — at least recorded — shows a passionate pop sensibility. Paired with Alana Rolfe’s viola and backing vocals, the band’s songs imply heartbreak along the lines of John Doe and Exene Cervenka. FBR’s live show, while technically and musically fine, couldn’t squeeze the right trigger.

Boulder four piece, the Yawpers, which opened for FBR, showed it’s not concerned with the trendy, folksy buzz of the Colorado scene. The band exploded the muted promise the Yawpers’ recorded oeuvre shows, inspiring an almost irresistible impulse to stomp and jump between Jesse Parmet’s flailing slide guitar and Dave Romano’s wicked harmonica. Frontman Nate Cook’s presence combined a bit of Robert Plant with a dash of Tom Waits (with a healthy dose of abandon and sweat) that gave the set life somewhere in the same stylistic neighborhood as White Stripes and early Wilco.

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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.