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

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, and his giglist at Gigbot.

Categories: Home, Live Reviews
  • TheYawpers

    Our frontman is Nate Cook, not Jesse Cook.

  • GeeSee

    Have you seriously ever been to a Churchill show? Completely opposite of their pop polished radio one off song, “Change.” That sound is nothing even remotely like the band’s normal vibe and snooze inducing live performance.

    That said, as a huge supporter of the Colorado music scene, one would know that Fierce Bad Rabbit predates their fellow musicians The Lumineers and Churchill. Not every band is trying to be trendy or cash in on the an overly produced folk sound. If you research or are an avid follower of local music, you should realize that this is the FBR sound that came before their counterparts recent successes.

    If anyone is riding the “buzz” of the The Lumineers or Churchill, it’s Colorado music critics that throw their names out as much as possible (potentially to garner AP press?, who knows?) instead of offering up an informative and honest opinion about local music.

    The Lumineers and Churchill deserve their kudos and national attention on the Colorado music scene is great for everyone. I just wish that Billy would have his facts together on the local scene before offering up a review that compares apples and oranges. If you don’t like the show, that’s fine and respectable to be honest. But be honest about it all. Fierce Bad Rabbit is not “cashing in” on some hipster trend.