Photos of Buke and Gase at the Larimer Lounge - Reverb

Buke and Gase at Larimer Lounge 02/11/13 (photos, review)

By Isa Jones

DIY New York duo Buke and Gase took over the Larimer Lounge Monday night, showing Denver that you don’t need computers and fancy equipment to make intricate and impressive music.

The band, named after the musician’s handmade instruments, took the small stage in front of the sparse crowd with what looked like a simple set up. Singer Arone Dyer held a cheap duct-taped together guitar, while guitarist and drummer Aron Sanchez sat by with an electric guitar and kick drum. But in the set that followed, Buke and Gase showed that there was more to this band than hobbled together instruments.

The duo plays instruments that they created themselves. One is a “buke,” a six-string, former-baritone ukelele and a “gase,” a guitar-bass hybrid. What erupted from these handmade musical experiments was a variety-heavy and rich sound that seemed impossible for just two people to create.

Buke and Gase’s set list alternated between short, poppy songs and longer, darker tracks. However, with the drone of the “gase” and the overlapping sounds and reverb emitted from the “buke,” even their simple, light songs held something more complicated and unsettling beneath them. It was impressive to watch the duo turn what could be a basic pop or punk song into something much more unique, at one moment creating something light and playful, and then instantly switching into a more industrial and punk-influenced sound with roaring guitar riffs and droning bass. No matter which direction Buke and Gase took next, it had a raucous and unpolished sound, which highlighted the DIY aspect of their whole aesthetic.

The only downside to the cacophony of sounds was that either the levels were off, or the cramped space of the Larimer Lounge couldn’t handle them all. It felt as if every tone was fighting for prominence, resulting in a drowning of subtle and delicate parts (including Dyer’s melodic vocals). As such, an overall fuzz took over the room. In addition, the small gathering of concert-goers seemed unimpressed with the live art Buke and Gase make. The audience remained silent and still, even provoking Sanchez to snark, “You all are so nice and quiet.” Only “Hiccup,” the most popular song off the newest Buke and Gase album “General Dome” got the the crowd remotely interested.

Special recognition also must go to opener Ahleuchatistas, who had the crowd cheering louder then the headliners did. What transfixed the audience was the drummer, who, wearing only underwear, took an abstract expressionist approach to drumming, throwing chains on his taped-up snare, banging his symbols with bare hands and at one point, throwing a sheet over the whole kit and then blindly pounded away to produce an unrepeatable performance.

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Isa Jones is a Boulder-based writer and a new contributor to Reverb.

Jackie Zoeller is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.