Photos and review: March Greater Than Social Club - Reverb

Adam Cayton-Holland, Bad Weather California at the Greater Than Social Club, 03-06-13 (photos, review)

The idea is genius, really: Invite the city’s indie elite to perform on a pretty fancy cabaret stage for a special night of music, comedy and camaraderie.

And at Wednesday night’s Greater Than Social Club, you could feel the electricity in the air. The place was packed, with a quality standing-only scene by the back bar. Man of the hour Mike Marchant – the always-liked local musician who was benefiting from the evening’s proceeds — was holding court at a front-and-center table. The underground space known as Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret and its fancy-pants environs and table service gave the hipster kids a reason to dress up.

In short, it was a celebration of life – of Mike’s life, as he fights his way through chemotherapy while still looking dapper as ever, and of all our lives. We live in Denver, and we’re surrounded by this crazy kind of talent 24-7.

Comedian Jordan Doll hosted the show with a self-snickering set of observational comedy. His rants about the absurdity of euphemisms – “dying of natural causes,” for example – warmed up the crowd for more relevant (to this young audience, at least) monologues about the advantages of iPhone to Android operating systems.

Headlining comic Adam Cayton-Holland picked things up with a fresh set of newly written comedy. (“I’ve been writing a lot lately,” he told us later.) He chatted his way through some in-the-know local stuff before working toward a couple socially poignant cowboys-and-Indians jokes. He talked about lining up at a Parisian museum recently to see an Edward Hopper exhibit at 5:30 a.m., and he told what he called the Most Pretentious Joke of All Time. Cayton-Holland’s whip-smart humor requires a grasp on world history, and the payoff is worth all that cramming you did in college.

As Cayton-Holland riffed on the Parisians “oozing sophistication,” it was simple to notice his own gradually gained sophistication – or perhaps confidence is a better word. Cayton-Holland might have looked nervous on “Conan” a few weeks ago, but that dude is owning club stages these days.

The evening’s band, Bad Weather California, came out and happily owned up to the teenage-hooligan moniker Cayton-Holland had bestowed upon them earlier in the night. The band, fronted by the ever-adventurous Chris Adolf, played a loose, all-smiles set of punk-friendly pop music that had some (that standing-only crowd in the back!) dancing in the aisles. Adolf has a rich history of indie rock in Colorado, and while it’s easy to miss the sweet-natured hymns of his long-gone Love Letter Band, it’s just as simple to admire his evolution as an artist. Not to mention: Adolf has the best song intros in the game.

“This song’s about being a teenage girl in the ’90s!”

Awesome. Let’s do this.

Up next: “This song’s about hanging out at the mall. Check it out.”

Well, O.K. then.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and editor at The Denver Post.