Night Beats at the Larimer Lounge, 5-6-14 (review)By Marc Hobelman | May 7th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Just after stomping out cigarettes on the Larimer Lounge back patio, a hip group of Denverites filled into the venue as the Night Beats wrapped up its line check on Tuesday. The Seattle-based psych rock band (along with R&B and surf and soul and garage rock and sixteen other categorizations) attracts people that either have fierce haircuts or can pull off wearing hats well. And for the next 40-minute smoke break, Night Beats kept the pool of hats bent and engaged with a lo-fi sound mix.
Tarek Wegner (bass and some guitar), Lee Blackwell (guitar and vox) and James Traeger (drums) swung their instruments hard into a short set of reverby, jangley songs in support of 2013’s “Sonic Bloom.” Starting around 11:35 p.m., they played almost 40 minutes with no encore. But, that didn’t stop a great party from starting. When the songs were a little more garage-tinged, the hunched-over-head-bangers pumped fists. When songs skewed more soulful, they got into it with hip-swaying and dancing — all quite cool, and tactfully reserved.
The guitars and vocals sounded as close as is necessary to the studio recordings. Although, the recording Night Beats has done sounds very much like a live mix, which gives the songs a lot of charm. The drums, however, were pretty dry and up in volume at Larimer, which took that reverb-soaked characteristic away from some songs and added immediacy to others. Though it wasn’t the perfect sound-mix, it was the right choice to make, since the audience seemed better off getting caught up in a consistently bright sound.
Throughout the set, all three of the Night Beats put their whole bodies into their slightly restrained brand of fuzzy rock. All shook their mops of long hair as songs transitioned between standard verses and choruses. When a good jam sounded like it was being extended, the chemistry between the members was palpable. These guys love to play. Watching the crowd get more and more lost in the vintage sound made it apparent that the Night Beats aren’t playing for anyone but themselves and the good people of Denver were lucky to be invited in. At the end of the last song, Wegner was happy drum sticking his bass strings until he was the last one on stage.
Marc Hobelman makes websites at The Denver Post, tweets pictures of his cat and is a regular contributor to Reverb.