Pabst Blue Ribbon is the punk rock beer, I've been told. Unfortunately for my two friends and other punkers at the Marquis that night, the PBR was not being served due to the Busch keg needing to be killed first. All seemed mostly right as various members of the bands that were playing were seen milling about the crowd, talking and hanging out with everyone. Almost an hour late and sans PBR, the show started.
Denver, Colorado's own Sleeper Horse started things off with a tight and appropriately timed set. Their gritty, southern punk rock inspired sound isn't far off from that of the Draft's previous band's sound, dual vocalists and all. The one difference is in the band's penchant for bouncy, almost dancey guitar lines apparent in some of their songs. It was nice to hear a local opener that was bearable and also enjoyable to listen to.
Gaslight Anthem took the stage next and proceeded to be amazing for a good half an hour. Covering a decent chunk of material off their recent release, (and a new song -- go figure, about dancing), these guys were having fun and putting on an energetic set. I'll admit that I'm not as big on their music as many people I know are, but the energy this band conveys and the show they put on are undeniably good. The band was tight and kept the stage banter to a minimum, outside of the vocalist's amusing commentary on battling the high altitude of the Rocky Mountains. They thanked us for being cool and promised to be back soon.
I'd heard a lot of hype about Dead to Me, specifically around the release of Cuban Ballerina, and outside of checking out a couple songs on their MySpace page, never got into them any further. Their set that evening was one of those experiences where seeing a band live can totally change your opinion of them. Consider me a fan now. Sharing vocal trade-offs (and bearing a glaring resemblance to Chris Hannah with gauged ears), Chicken kept the crowd entertained with his stage presence and banter between songs. Jack Dalrymple of One Man Army fame held down the other side of the vocal duties and guitar playing. The band was incredibly tight, fast, and full of energy. Playing straight-ahead good old punk rock, these guys made a fan out of me and I immediately picked up their album after the show.
After a lengthy setup, the Draft took the stage to the biggest crowd of the night. I can't tell you what they played because I'm not familiar with their stuff, but it was definitely the least energetic of the night, presence and music-wise. Being the veterans they are, they sounded perfectly tight. The amazing, prominent bass lines, guitar work and three-part harmonies were all intact. The band said very little, if anything, and played for a good hour's worth. The band ended with their set with the only song I'm familiar with: "Lo Zee Rose," accompanied by lots of sing-alongs and beer glasses raised.
Despite not really being into the Draft's set, it was still far from being a bad night. Probably one of the most solid tour packages going on now that I can think of. Check this out and support these bands if they stop by your town. Drive long distances even if they aren't stopping by close -- it's worth it.