Fake Problems - live in Denver (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Fake Problems

live in Denver (2011)

live show

Upon arriving at the Marquis Theater for a Fake Problems show (their second Denver show in two months) on a chilly Saturday evening, I didn't know that local alt-country punkers Tin Horn Prayer were going to be playing, but I quite enjoyed their debut album Get Busy Dying, so this was a pleasant surprise. They played selections from that record for about a half an hour and got the evening off to a great start.

However, Tin Horn Prayer's presence wasn't the only surprise of the evening. As soon as they exited the stage, the group I had assumed would be the direct support act started setting up. Laura Stevenson and the Cans played a pretty tight set, featuring most of the songs I wanted/expected to hear (mostly from the recently released Sit Resist). The only one we didn't get that I was really hoping for was the title track of last year's excellent 7-inch, Holy Ghost. The songs sounded nearly identical to their studio counterparts, which isn't a bad thing by any means, but some of the slower songs could have used some minor alterations to make for a more dynamic live experience. Also, I realize Laura Stevenson and the Cans' music doesn't call for intense headbanging sessions or anything, but they maybe could have moved around a little more or something. Still, I enjoyed their set, and Laura is a charming and engaging frontwoman between songs, almost like an American female Frank Turner.

Set list:

  1. Halloween Pts. 1 & 2
  2. Master of Art
  3. Caretaker
  4. Peachy
  5. Mouthbreather
  6. Nervous Rex
  7. A Shine to It
  8. The Healthy One
  9. I See Dark
Pomegranates played next. They were interesting, but not my cup of tea, and not what I expected from a Fake Problems opener. The best way I can describe their sound is if Kings of Leon started a spacey, noodly emo band. The members traded instruments (Including a bass that looked an awful lot like the Prince symbol) from song to song. They pointed out that most of their songs were new, but I wasn't familiar with their material, so it was all new to me.

Finally, it was time for the main event. Having seen Fake Problems a few times over the last couple years (including the aforementioned show in February), I can say that this was easily the best I've ever seen them play, as well as the longest and most diverse set list I've seen them play. After emerging to the Friends theme song, they kicked right into "Soulless" from last year's Real Ghosts Caught on Tape, and didn't let up (save for a few jokes from guitarist Casey Lee) for over an hour.

I always enjoy seeing Fake Problems live, but it seems they have a habit of playing their most recent album, and throwing in a few older tracks here and there. Not this time: B-sides and deep album cuts all found their way into the show, and it was more enjoyable for it. The crowd was small, but we were having a great time. Fake Problems have released a string of great albums in the last few years, but the stage is where they really shine. If they come to your town (and they probably will, they're touring machines), don't even think about it, just go.

Set list (from memory):
  1. Soulless
  2. Diamond Rings
  3. Cannonball
  4. 5678
  5. ADT
  6. Astronaut
  7. White Lies
  8. Rumble in the Jungle
  9. The Heaven & Hell Cotillion
  10. There Are Times
  11. Tabernacle Song
  12. Too Cold to Hold
  13. Ghost to Coast
  14. Heartless
  15. Grand Finale
  16. Songs for Teenagers
  17. How Far Our Bodies Go
  18. Born and Raised
  19. Heart BPM