Off with Their Heads/Riverboat Gamblers/Dead to Me - live in Denver (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Off with Their Heads / Riverboat Gamblers / Dead to Me

live in Denver (2011)

live show

I am a huge fan of both Off with Their Heads and Dead to Me. When I learned they would be touring together I was thrilled. When I learned the Riverboat Gamblers would be joining them, I was a bit surprised. For one, there seems to be a great deal of crossover between Off with Their Heads' and Dead to Me's fanbases, and the Riverboat Gamblers are something else entirely. Two, I was under the impression that they were fairly popular, certainly moreso than the other two bands at least. I turned out to be about half-right, but we'll get into that later.

Kicking off the night was St. Fall Apart, a local band that sounds a bit like what could have happened between the breakup of Kid Dynamite and the formation of None More Black. They played for about a half hour, mostly from their 2010 album Somos Extremos, and were a fun way to kick off the evening.

Set list:

  1. Jesse Spano
  2. I Told You
  3. Shit Shot
  4. Underground
  5. Tomorrow Morning
  6. Why Fix It
  7. Regicide
  8. Whoa Is You
  9. I'm Not Sorry
  10. Tragedy
  11. NOFX
  12. Widin' Out
  13. Whoaverdose

Dead to Me were listed directly under Off with Their Heads on the show poster, with their name in the second-biggest font, so I was a bit surprised when they started setting up their gear as soon as St. Fall Apart left the stage. I had some reservations about the new lineup, as I was a huge fan of African Elephants, but those fears were alleviated as soon as they started playing. They were completely on point, and seemed to be having a great time. I've seen some videos that pointed to the contrary, but at least this night, Sam Johnson had no problem pulling off Jack Dalrymple's vocal parts.

About halfway through their set, the band busted out a speedy new song called "Undertow" that landed their upcoming album at the top of my "Most Anticipated" list. My one complaint about their set is that I could have used more African Elephants in the set list. I understand them not playing the Nathan Grice-penned songs, but it would have been nice to hear "Modern Muse" or "Tierra Del Fuego". Oh well. Technical difficulties set things back a bit, and caused the band to skip a couple songs on the set list (namely, "Ran That Scam" and "No Lullabies"). Still, they didn't let it phase them too much, and turned in perhaps my favorite performance of the evening, stealing the show.

Set list:
  1. Splendid Isolation
  2. Arrhythmic Palpitations
  3. A Day Without a War
  4. Undertow
  5. Something New
  6. Cause of My Anger
  7. Little Brother
  8. Don't Lie
  9. By the Throat

The Riverboat Gamblers were up next. I wasn't very familiar with them, but I didn't mind the few songs I'd heard, so I gave then a shot. They definitely gave their all, and had a ton of energy. Their singer spent most of his time in the audience. The only song they played that I was familiar with, "On Again, Off Again" sounded just like its studio version, so I'm sure their fans loved it. Those fans were definitely a different sort of crew than the people who came to see Off with Their Heads and Dead to Me, and as such, a sizable chunk of the crowd left as soon as they were done playing. They were alright; I'll give them a C+.

Set list:
  1. Let's Eat
  2. True Crime
  3. On Again Off Again
  4. Maggie Lea
  5. Rent Is Due
  6. Black Nothing of a Cat
  7. The Ol' Smash and Grab
  8. Sleep Tonight
  9. Parasite Friends
  10. Don't Bury Me, I'm Still Not Dead
  11. Save You
  12. Biz Loves Sluts
  13. The Art Of Getting Fucked [w/ Chicken and Ryan Young]

Off with Their Heads were up next. The band have always had a revolving-door lineup, but this was the first time I've ever seen them perform as a three-piece. It didn't really affect their sound that much, however. I'm not even sure a band like OwTH really needs two guitarists. They sounded just as tight as ever, and played most of the songs I wanted to hear ("Janie" was a notable exception. They skipped it, despite it being written on the set list). The crowd loved every second of it, with constant sing-alongs and intermittent stagedives, which I usually hate, but it added to the spirit of the event. The three bands on this tour seem to be friends, and having a great time.

Set list:
  1. Die Today
  2. Drive
  3. Their Own Medicine
  4. Go on Git Now
  5. Your Child Is Dead
  6. I Am You
  7. The Eyes of Death
  8. Theme Song
  9. Self Checkout
  10. Closed Early
  11. Hard to Admit
  12. For the Four
  13. Fuck This, I'm Out
  14. Trying to Breathe
  15. SOS
  16. Clear the Air
  17. My Episodes
  18. All I Can Do
  19. Keep Falling Down

The banner on stage all night featured all three band names (or their initials, rather). There doesn't seem to be any giant egos at play. While I might not be a huge Riverboat Gamblers fan, this show was still a great time. For a good 50% of the crowd, however, the night was just getting started, for as soon as Off with Their Heads stepped off stage, a giant group of us started to make the pilgrimage six blocks down to the late-night Elway/Mixtapes show.