Even though the show was announced months ago, I still wasn't ready to see Planes Mistaken for Stars perform for the last time. And neither was the band.
Opener Kingdom of Magic was fine if you really dig Pelican and Drive Like Jehu. [Wait...what?? - Ed.]
Second act Mustangs and Madras impressed me: They opened with a Planes cover [Okay...what's going on here?], they used a melodica in a non-gimmicky way, and they have a guitarist who looks like Robert Downey, Jr. They sounded great, too.
But what matters here started at 11, when Planes took the stage and Gared modestly introduced the band before launching into "Belly Full of Hell," followed by the subsequent songs as they appear on Up in Them Guts: "Glassing," "Dying by Degrees," "Pigs," and "Dancing on the Face of the Panther." They grouped their songs by album, which worked out for the best when, halfway through the set, the original bassist came out to perform a few songs from the self-titled EP and, I believe, "The Part You Left Out."
The band was sounding great, but Gared was obviously having a hard time with the show, seeming to hold back at times, and eventually choking up about half an hour into the set and leaving the stage. He returned after 15 minutes, explaining only that he had had a meltdown. A short article on the last show from Denver's Westword, appearing earlier this week, might offer some insight into how he was feeling:
"It feels like I'm flying to a wake," he says. "It feels like I'm going to a funeral. It doesn't feel cool at all. It doesn't feel as fun as I want it to be. It feels very premature. It doesn't feel right, you know? I'm dragging my feet. You're going to see my boot heels for a mile. I got drug here. I didn't fucking walk into this. I got drug." (source)
Fortunately, he was able to play on and tear through an impressive selection of old favorites, having gotten through most of the Mercy songs during the first half of the set. During "End Me in Richmond," the barrier between the two-foot stage and audience was broken when a crowd surfer was pushed to the band's feet. This was all the encouragement a dozen of us needed -- people jumped on the stage to finish the song featuring the last line: "Fuck your standing still."
There was no encore in the "band leaves stage, soaks up applause and chants, returns to play last song" sense. Gared handed his guitar to the frontman for Kingdom of Magic, took his microphone, and leapt onto the crowd for "Thunder in the Night Forever! (We Ride to Fight)," which turned into a long, screaming mess of people.
This was a completely fitting farewell to Denver's best band. (You heard me.) The shirts were off, beer was spilled everywhere, old members made their return, and hundreds of voices screamed "We ride to fight!" in a powerful goodbye. I don't think anyone in the venue wanted to see this end, but all in attendance can be grateful for an amazing final show. RIP Planes.
- Belly Full of Hell
- Dying by Degrees
- Dancing on the Face of the Panther
- Spring Divorce
- Widow: A Love Song
- Keep Your Teeth
- To Spit a Sparrow
- Never Felt Prettier
- Little Death
- Copper and Stars
- The Part You Left Out
- Knuckle Hungry
- Sratching Rounds
- Leaning the Room
- A Six Inch Valley
- Say Not a Word
- End Me in Richmond
- Sicillian Smile
- Thunder in the Night Forever! (We Ride to Fight)