Ark Life 11/14/14, Denver

Dates: November 14, 2014

Location: The Bluebird Theatre, Denver CO

Ark Life

BY TIM HINELY

November 14 at the Bluebird Theatre was my first time seeing Denver’s own Ark Life. I discovered them earlier this year but checking out the band’s site I realized they started gigging out last year, in March of 2013, and played literally hundreds of shows between then and now. In my defense I just discovered the band a few months ago when a copy of their debut LP, The Dream of You & Me dropped into my lap (or into my po box- hee hee hee).  So between the record and even playing the fabled Red Rocks Amphitheatre here in Colorado back in June, 2014 was a big year for this friendly, folksy, 5-piece. On this night they were opening for Chadwick Stokes (who I hadn’t heard of and didn’t stay for, but probably should have).

I hear a direct connection to The Band, gospel music and the Laurel Canyon stuff of the ‘60s and ‘70s but I’ve heard what they do called “garage soul” and the band claims influences form Nina Simone and The Kinks so there you go. I do know this, wherever the inspiration comes from, the songs are terrific.  Led by the tall, hirsute, friendly Jesse Elliott (he was previously in a band called These United States) and a likeable cast of characters behind him who can really play: (Natalie Tate on guitar, Lindsay Giles on keys, Anna Morsett on bass and Ben Desoto on drums; all of the ladies singing backing vocals).

They played everything (or just about) off of said debut and even snuck in a cover of a Joe Pug song called “Nation of Heat.” Especially tasty on this evening was “Proud of Me Out There, Mama,” “Let Your Heart Break” (first song on their record which was played last), the gorgeous “You’re With Me” (with those amazing backing vocals though that could be said on most of their songs), “Rock and Roll (take it easy)” and “Molly Brown.”

I’d say by set’s end they won the packed Bluebird crowd over but with songs this good these guys have their own dedicated following in town and didn’t need to win anyone over. Was bummed to hear Elliott state that after one more Denver gig next month that the band is taking a break for a while to focus on other stuff (musical projects, etc.), but hey, I can look on the bright side, maybe said side project will be as good as Ark Life. I do know I’ll be listening to find out.  In the meantime, see ya’ next month at the Ogden Theatre for the gig!

 

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