CRYSTAL STILTS 10/12/13, Denver CO

Dates: September 12, 2013

Crystal Stilts

BY TIM HINELY

I hadn’t expected to get to the venue (Denver’s Walnut Room) early enough to catch the openers but that’s exactly what happened. Emerald Siam hail from Denver and have been around about a year.  I noticed Dave Meyer on keys (he also plays in long-running Denver garage institution The Omens and was formerly in Washington, DC’s the Jet Age). They had a cool, murky sound with two drummers and reminded me a bit of Austin, TX combo the Black Angels. Cheesy as it may sound, I like when bands have a smoke machine and these guys did and it was on stun all night. Vocalist/guitarist spoke honestly to the crowd and warmed some hearts (in addition to bustin’ some eardrums).

Co-opener Zachary Cale hails from NYC and is on tour with Crystal Stilts. He had a full band (bass, drummer and keyboardist) and didn’t really seem to fit on the bill with his off-kilter folk music. My wife and I both agreed, turn Cale’s voice off and the set would have been more than listenable. I’d like to hear some recorded stuff before I say anything else.

The clock struck 11:30, a stinky chick with dreads walked past me and then her dread-less friend walked past me as well, fell into my knee (I was sitting on a stool) and promptly fell flat on her face. To say this gal was drunk was an understatement and the only thing that could possibly cure her of what ailed her was a set from Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts. The band did just that and did not disappoint (and said gal sobered up immediately!). With a white sheet set up behind them to show some trippy films, the band members took the stage, looking like they hadn’t slept in a month (the lead guitarist maybe a year) and proceeded to hypnotize the crowd with a wobbly, shambling yet dark set. Playing tunes off all of their records (the first few were on Slumberland while the most recent ones on the Sacred Bones label; “The Dazzled” from their terrific debut, Alight of Night, sounded particularly enticing). I wish I’d had more time to soak up their latest one, Nature Noir, before the gig, but it sounded more than solid to these ears. Next time they come to town I’m springing for the Motel 6 so they can get a good night’s rest. They’ll thank me later.

 

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