BY TIM HINELY
This show was supposed to be at the Ogden Theatre but got moved to the slightly smaller Gothic (a fact that Father John Misty made light of during his set). I didn’t mind, the Gothic is closer to my house and easier to find parking. I also didn’t mind the 8 pm start time (doors were at 7 pm) as I’m on the older side and need all of the beauty sleep I can get, ya’ dig?
I had only heard Pure Bathing Culture’s debut cd like a week ago for the first time but their catchy tunes made enough of an impression on me to want to catch this mid-week gig. I wasn’t sure how they were going to pull it off , the core of the band is guitarist Daniel Hindman and vocalist Sarah Versprilles. but live they were a four piece with guitar/bass/drums and Versprilles also played the keyboard (there was also a smoke machine going on stage but I think this is just a Gothic thing and not a P.B.C. thing. The band has a swoony, organic melodic sound, think a bit Cocteau Twins mixed with more recent acts like Beach House and even a bit of Denver’s own Tennis (mainly in the vocals). Pop nuggets like single “Pendulum” and “Dream the Dare” both sounded gorgeous live and yes, I’m proud to say the band pulled it off on stage.
I’m almost embarrassed to say I was going to leave before hearing Father John Misty’s set. I hadn’t heard any of his music before (only his work with Fleet Foxes and some of his solo stuff, under his own name, J (Josh) Tillman) but decided to hang for a few songs, which ended up being nearly the whole set. Leaving would have been a mistake as this guy and his band were flat-out terrific. It also must be said that if this music thing doesn’t work out Tillman could easily have a career in stand-up comedy, the guy is hilarious. Making light of the show being moved to the smaller Gothic he quipped, “We couldn’t sell-out the Ogden so they moved us here. I know……all we have in this crowd is criminals, folks from nursing home. Oh, and those of you trying to seek refuge from the impeding tornado (earlier in the day there was a tornado at the Denver Airport). “
The set consisted of stuff mostly from last year’s Fear Fun (Sub Pop) and while his band was great, (2 guitarists, a bassist, drummer and a keyboardist) it was the long, tall Tillman who stole the show. Snaking and slithering across the stage, dropping to his knees, throwing his arm across his forehead and feigning and number of emotions with tongue firmly planted in cheek (think Jim Morrison meets Mark Kozelek meets Neil Diamond). Cuts like “Funtimes in Babylon” and “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” were real charmers which the nearly sold-out crowd ate up (I didn’t realize just how popular this guy is).If this guy and his band come to your town, do whatever needs to be done and if that means knocking over old ladies or young children in a mad rush to get tickets, well, by all means do it.