The Scene: As the snow began to pack the sidewalks outside The Ogden Theatre last Wednesday night, a packed house with a variety of show goers was just getting comfortable. From the young girls with giant “x”s on the back of their hands hanging onto the barricade up front, to middle aged women enjoying drinks a little further back, everyone seemed ready for a great show.
Opener: Places. The local band, Places took the stage with two drummers and lit up the room with Blues infused Rock and Roll. Looking around at the crowd that packed together on the floor near the stage, it seemed as though many of the fans were there to see Places and support the local music scene. Many of the fans were singing along to the songs and shouting out requests from both their debut album Where We Are Now and their 2011 sophomore album No More Wasted Days.
Frontman & songwriter Tyler Glasgow may have a baby face, but coupled with Places gritty soulful Blues influenced lyrics and his big bold voice, they have a powerful sound that seems to be missing here in Denver. One of the many highlights of their set was when I heard a familiar and lively sound from the back bar – the baseline from the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” Before I knew it I was dancing and so was nearly everyone in The Ogden. Places put a smooth mix of gravel and Blues to the classic 70’s tune that was authentic sounding and really alive.
The Wallflowers: After a slow walk to the microphone, Jakob Dylan cut right to the chase and it wasn’t long before the band flaunted their song “Sleepwalker” from The Wallflowers 2000 album (Breach). The song set the tone for the rest of the night: chilled out and relaxed, yet emotionally charged. With Organ and Keyboard infused songs played by the multifaceted Rami Jaffee, this show really made me want more of The Wallflowers – on a regular basis.
These guys have released five studio albums since they formed back in 1989. Perhaps their most recognizable piece of work, and the one they received two Grammy awards for, was the 1995 album Bringing Down the Horse. This fact is clearly not lost on the band as nearly 20 years later they featured many of the songs from that iconic record during their set at The Ogden last week. They added a lot of spice and soul to the classic songs like “Three Marlena’s” and “One Headlight,” while the radio favorites “6th Avenue Heartbreak” and “God Don’t Make Lonely Girls” were both delivered with a fuller and slower feel than many in the room were used to. “Hospital For Sinners,” from their latest album Glad All Over, had a vintage sound with a half spoken – half sung familiarity that made it feel like a missing track from somewhere in the ‘60s. It’s catchy tracks like this, and Dylan’s beautifully coarse voice, that make this band so addictive.
Throughout the set Dylan didn’t say much to the crowd but he did mention how much younger we all seemed since the last time they stopped in Colorado. It struck me that this could be a very good thing for The Wallflowers as the younger crowd might feel like they are a classic and influential group with a long-lasting appeal. Whether that’s the case or not, The Wallflowers have had tremendous success with past albums, and they have proven their longevity. This is a band that still has a strong following and a real Rock and Roll sound. It was obvious at The Ogden that people are ready to hear more of them.
Stage Presence: B
Set/Light Show: B