REVIEW: The Saw Doctors – October 17th 2006 – Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO

The Scene: A snowy Tuesday in Denver. The theater was decently full but far from sold-out and it felt like it. There just wasn’t the energy there would have been if it were a weekend or a certain day in the middle of March. Though there were a few 20 something scattered about, the crowd was generally in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. They just weren’t hoisting the pints like they used to and many were contented to sit and enjoy the show without particpating too much. Don’t get me wrong, I understand it’s tough to go hard on a weeknight, but this is a band that thrives on audience participation and I think the fact that it was lacking a bit tonight had it’s effect on the show.

Kudos to whoever organized the bus to come to the show. When we walked up there was huge Miller Lite bus pulling up in front of the theater. While there weren’t hundreds of people pilling off, there were a fair number. It was also there at the end of the show as well to pick up the tired revelers.

Opener: This is an interesting story. When I got to the window to pick up my tickets I saw an opener listed flyer so I asked what time The Saw Doctors would come on. The woman working the box office glanced at what I assume was a schedule on the wall, and told me “right around 9.” My buddy and I went across the street to catch some of the NLCS game between the Mets and Cardinals and headed back over to the show at about 8:45 thinking we would be walking in right between sets. I was confused when the doors opened and I heard the unmistakable sound of The Saw Doctors coming from the stage. Apparently they went on about 8:30 and I have no idea if there was an opener or not. Note to The Bluebird, make sure your box office has the right information about the show. You could lose some patrons if you give out the wrong information.

The Saw Doctors: This is a band that released the best selling single of all time in Ireland back in 1991. “I Useta Love Her” spent nine weeks atop the charts and has led many to dub the band “The Best Irish Rock Act Since U2.” Their sound is distinctly more Irish than that of countrymen U2 but they certainly have a knack for writing good songs that have pushed many a party into the wee hours of the morning.

Their line-up has changed a bit over the years but core of the band remains unchanged with Leo Moran and Davey Carton remaining at the helm. Moran and Carton have aged a bit in recent years but were in fine form at The Bluebird. They worked crowd very well all night interspersing new songs into a set peppered with hits such as “Wake Up Sleeping,” “The Green and Red of Mayo,” and “Clare Island.” Between the energy on stage and the specials on Guinness the audience did their best to keep up on a snowy Tuesday night only falling short when Carton called on us to sing his parts. Maybe people didn’t know the words or were just shy but I have to question the smarts of trying several times to get an audience to sing when they clearly aren’t that into it. My suggestion is to recognize it is A) Tuesday, B) you are in Denver, and C) it’s snowing and move on with the set pouring all the passion you can into the next song.

While the main set was good, the band seemed to really step things up when they came back for a four song encore. “Bless Me Father” from their 1996 World of Good single kicked things off by parodying a Catholic confession with lyrics like “Bless me father for oI have sinned. She had big brown eyes and silky skin. Bless me father I couldn’t resist. Father you just have no idea what you’ve missed.” During this song a guy in the front row hoisted his girl up onto the stage and convinced her to dance. The security guard at the side of the stage didn’t take to kindly to this and escorted her off by the forearm as she stared helplessly down into the crowd. She was taken side stage and I didn’t see her come back. The band then launched into a surprising cover of the T. Rex hit “Bang the Gong” with Carton playing a jet black Gibson X-plorer. This kept the crowd revved up and they finished with a powerful combination of two of their best loved songs “What a Day,” and “Hay Wrap.”

Overall a good show. It lacked some of the punch and raw energy that I have seen at Saw Doctors shows in the past but for now I am chalking that up to a snowy Tuesday in Denver.

Energy: B-
Sound: B
Muscianship: B-
Stage Presence: B
Set/Light Show: B-

Overall: B-


Who Is Timothy Dwenger

Music has always been a part of my life. It probably all started listening to old Grateful Dead, Peter Paul & Mary, and Simon & Garfunkel records that my parents had, but it wasn't long before they were taking me to concerts like Starship, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Huey Lewis & The News. I got the bug to write about music after reviewing an Eric Clapton concert for a creative writing project in high school but didn't really take it up seriously until 2002. Since then I have published countless articles in The Marquee Magazine and done some work for, SPIN Magazine, and various other outlets. I started Listen Up Denver! as a way to share the music information that is constantly spilling out of my head with people who care. Please enjoy!