Photos by Jon Prins
The Scene: The Oriental Theater is located far away from all of the infamous Colfax venues in Denver. Tucked away in the Tennyson Arts and Business District, this small venue plays a vital role in the neighborhoods culture. The vibe of the evening was really mellow as is the ambiance of the Oriental as a whole. It was nice seeing many familiar Cheeseheads in the house for this highly anticipated show. A decent sized crowd showed up early, ready to boogie.
Opener: Dead Winter Carpenters is a roots rock quintet hailing from North Lake Tahoe. These guys have been building their fanbase with every show through their high energy performances. Playing through a solid set of originals and old traditional numbers, the group solidified why they are becoming a force on the scene. Fortunately, they will sticking around Colorado for the next few days.
Poor Man’s Whiskey: Dark Side of the Moonshine. Sounds intriguing, right? One may ask, “what is this, exactly?” This is what Poor Man’s Whiskey has dubbed their performances of the classic Pink Floyd album, Dark Side of the Moon. The cherry on the top of this much talked about show was that Michael Kang (String Cheese Incident) was going to play with the group. The first set would consist of Poor Man’s Whiskey originals while the second would be “Dark Side of the Moonshine.” We would all have to patiently wait for our dessert.
Poor Man’s Whiskey brought out some of their more groovy tunes to the delight of the raucous crowd. After a few originals and a cover, PMW brought out Michael Kang and a female fiddle player. When the busted out the PMW original “Cousin Billy,” the dueling fiddles had the audience literally bouncing around the room. Soon, the fiddles left the stage, leaving the members of PMW to explore some more of their original tunes. The fan favorite combo of “Mexico>PMS” was a highlight of the night as it let the core members stretch out a bit on these two heavy hitters. The real bustout of the night, was a meaty sandwich of “Orange Blossom Special>Rivertrance>Orange Blossom.” While the announcement of “Orange Blossom Special” brought smiles to many faces, what the crowd didn’t expect was the heavy teasing of the SCI juggernaut “Rivertrance” by Kang. After several minutes of this he finally led the group into a great version “Rivertrance” that found it’s way back into “Orange Blossom.” Oh yeah! This had the audience pumped up and ready for some Pink Floyd tunes.
For decades, music fans from all walks of life have tried to cue up “Dark Side of the Moon” with the timeless classic “Wizard of Oz” and there have been some spooky results as there are many places where the music and movie synch up, leaving the viewer stunned. The band tried to pull this off in a live setting with the movie playing on a screen behind them.
Taking the stage sporting costumes from “The Wizard of Oz” and diving straight into the album intro of “Speak to Me/Breathe,” the band added their own flavor to the classic tunes. The famed intro of the hit “Money,”was a sight to behold as both beer bottles and cans helped create the familar sounds of this introduction. The rest of the album was played very passionetly by the band. Having done this show a few times on the West Coast has helped them turn this show into a must see spectacle. Despite all the eye candy on stage, the sounds emanating from the group were blissful.
After mesmerising the crowd with a great performance. The band along with Kang and all of Dead Winter Carpenters played an acoustic encore on the dance floor. Leaving the stage and cords behind, the band found themselves swarmed by shocked crowd members. Once the crowd grew silent, Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” was the choice for the encore. Boy was it the correct choice after such an amazing night. This rare moment found the musicians and audience in a sing-along to the much celebrated Floyd song. This was truly a special night on many levels for everyone in the room. Something I and many others will remember and cherish for a long time.
Poor Man’s Whiskey will be heading back to their familar stomping grounds of sunny California to wrap up their tour. Just in time to rest for summer and festival season. Look out for these guys next time they come to town. Sure to be a good ole time.
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light show: A