Sometimes it can be tricky to keep up with all the rising artists in Fort Collins. This city is thriving with music and performance talent. I always try to give each genre of artists equal coverage, both for the readers and for myself. In the case of the show I attended last Friday, this was easy because each performing group was so different.
Last Friday, June 18, the Bluestocking Burly-Q, Slow Caves and Stella Luce performed at Hodi’s Half Note. Sadly I was only able to stay for the first two acts due to the first set starting 40 minutes past ‘curtain time,’ and the fact that I had to leave early the next morning to go camping (c’est la vie). However I have seen Stella Luce play many times and they’re always enjoyable. Stella Luce is a local pop group fronted by Alana Rolfe, who also plays in local favorite Fierce Bad Rabbit. Rolfe is an extremely talented singer songwriter and viola player. I suggest catching Fierce Bad Rabbit at this year’s NewWestFest on Saturday, August 16 at the Mountain Stage from 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Now on with the review. While Hodi’s is one of my favorite places to attend concerts, due to plenty of floor space without the crowds of the Aggie, it’s one of my least favorite venues to take photos in because of its low-key lighting. So please excuse the poorly-lit photos.
The show started at 9:40 p.m. on Friday with the lovely ladies from Bluestocking Burly-Q. The group was formed by Bang Bang Von Loola, Lady Ginger Rose, Coco Soleil, and Evalette Bizou (these are their stage names). The group represents ‘feminine feminism’ with their talented dance routines, sparkling home-made costumes and plenty of attitude. They capture the old-style burlesque feel with a modern twist. Often during their performances, Bang Bang Von Loola will sing between sets, occasionally accompanied by an ukelele. She has a lovely voice that reminds me of Ella Fitzgerald.
One of my favorite burlesque sets of the night was when Coco Soleil danced her solo routine to “Carry Out” by Justin Timberlake. It got the crowd cheering to hear a familiar song and the whole routine was very high-energy.
The only real criticism I have with this group is for their MC Big John. He’s the husband of Bang Bang Von Loola and a big supporter of the ladies. He gets up on stage and talks between each set while the ladies are changing outfits, and every time he does I end up rolling my eyes. He’s funny and has decent stage presence, but it’s clear that his MC-ing is unrehearsed. I’m fairly positive he has no idea what he’s
going to say on stage until he gets the microphone in his hand. I think he has the ability to be funny and keep the energy up while the burlesque ladies are backstage, but he should put the effort into planning out his lines in advance considering set change can take up to five minutes and there were about eight of them throughout the night. With that minor fix, I think these women can go far.
Next up, starting at around 11 p.m, was the Slow Caves, a local synth-punk band. I highly suggest checking them out at NewWestFest on Friday, August 15 at the Library Park Stage from 5 p.m. to 5:40 p.m. This group recently released their self-titled debut EP, which you can download here. The band consists of Jakob Mueller on vocals, guitar and synthesizer, David Dugan on guitar, Oliver Mueller on guitar, synthesizer and vocals, Jake Lyon on bass and Jackson Lamperes on drums.
Considering this group was only formed in January (according to Facebook), these 20-some year old artists are doing pretty well for themselves. The instrumentation on their original songs flow well together, which I think can be hard to do sometimes when using a synthesizer. In my experience with new bands using a synthesizer, it sometimes gets a little messy and sloppy. After hearing the Slow Caves live for the first
time, it’s clear to me that the Mueller men have that synthesizer skill on lock. Both of them also have great singing voices for this type of music style.
The band played their new song “Late” live for the first time Friday night, which was enjoyable and on par with the material from their EP. While the group’s original songs were fun, easy to listen to and melodically appealing, I think the group’s stage presence could use some work. It could be because Hodi’s stage is fairly small, but the group didn’t move around at all. I think I’m speaking for most audience members when I say that I like it when the musicians, especially those not using a microphone, move around, swing their guitars around, and dance about stage. I loved listening to the Slow Caves perform, but visual appeal and energy were lacking from the performance. It is the band’s job to make the crowd feel energetic, and if the band isn’t moving around and radiating energy, neither will the audience. Considering how new and fresh this band is, I think this is something that can easily be learned over time. I can easily give this band’s music the seal of approval, and with the proper stage presence I can see them going far.