Current Swell’s first time performing in Denver was not only a shock to the people that came out to the Marquis Theater that night, but it seemed as if the band was equally amazed at how the crowd embraced their music. Everyone was on the same level, singing along with the reggae, surf rock, blues, jazz, roots, etc. songs of Current Swell without holding back. This unique group of guys showed up in Denver just after a major snowstorm, and still all expectations for the show were met and even exceeded.
Current Swell came on stage around 10:15 pm. You could feel the excitement and anticipation in the air as the crowed gathered to get as close to the stage as possible, when BOOM! The Current Swell jumped into their first song, “Room of the Faded Moon.” The energy in the room exploded like fireworks in your backyard.
It took Current Swell a couple songs to warm up to the vibe of the venue, sound, audience, and simply playing in Denver, just as any other band. However, once they fell into their comfort zone, it was as if Stanton, bassist Ghosty, drummer Chris ‘Chrispy’ Peterson, and guitarist Davers Lang, let the music flow as naturally as when it was created. Completely consumed by music, this talented group of guys played as if it were their last night of their lives.
Lead singer Scott Stanton said into the microphone, “Denver, this is our first time here and we love it!” the crowd roared with excitement in response.
The band’s sound took on a new form when hearing their studio-produced albums in comparison to experiencing Current Swell live (this video doesn't do them justice). It wasn’t simply the music that made seeing Current Swell live refreshing, but the genuine connection they made with fans. Current Swell took their vibrant sound without soft, sleepy overtones, which many of their tracks possess, and amped them up. Each unexpected point throughout the show, playing so hard you wondered if their instruments would crumble to pieces, were experiences that can only be felt live with Current Swell.
If you go to concerts to hear exactly what is on band’s studio album, then Current Swell would crush all your hopes and dreams. They played their music as if it were clay then added some cherry bombs to create an exhilarating feeling and surprising sound. You just want to do it again!
They rocked out without thinking twice about what cord, beat, or note to generate. This made it clear that the strong bond between each band member was unbreakable. Current Swell was a unit. It’s rare to go see a live band where all are equal on stage like the guys unconsciously did. The 150 or so in the audience could feel it too.
Off Current Swell’s latest album, Long Time Ago, there was a track called “Brad’s Song,” which was stripped down raw from the acoustic melody to eerie lyrics. It gave the song a mysterious sound and feel to it. There was something rooted deeper behind the music, but you aren’t quite able to grasp on to. Current Swell let everyone in the audience know.
Lang decided to open up about how personal “Brad’s Song” was to his heart. Many were caught off guard by the left turn in Current Swell’s insane performance. Especially after high energy tracks like “Stomach” and “Chesterman's Valley.” It didn’t matter though. The audience was intently listening to Lang explain who Brad was on the most personal of levels. The extent of his emotional and vulnerable state was uncommon to come from musicians while on stage in front of a large group of strangers. However, Lang and all of Current Swell demonstrated how one song was able to make an entire venue, including the band, feel vulnerable as a whole. No a single person was a stranger after that.
“This next song is about one of our best friends who passed away a bit ago. Brad had a huge influence on my life…our lives. Brad changed my life forever,” as he looked at his friends with instruments behind him with full support. “This is for him.”
Lang started “Brad’s Song” soft and slow. Emotions were flying and a calm quiet put the room into a trance. You could hear the person next to you breathing. The crowd was completely engaged, anticipating every word. They will never meet Brad. But through the song, they made a connection with him. Some even shed tears. It was the most powerful moment of the entire show.
Each musician knew exactly when to play, one by one as Current Swell slowly built up the song. Silent with emotion, audience members moved along with the band. “Brad’s Song” gradually went from a sense of mourning and transformed into a celebration, much like the grieving process.
Current Swell made sure not to end this dedication to their late friend on a sad note. Instead, they shared how important Brad was to them through their inspiring performance. The Marquis’ intimacy added to Current Swell’s ability to create a connection with fans, since there was no way to miss a single drop of sweat come off their faces.
As the tension level was about to burst through the doors, every single member of Current Swell jumped up in the air and came down in sync strangling their instruments. It was an incredible moment. The rush of adrenaline seeing the Current Swell in person gave many the chills, but you couldn’t help sweating and banging your head like it was the 90s.
The show continued with no lack of intensity from Current Swell. Eventually, they ended the night with “How Can They Trust Us Now.” Everyone sang smiling right along until their voices were gone. It was as if Current Swell had played in Denver various times and Denver was simply welcoming them back with open arms. Rarely do concerts burn into your brain like this one, but it was incomparable to anything else.
As they came off stage, Current Swell kindly hung around by the merchandise booth and talked to star struck fans as well as anyone who just wanted to say “hello.” There wasn’t a fake or impersonal part to any of the various conversations people had with the guys. They gave you their fully engaged attention, which unfortunately most bands don’t do, particularly after the rush lingering from being on stage performing live.
This was one of the best shows in 2013 and a complete departure from anything on their albums. Denver will also be more than ready for Current Swell to come through next time. Denver loves their music.
Current Swell is now on tour in Australia with upcoming shows in Northbridge, Bunbury, and Byron Bay for their blues festival.
For more photos from the show, click here.