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LIVE REVIEW: Twenty One Pilots, Denver, CO

twenty one pilots featureAfter biking over 4 miles to the venue, I got into the Ogden Theater about halfway through Hunter Hunted, the first opening band, and listened to them for the first time from the venue bathroom while touching up my lipstick and eyeliner. Before I tell you about how bummed I am for missing Hunter Hunted’s full set (because they were a really rad band),I feel I should mention that I spend most of my time at local and small punk shows. This, on the other hand, was a sold out show with a big crowd that reminded me of something: how great it is for smaller, opening bands to get a large crowd of new people listening to their music, because a ton of stoked people show up early enough to pack a venue. Hunter Hunted has only released an EP so far, but they are a beat-heavy indie band that makes really danceable music, and although the crowd only moved around a little to the unfamiliar tunes, the band was received quite well. One thing I will note about every band on this show is the position of their drummers, mostly because it was never once normal. Hunter Hunted had the drummer at the front right hand side of the stage, on equal level with everyone in the band, and while I have honestly never seen a band do that live before, it was really cool because drummers actually work pretty hard and do some cool stuff — and this time you could actually see it! During the whole second half of the first set, I tried to maneuver in the crowd. I ended up finding a spot right behind the sound guys and right in front of the bar. This gave me time to actually check out the crowd in between opening sets, and there were a lot of high school couples and dads in the back who were keeping an eye on their pre-teens. These groups were mixed in with a decent amount of people in their twenties and thirties, some of whom I knew and who had blown off the Global Dub dance festival at Red Rocks to come to the show.

Nonono, from Sweden, was the second opening band, and this tour was their first US tour. They, too, made really danceable indie music, and they had a pretty amazing, relaxed female vocalist. They were also not super well-recognized, but the crowd got really into them. The bass player switched between bass and keyboard, but with the mixing and drums the band had on stage it was a really cool sound. In this case, the drummer essentially traded places with where the bassist would normally be, but two of the members were staggered back like bands normally are during shows. This ended up being really cool; you could still see what was up with a bassist in the back, but you got to check out everything the drummer was doing too.

Now, my first impression of the crowd when I first arrived (regardless of the tendency of young people to get really excited and into music) was that most people knew one or two twenty one pilots’ songs and that they were so stoked about those that they decided to check out the show (and just happened to luck out that they are a really talented duo). Furthermore, I truly believe that twenty one pilots make the kind of music that could get people stoked enough off of one or two songs to support en masse. While the crowd was still way too young for me to want to hang around, in this case I was wrong; for the most part the crowd threw down and sang along to pretty much every song. As cool as it would have been to be at Red Rocks, it was pretty indescribably amazing to witness the band’s stage presence (light show and all) and neither me nor my photo-taking ability do it justice. I will not go through the various masks they wore on stage, because there were a lot and my favorite outfit was the drummer’s cut off saying “love you mom.” What I will tell you is how cool it is to hear rap lyrics and a ukelele in the same song and want to party to it. And how it must have been a nightmare — a literal nightmare — to figure out how to mic drums on top of an electronic sign, drums that also crowd-surfed for a song, drums that partially moved to the center of stage when the duo played back to back with light-up drum sticks, and two separate bass drums that crowd-surfed when the duo was performing their final couple of songs. I will tell you how amazing their cover of “Mad World” was, and despite how glad I was to hear their popular releases such as “House of Gold” and “Guns for Hands,” these songs were not nearly my favorite songs they performed. This duo really fits in well in Colorado, wearing tank tops and masks/beanies, running around stage, back flipping off of pianos and jumping over drums their entire show, as well as putting folk/indie-sounding music to lyrics and drum beats that make a crowd throw down and dance like they did.   I will tell you how much you should go see this duo perform live. I can only hope that the next time they come to Colorado, twenty one pilots gets a chance to play Red Rocks; I bet they could sell that out, too.

twenty one pilots: You can purchase a CD here. Some shows on this tour have actually not sold out yet, somehow. You can buy concert tickets here. Check out and support the music by the opening bands after the photos.

Opening bands for this tour:

Hunter Hunted:

You can purchase a CD here.



You can purchase a CD here.

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