Succinct but Psychedelic Sounds


Amid low lights cast on black concrete walls, succinct but psychedelic sounds trickled from the stage of The Hi-Dive on South Broadway. It may have been your average crawling-with-hipsters venue when Eldren took the stage that night, but the gathering shouldn’t be reduced to such surface-level stereotypes for it was warm and buoyant energy that surrounded the adoring crowd.

Openers Phallic Meditation and The Velveteers offered very different orientations to heavy rock on March 5—The Velveteers preferable to the former. Phallic Meditation was all show and no substance, and the lead singer’s outfit looked like a Chipotle burrito, which made me think more about being hungry for a burrito than the music, which in itself was challenging to listen to. After a moderately cool $2 can of beer, thank you Hi-Dive, the band sounded a bit better.

The Velveteers set up on stage at just the right time—the audience was starting to wish they had brought earplugs, and a few people vocalized that sentiment. The two-piece outfit blasted enthusiasm through heavy resonance of electric guitar riffs, a quick successional drum beat, and familiar sounding vocals that cater to that classic image of true and hardcore rock ‘n’ roll.

Lead singer Demi Demitro knocked over a mic at one point while she shook her bouncy blonde curls like she was in a 1980s hair band.

It was late when Eldren finally let a note escape. Sipping tall draft beers placed at the edge of the stage, the band adjusted their lights and smiled at the crowd who clearly was comprised of familiar fans. On first listen the band might seem like the traditional four-piece with all your basics covered, but as each song they play progresses, suddenly it becomes clear that this is band of six playing multiple instruments a piece on a stage that had the two Velveteers tripping.

Eldren kept the trip going—it was exhilarating to see such blossomed creativity in its prime. They may have six band members, but they played so much more: A maraca, violin, keyboards, synthesizers, and a trombone. They even had a crescent-shaped tambourine that hung delicately reflecting stage lights. “Pac-Man” sounds dripped from the speakers, and one of the band members spoke out, “Can we lose the lights?”

With that, the clinking of drink glasses, a low blaze of chatter, and one drunk guy saying, “Oh yeah,” over and over, they began with Led Zeppelin-like vocals standing side by side in a row, save the drummer. Their unity on stage reflected in their singing and their coalescing beats.

The audience really grew jubilant when they began to play songs from their new album, Welcome To Deathville. Convulsing through the crowd of smiles and outstretched arms, “Sunny Rain Daymoon” brought a sort of sweet and brief bliss like that of a summer show.

The collection of leftover Deadheads and trendy young Denverites who crowded the show got an unexpected twist from Eldren’s Instagram page—the performance raised $350 for Youth On Record, which provides music education for at-risk youth.

—Madi Bates

Above: Eldren’s performance had one drunk guy saying, “Oh yeah.”

photo: Korina Rojo • CU Denver Sentry

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