CBCG Influence Resides in Denver

Dirty Fences gives a sophisticated twist to punk. photo: Sarai Nissan • CU Denver Sentry


There will be nothing as gritty, rough, punk rock, and pure as CBGB circa 1977. But seeing Dirty Fences at the Moon Room on April 18 came pretty damn close to it. The band was supported by Denver’s hometown heroes Colfax Speed Queen and Dirty Few, who fit the bill in eclectic unison—Colfax Speed Queen airing to a style reminiscent of The Cramps and the Dirty Few leaning towards Black Flag in their TV Party era.

The Moon Room at Summit Music Hall was cluttered with a number of show-goers who all seemed to know each other. Denver has a tight community of local bands as well as coastal musicians, making the venue feel almost like that community of musicians and artists at CBGB likely did in the 1970s.

Dirty Fences is composed of Max Roseglass on rhythm guitar, Jack Daves on lead guitar and vocals, Max Hiersteiner on drums and vocals, and Max Comaskey on bass and vocals.

Dirty Fences gives a sophisticated twist to punk. photo: Sarai Nissan • CU Denver Sentry
Dirty Fences gives a sophisticated twist to punk.
photo: Sarai Nissan • CU Denver Sentry

The band creates and performs music that is closest to rock ‘n’ roll when it was in its prime. Hailing from New York, the scene itself, it isn’t surprising that Dirty Fences carries the traditions of CBGB-style punk to their music, citing Johnny Thunders, The Dictators, and The Ramones as musical influences.

“Our music has that raw, swag, flavorful guitar sound. I think it just kind of happened naturally,” Hirsch said. “It’s all the music we listen to as kids. We would listen to The Ramones and at first we were like, ‘This is kind of stupid, all of the songs sound the same.’ Then the joke kind of wore off. We weren’t listening to it because it was funny anymore, we were listening to it because we took it dead serious. Then it just kind of stuck.”

Dirty Fences is certainly more sophisticated than the 1970s DIY punk scene, where anyone could pick up an instrument and call themselves a band, but they still have the agile-yet-dynamic and fast guitar rhythms and callously pounding drums signature to the style.

“Sometimes we all come up with lyrics, sometimes someone has most of a song and we flesh it out together, sometimes we do it piece by piece,” Roseglass said. “Or we just work on stuff in the bathroom of a bar. We write a lot of stuff there,” said Daves with a charming facetiousness.

At The Moon Room, the group hardly took a break between songs, transitioning from “White Lies” into “Judy (Don’t Go).” The small-yet-spright audience ensued a mosh pit, thrashing wildly to every song. “Judy (Don’t Go)” features deep rhythmic vocals in between the creeping crescendo of the chorus.

Dirty Fences is one of the few bands to successfully translate a style of music that so many have taken inspiration from, and execute it in a way that is pure and authentic. The group is the 21st-century version of 1977 punk rock, with their own stylistic flourishes that anyone infatuated with that time period would relish in.

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