Ye Olde Elk Lodge welcomes Salty to Denver
DIY house shows are alive and kicking
Ye Olde Elk Lodge is an old Victorian house located in the Baker district where local DIY concerts sometimes take shape. On Aug. 26, the Lodge hosted out-of-state friends Salty, headed for the coast on their first interstate tour.
The night was characterized by elements of punk, noise, and synth pop accompanied by the visual design of Kevin Netz, which tied the bands together in a delightfully weird combination of abstract projector lighting and clips from The Twilight Zone. Both the eclectic mix of concert goers and the disjointed interludes by Lodge resident, Trey Tafoya, between sets made the audience feel as though they had indeed entered into another dimension as the television in the background suggested.
Salty, a four-man ensemble from Kansas City, graced the stage as their drummer, Ethan Eckert, brought jugs of water to cool them down halfway through their set. The band was a mix of classic punk tropes like yelled lyrics coupled with fast guitar riffs and hard, heavy drum beats combined with more modern innovations such as the expert synth playing of Zachary Turner. They got the crowd moving and vocal in ways that their predecessors had not. Though more derivative than some of the more abstract musicians that played before them, Salty was able to command the stage in a way that made it irrelevant how deep the concepts and theory behind their music might’ve been. Apparent in the dancing and cheering that broke out during their set was the fact that they were there for the ritual purpose of release that every community needs to stay healthy.
Princess Dewclaw, a local band that no doubt attracted many of the audience members, played the set after Salty. In the same spirit of ritual release, Amanda Gostomski’s cutting vocals felt at times like an exorcism. The band exuded their self-described trash pop with a mix of horror and distortion that continued the jolting sound started by Salty. Also notable was Will Schaf’s bass playing, which gave their sound a markedly darker timbre than their predecessors.
Openers included Hot Slag and Ghoulfriend.
Forest Ivy Rain, the soul contributor to Slag, punched into the crowd with feedback swells and nightmarish samples that seemed to scream from the old house. His final song was built on a drone foundation that swam amid a sea of repetitive samples, feedback, and tranced out synths. The music slides between waves of dissonance and poppy synth. The juxtaposition seemed to lose the crowd at times and pick them back up later in the song. Though the vocals were harsh at times, his passion and concept made up for his musical shortcomings. Trey Tafoya and Derek Bozich make up the horror pop group Ghoulfriend. The dissonance of Tafoya’s horrifying noise, goth, and metal influences followed a similar pattern of dissonance and repetition, relying on feedback that leads into hard metal breakdowns and Tafoya’s echoing vocals.
Ye Olde Elk Lodge proved to be a bastion of DIY revelry in a downtown landscape that seems evermore devoid of creative spaces like this one. The community and art being shared at places like this are what keep Denver’s creatives alive.