R&R | You Me & Apollo Brought Soul Rock to Naggy McGee’s
by Adam E. Smith
Dec 13, 2012 | 1001 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A SMALL SETTING didn’t hold back the big sound of You Me & Apollo in Grand Junction (Photo by Adam Smith)
A SMALL SETTING didn’t hold back the big sound of You Me & Apollo in Grand Junction (Photo by Adam Smith)
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Mosey West to Hit the Eldo in Crested Butte

 

(Catch It)

 

Mosey West at the Eldo in Crested Butte on Saturday

 

Assembling the old fashioned way in garages and basements around Fort Collins, Mosey West is a two-year-old indie folk project that has authored reputable tunes and built critical success despite their limited chronology. Their debut EP Vaca Money jumped into Marquee Magazine’s Top 10 Best Local Albums and hit 4.5 stars in Scene Magazine. Although I’m not one for lists and extraneous rankings, Mosey West hit a very listenable nerve with their well executed first effort. Where Vaca Money tapped into the roots of Colorado bluegrass as a filter for modern folk, their follow up project Merica was a noticeable progression into an indie rock spiked rendition of twangy Southwest Americana.

Resounding guitar notes transcend geographic borders and reflect the bar rooms of Austin. Clean vocal harmonies dip into old Southern Rock techniques, and lyrically the tormented content is masked by clever analogies and related introspection. They even find appropriate places for soothing harmonica, pedal steel, and banjo. The sound isn’t the only facet of the four piece that is broaching borders. Mosey West has hit every state in the region with live performances, and they have been invited to play stages at major festivals like Wakarusa and The Harvest Music Festival. Catch them this Saturday at the Eldo in Crested Butte.

Mosey West, Fri., Dec. 14, The Eldo, Crested Butte, 10:30 p.m., Free, eldobrewpub.com

 

(Saw It)

You Me & Apollo at Naggy McGee’s in Junction

Brent Cowles is the unsuspecting type of dynamic frontman. He has long curly hair that covers opaque, thick-framed glasses that do not attempt a rock star coolness factor. His clothes are plain, but not in the way made fashionable by the grunge era, and his demeanor is subdued to the point of being aesthetically neutral in a room full of obstreperous bar patrons knee deep in a nightlong buzz-building mission. Then again, on this particular night at Naggy McGee’s, it would have taken a bold act of humor or violence for anyone to really take notice of my own presence. 

After speaking with Cowles later in the night, I think he liked it that way. The moments of anonymity that came with the time before the show started was short lived. Eventually he did have to step up behind the microphone with his acoustic guitar in hand, and proceed to send a wave of shock through the room with the only the first few vocal notes. People looked over from the bar to the back of the room to see who or what was producing that voice. Once the rest of the band came in on the first song, they had the entire room in the palm of their hands.

Channeling the attributes of what made rock and roll vocalist like Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury great, You Me & Apollo is a band lead by a member of the new breed in modern rock music singers. His self-imposed reversion to placing an emphasis on singing, song structure and producing catchy instrumentation is a fine balance between what once worked for others, and what could be his band’s key to success when forging their own auditory identity. Yet he isn’t the only member of the band that caught my attention. The soulful five-piece finds its groove foundation in standout percussionist Tyler Kellogg. It’s his effortless tempo building and unique use of different drums tones that allow the band to drive home harmonious end notes and layer their cohesive sounds. Watching his stick movements was telling – it was not a matter of how fast or technical he was playing, but what each individual note meant in relation to the equally calculated guitar and bass notes.

Although the band only features a half dozen tracks on their digital demo, they managed to fill out two sets with choice cover selections. Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” was perfectly executed with a spin that made it their own, and the line “there’s something happening here” seemed to resonate with the environment of the performance. The feeling that this was a band that we could say we saw for free in a boisterous pub one day was already setting it.

Making it even more memorable for future nostalgia was that there was no stage. Fans in the making just danced around the band as they played through their best rendition of The Zombies’ “Time of the Season.” Doing sonic justice to Colin Blustone and Stephen Stills was only a taste of what the young Cowles could do with his own heartfelt ballads. His tonal execution fell somewhere between the modern greats like Brittany Howard and Galen Disston, while also digging into the nonspecific record archives of yesteryear. “Open” flexed his high-end range, “Rob the Cheat” offered a dose of his unique inflections, and “Oh My Molly” was just sing-along pop rock brilliance. You didn’t need to know the words, or even hear exactly what he was saying to get what feeling he was trying to emulate.

Pretending that they could have an encore even when there is no actual backstage was short lived, and it was a patiently building “We Got a Roof” encore that exploded into pure rock nirvana that became the easy highlight of the evening.  

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