The first annual Project Pabst Denver edition took over the Larimer block this weekend with an abundance of PBR and great music to make it a success. A perfect description would be Sturgis meets Coachella, bearded denim wearing fellas coexisting with ladies wearing full flower dresses all for the love of music. Pulling from a a impressive and diverse lineup of acts there was musical taste for everybody to enjoy along with the official beer of hipsters everywhere (festivals take note, you do not need to charge $8 for a beer). The one block layout had two main stages that would alternate between bands making it easy to navigate back and forth between acts. Some of our favorite venues such as Cold Crush and Larimer Lounge also played host to some amazing acts for those who wanted to catch some shade. A variety of food carts were stretched out beyond the route to accommodate those who were hungry, we went for the $2 tacos which we may have gone back for seconds at one point. Art installations in the form of a van were on hand for attendees to practice their unlawful graffiti skills, later covered up by some amazing artist. A full arcade was stationed on the side for you to relive your pinball wizard days.
A music festival wouldn't be a festival without music. Our day started by catching Small Black who headlined the early afternoon lineup to some exuberant fans. They played a variety of their songs including their biggest hit "Despicable Dogs". The indie-electro darlings sparked the first crowd dance party of the day. Not a bad way for us to start our amazing day. We also managed to catch Chicago emcee K Flay. No stranger to Denver, as she often performs here she managed to give us our first taste of indie hip-hop and had us dancing to carefully orchestrated lyrics and dance heavy beats.
It was time to take refuge inside to enjoy some shade and yet more PBR. Aside from being relatively affordable the can design was a special festival edition featuring a hybrid lazer-horse-unicorn (see pic above). As we entered the catacombs of Larimer lounge we heard a familiar sound coming from the stage. The soothing sounds of one of our favorite local bands South of France was a perfect balance of indie-pop to set the mood for the rest of the day. The duo of Jeff and Kelly Cormack bring a dream like element to their music that isn't overly emphasized by loud instrumentation, instead focusing on creative lyrics that the listener can indulge at a moderate pace.
The fun wasn't over as we managed to enjoy outdoor sets from hard rockers Baroness. We then headed over to get our surf grunge from favorites Fidlar. They probably had the best crowd of the day with crowd surfing and an abundance of PBR raining from the crowd. Our diet for hip hop brought upon the main course in the form of Big K.R.I.T. who took us on a country hip hop journey featuring cadillac whips and soul food. In between sets we had a chance to check out some comedy at Meadowlark and mingle with friends who all agreed that Denver needs more one-day block parties like this. Our early evening included amazing sets by Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires. A soulful set capturing the past and remarkable era of early funk and rhythm and blues. He managed to capture the crowd who imitated, yet gracefully failed at their James Brown dance moves. Give them credit they were probably 6-7 PBR's in and thought they looked good. Original headliner Courtney Barnett had to cancel last minute, we don't blame her as she managed to headline Saturday Night live that same night. As consolation we were given the amazing Best Coast who played a remarkable set with the alternative (beach rock) influenced sounds that have become a staple of theirs for many years. The nights main act was a homecoming for our own Nathaniel Ratliff and The Night Sweats who have recently returned home from touring. Decked out in an all white denim ensemble Nathaniel and company laid down a gritty rowdy retro sound of pure soulful bliss. Seeing the band perform only a couple years ago in a backyard to full-scaled festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza has brought the band to main stream success. No band more deserving than these hard working fellas we like to call our own.