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Project Pabst

May 21, 2016

Denver, CO

The flowers are blooming, hoodies have turned into tanktops, and that calc class that’s been kicking your ass all semester has tested out. You know what that means. We’ve finally reached (arguably) the most fun-filled time of year: Summer! Though I do not necessarily look forward to the Hades-esque humidity and sweat-drenched everything, summer signals the long-awaited return of concert season and 2016 surely will not disappoint. Kicking off the festivities this year in the Mile High City was the first-and-hopefully-annual Project Pabst Festival. Lest you assume that because the whole shebang was produced by that much-beloved cheap piss beer PBR, the lineup probably features all the standouts of your deadbeat older brother’s CD and cassette tape collection from junior high, such as Iron Maiden, Kid Rock, and Saliva. But lo and behold, the marketing geniuses over at Pabst shrewdly rode the wave of Millennial rediscovery of its once-white trashy brand and booked some of the best bands making noise nationally.

Alt-sludge metal proprietors Baroness absolutely killed, peppering their set with selections from a very colorful catalog that is painted with titles like The Red Album, The Blue Record, Yellow & Green and latest release, Purple. Another highlight of the afternoon was seeing the natural progression of a generation raised on Nevermind and Dookie in the form of Fidlar. This plain fact is not only evident in their music, which is the kind of catchy, crunchy party punk with a sardonic grunge sneer that you’d expect from skater kids born in the late 80s. Lead singer Zac Carper broadcast his status as a disciple of Kurt and Co. by jamming out on his low-slung guitar while sporting a greasy Nirvana tee.

Speaking of throwbacks to the 80s and 90s, twang-punk legends The Violent Femmes brought the boogie to Project Pabst. They proved to many of those assembled that despite being known mostly for the enduring modern rock hit and probable ode to masturbation “Blister in the Sun,” they paved the way for many acts, including headliners Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats. Mr. Rateliff and his down-home hipster crew summoned the collective power of their banjos and neck hankerchiefs to rock the crowd as the sun set into night. These Denver locals have joined the likes of Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men, and fellow Denverites The Lumineers in recent years as folk pop-rock royalty.

Pabst would be wise to bring their traveling showcase back to Colorado next year, as this one was a blast (despite the line into The Coathangers’s set inside Larimer Lounge precluding my witnessing their set; but based upon a previous experience seeing this band live, they most likely tore it up yet again.) Now, with summer officially in session, there will be plenty of other opportunities to douse myself in deodorant and indulge in even more spectacular outdoor music shindigs.

Article By: Steve Lustig



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