In the Whale
July 21 2018
Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO
Local boys made good. That’s how one could describe buzzworthy indie rock duo In the Whale as they made a triumphant (pseudo) hometown return playing to a packed house at Denver’s Bluebird Theatre, a turnout the band itself acknowledged as their best yet at a headlining gig. Singer and sole guitarist Nate Valdez and drummer Eric Riley, whose kit was situated sideways to the crowd, facing Valdez, bashed away at the skins while contributing vocals at times. They asked the crowd who was with at their early, back-when-they-were-nobodies shows and many concertgoers indicated they had but the band from Greeley, CO knows better. They’re fine with fans jumping on the bandwagon, afterall. Better now than never.
Cuts from self-released EPS Cake, Nate & Eric, Full Nelson, and latest release Dopamine made the rounds in their set, while the twosome goaded audience members into hopping up and down to the crunchy power chord punk tunes. They even briefly switched duties, with Eric crooning and Nate seated at drums for a tune. The band returned for an encore, which included the thumping but lyrically moribund “Lake of Fire” (not to be confused with the same-named Meat Puppets classic) and the jarring stomper “Grandpa Pete is a Creep.” Opening the show was fellow Rocky Mountain music scene stalwarts Citra and Hellgrammites, two bands who may one day be in In the Whale’s shoes and performing before adoring crowds as hometown heroes.
Having previously seen In the Whale jerk the curtain for renowned old school West Coast punksters The Descendants, both gentlemen pull out all the stops for every show they play, so each is special in its own way. No matter the venue or if their band name is atop the marquee or tacked on last minute, Nate and Eric deliver the goods live and leave fans wanting more. This evening was no different and the next likely won’t be either. Check them out on tour before they blow up nationally. Then you won’t have to lie at future shows when they survey fans on who was along for the ride from the beginning.
Article by Steve Lustig