A Ruined Oak West Coast Tour Day 3: Denver

The drive from Oklahoma City to Denver was the longest single-day drive of the tour: 9+ hours through the stultifying plains of northern Oklahoma and Kansas.

Why did I even take these pictures

As one rolls into Colorado, the ground begins to undulate a bit:

Then, as you turn a corner into Denver, the Rockies abruptly loom:

To a person who has lived for many years in central and eastern Texas, where nature is largely of the bite/sting/burn/flood variety, the routine presence of natural beauty seems foreign. Traveling to the West I feel overwhelmed by the scale of the landscape and the change in climate. I feel as if I’m climbing a ladder to heaven on which I am unsure of my balance. It’s alien and terrifying.

I mean, when we rolled into Denver it was downright chilly. In EARLY OCTOBER.

We checked in with our host Susan, a friend of our good pal Jason Carter (Sam: “So give me your opinion of Jason: great dude, or the greatest dude?”), admired her Pallbearer flag (“we were really high when we bought that”), acquired refreshment of various types (including Susan’s INCREDIBLY FUCKING DOPE chicken soup) then hopped down the street to Streets of London to load in.

We noticed this surprising poster on the wall:

It’s not a big room!

As we finished loading, a cold rain began to fall.

Then some poor soul got fucking stabbed in front of the club.

Sunday, October 1: Streets of London (Denver) with Hapless and Joy Subtraction

Hapless opened the show with a short set of moshy hardcore.

The singer who performed on the 2016 Hapless EP seems to have departed the band at some point; her declamatory style was a big part of their sound, and so this iteration of the band is quite a bit different from what I had heard. But the three remaining members did a pretty admirable job of splitting up the vocal duties into a series of shrieks and roars.

Joy Subtraction brought a tight set of mathy punk that reminded Jamie of ALL (“but with a Phase 90 on at all times”).  They put me in mind a bit of the old Houston band the Squishees, in particular the way their set was sprinkled with covers of old punk songs. Singer Abe Brennan’s command of the stage also reminded me of my buddy Josh Robins of the Invincible Czars.

They closed their set with a cover of Nomeansno’s classic “It’s Catching Up,” on which drummer Brian Polk impressed me- it’s a very tough song to play, even for an occasional member of a Nomeansno tribute band like your friendly narrator. Turns out these guys ALSO moonlight as a Nomeansno tribute band, and after the show we had a good time swapping setlists.

We closed out the show. Setlist:

Back Office
Lurching Away
Welcome to the Adders’ Land
A Ruined Oak
Green Vial
Tusk Aurora

We chatted a bit and shut down, then decamped to Susan’s place, where we sat glued to our phones as the news rolled in of the worst mass shooting in American history. So far.

Thanks to Peter and Streets of London, and to Hapless and Joy Subtraction for sharing the stage.

Next up: Danny puts together furniture, PLUS: a journey through the frozen wastes of Wyoming

Again: it’s the FIRST WEEK of October y’all. What the hell.

P.S. If you ever find yourself on Colfax St. in Denver I recommend the pizza place inside Streets of London. Best pizza margherita I’ve had.



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