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By Laura Andrews | KCSU
Muffled sounds of psychedelic soundscapes reverberated from the Lost Lake Lounge and colored Colfax Avenue on the warm Friday evening of March 10.
Under the glow of ruby-red lights and disco ball shimmers, a trio of kaleidoscopic local bands from Denver and Fort Collins rocked the venue with a cohesive mix, from chill desert rock to distortion-heavy shoegaze-punk to a Latin American fuzz fusion. Los Toms headlined the psychedelic rock evening, supported by a southwestern spin from the Crooked Rugs and dream-punk group Dry Ice.
Fort Collins’ The Crooked Rugs kicked off the evening with a front-to-back performance of their newest album “Metropolis.” The music toned down the band’s signature Durango-southwestern rock sound, yet kept the same intensity and dynamic signature style. Each song transitioned seamlessly into the next, with a setlist that gradually intensified until the last chord. The Crooked Rugs seemed unfazed by the intricacies of their new material, visibly relaxing into the groove of the rhythm by their fifth song, “Violet Tiger.” Lead singer and keyboardist Jayce Haley remarked after the show that they played better without the opening-night jitters and pressure of a hometown crowd.
Dry Ice showcased a passionate performance of songs from their self-titled album, a remastered and elevated project that showcased maturity in their cohesive punk sound. The queer psychedelic dream-punk band took the stage as the second opening act of the evening with an undeniable stage presence that remained unmatched throughout the entire evening. The band members used the stage as their personal playground – they climbed on amplifiers and fueled the audience by getting up close and personal. Dry Ice’s energizing set was a memorable highlight of that Friday evening – a tough act to follow for the main act. At first, Los Toms’ setlist was notably more subtle and stiff than the previous band. However, with each subsequent song, the band eased into the groove of the music, melting their tension away and relaxing into their niche.
Los Toms’ setlist was a welcome upgrade to their recorded catalog – an elevated performance that bloomed through psychedelic distortions and brought the intensity lost in studio production back to life.
Though his drum set was tucked in the back corner of the stage, Los Toms drummer Giovanni Manwaring’s energy and intensity were unmatched throughout the set, marked by a notable solo on their song “Baphomet.” In addition, lead singer and bassist Nathaniel Dorlac’s command of English and Spanish lyrics combined with biting vocals carved a unique niche for the ever-evolving psychedelic group.
The evening concluded with a distinct and eclectic encore that engaged the audience with a playful celebratory jam session. “We don’t normally do this,” Dorlac joked before reaching into his magic bag of tricks and conjuring up maracas, recorders, noisemakers, and a large rainstick. Joined by his contemporary, Haley from The Crooked Rugs, the final encore showcased a deep appreciation and gratitude for the local music community. The audience grinned and danced alongside the band in a rosy haze and in disco ball shimmers, a humble and positive reminder of the strong support and connection created through the local music scene.