By Harrison Welshimer
The newest venue in Denver is creating buzz like a veteran. Summit Music Hall hosted the 2nd Annual Nerd Prom Friday night which was packed with the latest nerds decked out in all our geeky glory. Summit has become a local hotspot since it opened in the summer of 2010, hosting a variety of local indie bands as well as known acts like the Misfits and Machine Head. If you missed it, here are some of the highlights:
Three bands were especially hot Friday night: The Messers, Filthy T, and headliner Bop Skizzum.
The Messers, a band that has only been together since 2011, laid down a real thick groove. Despite their few years together, band members have had some extreme experience, coming together from other groups like the Fong Jones Band, Psychedelic Zombiez, Byron Shaw Projex, Wish We Were Floyd, and Savage Henry. Their style is established in the Motown roots of artists like Stevie Wonder and the R&B of James Brown … but with some hip sugar mixed in.
Lead-woman Kate Shoup had a voice that growled as she sang tracks like “Honey Child” and “Bozo”, trading lines with one of the hottest horn sections I’ve heard live. And this band doesn’t just use their horns for snap, crackle and pop. Lead tenor saxophonist Kurt Moorehead wailed away on several occasions, proving there is still a place for sax in modern rock (yes, I am biased). That hip sugar I’m talking about is added by MC Mo Hatcher. His rhymes had us bouncin’ down on the floor!
We are new to the scene, so forgive us for not having known the next act, but we know you now Filthy T! This band has heart, not only on stage, but off as well. According to their website, they’ve helped raise over $10,000 while performing at fundraising events hosted by the Children’s Hospital, Make-a-Wish and Victims of the Aurora Theater Shooting.
Before Friday night, they must have spent just as much time prepping their costumes as they did their songs. Ben “b.heded” Hedman was wearing laser-white space-age lenses with a full tux, lead guitarist Joseph “Sloppy Joe” Barnholt decked out in a red Superman cape (and proceeded to fly – more ‘bout that later), vocalist Nikki “Big Smitty” Smith was ready to fly being dressed as a flight attendant, and to round it out second guitarist Joe Shull came from a galaxy far, far away as a Star Wars clone soldier. But I digress. The music rocked!
Filthy T’s style is dripping in rebellious punk influenced by urban hip hop. Schulze has honed his craft, developing rhymes that keep the integrity of rap but mix well with a rock beat. That beat is provided by Adrian “The Mexican” Hernandez on set and bassist Kirby Beegles. They had the audience grooving the hardest to “Mrs. Vudu” which featured slick riffs from Barnholt. The high he felt after playing must have given him air and thankfully we in the audience were ready to catch him!
My favorite group of the night was the headlining band BOP SKIZZUM! And that’s how they were announced to – loud and in all caps! They literally ran onto stage to give us their eclectic mix of funk, electronic and dance music. And we was grinding down n’ dirty in no time!
Bop Skizzum in not new to the Denver scene, but they’ve made a huge splash in the last two years, first gracing the cover of Colorado Music Buzz Magazine in February 2011, and following that up with recognition by A.O.V., (Artist On The Verge) as one of the top 100 artists on the rise for 2011.
We all went hysterical when they played their hit single “Do You Want it?” from their album Coloradical. I felt like Julie Almeria’s silky voice was directed right at me … “You and I, Could have run this town…You were so eager to please, Everbody but me!” But just as critical to the vocals was emcee Shane “SF1” Franklin, rapping the hippest bridge written by any Denver band. The infectious dance beat was greased by bassist Chris Harris with Franklin also acting as percussionist. Bottom line, I danced harder to Bop Skizzum because with their energy, I had no choice!
In summary, Nerd Prom 2013 was killin’! Can’t wait until next year for the 3rd annual party of nerds!