In October I stumbled upon a righteous crew called Bonnie and the Beard at the Larimer Lounge in Denver. Tip your bartender, because if you’re in Denver and love music, you’ll be here again and again. They do it right.
Rising star Bonnie and the Beard opened for risen star Nicole Atkins and the Sea—the band I had extended my Denver trip to hear. I had just tried to see Nicole Atkins open for the sold-out Black Keys in LA. Then I noticed she was hitting Denver at an intimate venue. Booya.
This made me happy because Nicole Atkins is like my rock angel. I dread the day when I’ll need a stadium cushion and a telescope to see her. So it was truly to my delight and surprise to find a newly-discovered band with a vocalist in the same stratosphere with Nicole.
Bonnie’s voice is healing to the drunk soul like Nicole’s voice is to the psychedelic dreamer. Don’t let the sex appeal fool you. These women are on the planet for a higher purpose. Each play their part in bringing order to the sound and fury of the musical universe. I hope and imagine Nicole will take them on tour, repeating the magic over and over until the Earth finds its axis of harmony.
Let’s not forget “The Beard” (Tony). His guitar and vocals ground and compliment Bonnie in unexpected and comforting ways. Remarkably tight for a band just completing their first album. And of course wherever tightness is found, major credit goes to the drummer (Alex) for gluing it all together.
Feel the love up close at cozy venues while you still can. And please don’t take my word for it. Here’s a video of Bonnie and the Beard that night at the Larimer Lounge.
In this decade of ear-raping vocoders, and the fake stars ruining radio with them, you have to respect Nicole and Bonnie all the more: real singing stars that get it done live on stage, relatively unproduced, and sonically unique every time, to balance the energy of that particular crowd and space. Gratitude.
Visit Bonnie and the Beard’s MySpace page to hear more of their music.
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About the author: Zachary O'maloha has been writing professionally for 15 years. He's working on his first book, God Speaks In Song. He also reviews music, and is always up for a good jam session. He can be found on Facebook.