Originating from Denver, one of the most progressive cities for music, I was skeptical and admittedly naïve to the talent that not only passes through, but roots itself to the city of Durango as well. My night at the Animas Theatre forever wavered my biased opinions and became one of my most redefining moments.
Nestled in the heart of downtown Durango, CO, The Animas Theatre immortalizes a past of commendable artists, while welcoming the new. My introverted demeanor was instantly put to ease as a truly organic energy embodied the entire venue. Not even making it to the front of the stage, I became undividedly intrigued.
Elder Grown, a band composed of seven masterly skilled artists (John Hoffman, Josh Hoffman, Paul Hoffman, Josh Dikes, Brandon Clark, James Mirabel, and Sam Kelley), have grounded their prominence in the local community and are undeniably uprising in the most humblest of manners. Starting off with the rejuvenating tempo of “Rolling Thunder,” the band contagiously had the crowd captivated from the very beginning. Interweaving a mix of classic rock guitar riffs with a harmony that nearly bled soul, it was inevitable that nowhere, other than the dance floor was the place to be. Continuing their set with “Anything but Novice”, the band took an electrifying approach. Paul Hoffman on the drums and Josh Dikes on the mic, both simultaneously flowed through multi-syllabic rhymes, which progressed smoothly into a sax infused bass-line. This complex and well thought out piece only gave validation that although this band is uprising, they are truly anything but novice. As I proceeded to watch the rest of their set, I couldn’t help but become mesmerized by the versatility of talent and the mere passion that transmitted from the band. With each song, each member would transition to another instrument and position in the band, reciprocating a truly organic sound and idea that is unparalleled from anything I had ever seen.
Leaving me with a profound admiration, Elder Grown were sure to pave the way for what Dopapod had to offer. The four piece band (Eli Winderman, Rob Compa, Chuck Jones, and Scotty Zwang) originating from Boston come traveling with the complete package of intricate instrumentals, spacey guitar licks, and a prominent light show. Introducing their set with “Present Ghosts”, an aurora of vibrant LEDS beautifully complimented the vigorous break downs and build ups, ultimately leading to an unmatchable closing guitar solo by Rob Compa. During the middle of their set, the vibe took an unexpected, yet bewitching turn with “Nature’s Psycho.” With an almost foreboding chorus, I couldn’t help but become completed enthralled in the heavy bass and dark temperament of the melody. Wrapping up their set with “Upside of Down,” this track transcends into a mellow down tempo beat, laced with soothing harmonics and tantalizing guitar riffs.
As the final set came to an end, I became enriched in an unimaginable sense of gratification as I looked around at the crowd, everyone collectively feeding off the same high. I knew that the communal admiration for the talent that transpired over the course of the night, embed timeless memories and surely validated many peoples’ newfound dedication to these uprising artists.
All photos by Bryanna Klinske for Compose Yourself Mag