March 14th, 2018: Sorority Noise with Remo Drive and Foxx Bodies at the Marquis Theater
Foxx Bodies, a band from Los Angeles, was the first opener for the Sorority Noise concert on March 14th. The lead singer, Bella Vanek, was a fairly small woman with a scream I did not think could come from someone that size. The first song opened with what sounded like slam poetry and then shifted into shouting expletives and crazy gestures. The first couple songs, I was surprised more than anything because I wasn’t expecting something so explosive to emerge from what appeared to be a quiet group of people on stage. Vanek’s voice reminded me of some mid-80’s punk rock singer but her outfit and gracefulness reminded me of a tough ballerina. She could go from this soft and broken-sounding tone of voice in one song to this loud, boisterous, vengeful figure in the next.
I spoke to Vanek after the show about the way she conveys emotion on stage and how it was truly nothing I had ever experienced in a live show. Vanek explained that she wanted to be an actor her whole life which is where the theatrics came in. The actual emotions on stage, however, stemmed from when she was twenty years old and she turned in the teacher that had raped her. “I hadn’t realized how much I hadn’t processed about the three years of my life that included him” she said, “I quickly found out many details that led to my immediate hatred of him and his wife.” Vanek then listed off the music and literature she divulged into during that time. Music by Karen O, and books by Patti Smith, Miranda July and Amy Poehler are just some of the few Vanek listed off saying, “I saturated myself in strong women.”
While the performance itself didn’t spin this exact tale on stage, the audience could feel the authenticity and rawness from just beyond the stage.
Sentiments like that are something that you can only convey that well if you have felt it as frequently as Vanek does. Bands like Foxx Bodies make showing up a little earlier worthwhile when you are delivered more than just music. In Vanek’s words, “I take every single piece of this story on stage with me every night,” and it certainly shows.
Piling onto the stage next was four fairly tall guys from Remo Drive starting their set with three words; “Weed is tight!” before rolling straight into their first song, “Art School.” I was already excited for them to play because their music is loud and noisy and seeing them live could only make those expectations amplified. They played all three of their newest songs from Pop Music which was released on March 8th. “Blue Ribbon,” from Pop Music, was instantly requested by the crowd once the words “… from our album Pop Music” came out of lead singer, Erik Paulson’s, mouth. The moshing began quickly into Remo Drive’s set accompanied by quite a few high-kick’s from Paulson and just generally a lot of flailing of limbs on and off the stage. Paulson’s vocals are normally in a higher range but as most bands realize when they hit high altitude, it can get a little rough. About midway through their set Paulson signaled what song they were heading into and after a round of cheers from the crowd he responded with “Cool, all of you can help sing along then!”
There was also a moment where a stagediver got on stage and tried to hug the bass player, Stephen Paulson. After the song finished, Stephen reminded the audience of the importance of respecting personal space while politely thanking the man for trying to hug him before getting back to the music.
Remo Drive finished their set with the song “Yer Killing Me” from their album greatest hits, which got the whole Marquis pretty rowdy, to say the least.
After announcing their plan to go on hiatus for a little bit, this show felt a bit more special than previous shows I’ve attended. Sorority Noise is known for their depressing yet powerful and occasionally explosive music with lead singer, Cameron Boucher. He appeared to be a fairly soft spoken guy when he comes on stage and sings his songs with such honest emotion. The album You’re Not As ________ As You Think, released last year in 2017, was obviously a mentally tolling one especially for Boucher. Boucher described losing close friends to suicide in a multitude of songs on the album like in “Disappeared,” which sounds like this normal upbeat song but describes finding out his friend Sean died.
The album in itself was beautifully written but in a way that brings you to tears of sadness instead of joy. A lot of their music was like that live as well as people scream-singing the words to “Car” from their newest album or to “Blonde Hair, Black Lungs” from their 2014 album Forgettable that quite literally ends in the lyrics “and I’ll die,” over and over again. An emotional rollercoaster of a show is one fairly accurate way to describe it, and while some songs were mosh-inducing and insane, others remained calm. Songs like “First Letter From St. Sean” entailing the death of his friend Sean and how it affected him caused most of the crowd to sway slowly, some even began to tear up. The Marquis was flooded with a chorus of voices accompanying the slower ballad sung by Boucher.
This concert by Sorority Noise did feel more important to me than the last one I experienced because of their impending break once this tour comes to an end. The reasoning behind the time off is due to a multitude of side projects as well as some well deserved mental health breaks. That being said, Sorority Noise’s final show in Denver for the foreseen future was even better than I could have hoped it would be with two very fitting opening acts accompanied by plenty of moshing and emotionally sound performances.