El Ten Eleven Takes Flight with Performance at Washington’s
El Ten Eleven with Tennis System and Rat Doctor at Washington’s on Sept 20th
By: AJ Frankson
When going to a show, one has a certain level of expectation for the type of music that is about to be played. Arriving at the venue, you might quickly google the openers, and assume that their thrifted t-shirts and baggy ripped jeans confirm their parallel indie sound to the headliner. However, El Ten Eleven’s chill, experimental instrumentals were not mirrored in their very unique and contrasting opening acts.
The show started off with 5-piece local band Rat Doctor, bringing funky, upbeat vibes to Washington’s. Their undeniable chemistry was reflected in their tunes; the apparent fun they were having on stage led me to assume that hours of jam sessions eventually turned into songs. The bassist and keys player were really into the groove of the sound, and each musician’s part seamlessly came together for the song. As a local music enthusiast, this band definitely gave me faith in the Fort Collins local music scene, and they also got me to dance a little bit (…okay, maybe a lot).
The second band, Tennis System, took me by surprise when they fled the stage with intense energy at full force. The guitarist stole the show through his use of the entire stage; it seemed as though the whole world disappeared and he just fell right into the sound of the music, which prompted the audience to do the same. The drummer’s facial expressions brought even more character to the performance and translated it into the rest of his body; the full force of his emotions sent half a drumstick flying through the air at one point in the show. And of course, the lead vocalist and guitarist Matty T. sent chills down my spine through his solid vocals and well-written lyrics. Overall, their hard punk-rock sound was well done and a refreshing contrast to Rat Doctor. As today’s youth may say, Tennis System is truly a rockin’ sadboi band.
And finally, El Ten Eleven did not disappoint, bringing their steady, iconic electronic sound to the stage. A dynamic duo, Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty mastered their best songs with ease, and to put it lightly, absolutely knocked my socks off. On the left side of the stage, Dunn’s use of infinitely different-sounding pedals created more sound variety than I believed possible from one person in a single show. Not to mention his impressive guitar rack–the double neck electric blew me away. Fogarty’s simple, steady beats and experimental use of his imposing drum pad really brought Dunn’s sounds to life on the stage. As a long-time fan of their music, I was taken aback at their smooth expertise and thoroughly enjoyed the entire performance.
The crowd seemed to agree with me; the cheers and dancing for each group ceased to falter throughout the night. The steady trickling-in of people throughout the first half of the evening led to nearly a full house during the final performance. I am still playing El Ten’s latest release, “Banker’s Hill,” on repeat; it’s these types of shows that remind me of my adoration for good music.