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The Dream of the 90’s is Alive in Fort Collins


On their Instagram, local favorites Post Paradise share that their shows “…are a lot like church in the south. It’s how the town gets together to catch up with each other”. And nothing could be truer, given an impressive full house at Hodi’s in February for the group with other locals, Write Minded and The Hollow, helping to bring in the crowds. And if you’ve never treated yourself to a Post Paradise show, let me tell you, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Let’s start with the show opener, The Hollow. Something wonderful about The Hollow (and this is true for about almost all of the openers I’ve seen for Post Paradise thus far) is that they are not what you expect from an opener. Where along the way did “show opener” gain a negative connotation, anyway? I mean, Lynyrd Skynyrd was a show opener once upon a time. But suffice it to say that if you want to check out a group that makes you fall in love with rock n roll again, The Hollow is just what the doctor ordered.

The Hollow at Hodi’s Half Note

Playing tracks like “An Open Letter to Kim K” and “Cages” it was clear that this band would have been at the top of my list somewhere along my forgotten, rebellious youth. Who am I kidding; they’re finding their way toward the top of my list now. The energy that radiates from their stage presence makes you wonder what it will take for these guys to get noticed. Shredding, mostly performed by the group’s impressively talented guitarist Jonathan Michael Bray, electrifies any sized crowd and holds your attention. Front man Spencer Hughes, through his own impressive energy and talent, seems like he’s stepped through a time machine and, on the other side, rock music is still in its former glory. The bassist, Ethan Kotel, strikes you like the kind of guy who’d be a bassist, you know? Like he was meant to be in this band. Their drummer, Jason Hoke, formerly of The Epilogues, is shiny and new. And he fit right in exceptionally well. Humanity, enjoyment, and just good music…it’s all there with The Hollow.

The follow up performance from Write Minded was, I’ll admit, unexpected. But that’s my own fault, because unlike many regular Hodi’s-goers, I had never actually heard them before. I’ve paid attention to them gaining local traction and now I know why. Again, I was transported through time in the best, most nostalgic way possible. Write Minded throws together a large group of young men who can stir up piano, rock, ska, funk, and even rap and actually make it work. At times, they get close to sounding “bro-y”. But they recover, spitting out rhymes with rhythm and singing in a way that somehow reminds me of Fall Out Boy. And please keep in mind I don’t really “do” rap. I don’t usually jive with the lyrics or I just don’t find it original. Yet, every now and then, someone challenges my perception about rap. And to have that challenge presented by a group of young men from Fort Collins? Color me very pleasantly surprised. Throw in a trippy light show and you have a great time ahead of you.

That just leaves Post Paradise. Birthday boy and front man, Nick, was given a surprise when an impressive number of people showed up dressed just like him. That was when I realized the community support that must exist with these guys. Post Paradise has blossomed in the Fort Collins music scene to the point that they sell out shows and people turn out in droves to check in, give Amy a hug, and rock out until past midnight. And it’s no wonder; each of the members is talented, even the songs I know I still love to hear, and I can tell they’re having a great time. Amy, the group’s cellist, always appears like some divine angel of rock n roll, elegantly blasting out chords and progressions while iridescent halos of light jump around her. Nick, has a voice that, surprise-surprise, pulls me back to a decade I hardly remember. But, make no mistake, the styling of Post Paradise isn’t tired and old; it’s fresh and reminds me of the genre I used to love more.

And if I may confess, I have found myself struggling to embrace rock again. Don’t let my age fool you; my love for rock has always resided quite firmly in the 60’s and 70’s with minor deviations like Nirvana and My Chemical Romance. And although steady flag bearers of the genre like Metallica and Muse still produce great albums, freshness has been in short supply since the 90’s. And that’s keeping the brief renaissance from 2006 in mind.

It’s returning, this forgotten non-pop, non-indie genre. It’s being resurrected, refreshed, and you can find it in groups like The Hollow, Write Minded, and Post Paradise.


You can also catch our in-studio with The Hollow on our KCSU Music: LIVE In-Studio podcast, available on iTunes!