There is nothing more conflicting in a music lover’s life than when they have to make a decision between something that most would find important (their health, for example) and a good show.
This was the dilemma I had to face at day one of the Monolith Festival as I stood shivering, soaked to the bone trying to decide if Of Montreal and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were worth the high probability that I would wake up with a runny nose and barking cough the next morning.
Unfortunately, common sense took over and I left the festival grounds at Red Rocks soaked and broken-hearted for the shows I would not get to experience.
That’s not to say the time that I did spend at the festival wasn’t worth it, because it most definitely was. After walking up what seemed like 50,000 steps, I finally reached the festival entrance and was greeted by the sweet folk acoustics of local musician Gregory Alan Isakov. The day was only just beginning, but the bitter pangs of frosty weather could be seen over the faces of most of the crowd as they wrapped themselves up in blankets, already dreading the impending doom that the sky of gray clouds promised.
Only when Thao with The Get Down Stay Down hit the main stage did the audience seem to really warm up. Singer/guitarist Thao Nguyen bounced around the stage holding a guitar almost her height. Wearing a tank top and jeans, she seemed to suggest to the crowd, “Hey, it’s really not that cold.” Audience members got up and danced, finally starting to get excited for what lay ahead.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were next on the itinerary. When a new group becomes one of the most buzzed-about bands of the year, they have a lot to prove live. Hipsters of all ages waited eagerly at the Southern Comfort Stage to see if the Pains could live up to all the hype. Luckily, they did.
With a sound that echoes bands such as The Smiths and Teenage Fanclub so perfectly, a rainy day was the perfect backdrop for the fresh band. Singer Kip Berman sang each word with an earnest delicacy and swayed along sweetly to the music, leaving indie fans sighing for more as the band left the stage.
The last performance that I made it to of the day was the one I had really bought the Saturday ticket for—The Walkmen. Unfortunately, this long-awaited performance coincided with the long-dreaded downfall of rain. Fans shivered around me waiting for the band to come on, with the single-minded goal of perseverance.
Every second of The Walkmen’s set made me completely content that I had stood in the rain for 45 minutes to keep my front-row spot. From set opener “On the Water” to the final note of their performance, the band blew everyone away.
Singer Hamilton Leithauser wailed through ever song with fervor and passion as the band played with just as much devotion in the foreground. While soaring through the relentless “The Rat,” the band’s triumphant performance matched the amazing natural surroundings that make up Red Rocks and proved to be nothing short of sublime.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jenny Gumbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.