Last Thursday I was hypnotized by a performance from local band Rubedo.
Colorado is a musically rich and artistic state; from the Art District on Santa Fe Drive to the various venues and local acts, there is always somewhere in Colorado to connect to your inner artist and musician.
One of these great places is Unit E, a gallery, recording studio and venue located on Santa Fe Drive. It’s smaller in size, but that doesn’t stop it from being a radical local hot spot for music and art.
I’d never been to Unit E until last week. I was blown away, both by the sound system and the musical performance. The band headlining their Jan. 24 show was local act Rubedo.
They classify themselves as “psychedelic alchemical pop rock,” which is fitting considering “rubedo” is a term used by alchemists in the process of creating a philosopher’s stone (a way to achieve immortality, for those non-Harry Potter and Fullmetal Alchemist fans).
Rubedo is a trio, but during their Thursday performance were fortunate to play with keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens, most famous for playing with The Mars Volta and Jack White. Owens’ interesting combination of jazzy and disordered playing melded perfectly with Rubedo’s psychedelic sound.
The band played for hours, blessing the crowd which was cramped shoulder-to-shoulder with groovy beats that literally shook the place. Seriously, the floor of the venue was bowing with the weight and movement of the crowd.
To put it simply, Rubedo knows what they’re doing. The energy of their music is similar to the power of a symphony orchestra made up of hundreds of musicians, except they captivate the same musical story with only a few instruments.
I can’t remember the last time I heard a band, on the mainstream or local level, that was able to evoke such emotion in its music. Being a fan of instrumental acts like Animals as Leaders and East of the Wall, I felt the same power behind the music with Rubedo, only they were able to add perfect vocal harmonies and lyrics to the mix.
Every moment of the performance tore into the chest of audience members, stealing their hearts. Having never heard the band before, I was completely taken aback that such a magical ensemble existed in Denver.
For anyone looking for a band to carry their mind away from the real world on a cloud of vivacious sounds and metaphysical lyrics, Rubedo is the band you’re looking for.
It is venues like Unit E and bands like Rubedo that make me content to be part of such a musically and artistic state.