One of my favorite Denver venues is the Marquis. Granted, one needs some pretty serious ear buds to block distortion if seeing a show there, the vagrants patrolling the outside can be annoying, and there isn’t a ton of room to sit down, but the pizza is always a welcome treat in between bands and a music buff can’t ask for a more intimate setting to enjoy a band. So it was with much enthusiasm that I embarked on a Wednesday night to see TTNG (short hand for “This Town Needs Guns”) last Wednesday.
TTNG was the third of four bands and had a set that didn’t disappoint. Featuring many tracks from 18.104.22.168.0 and Animals, hard core fans found their favorite tunes (“Catfantastic,” “26 is Dancier than 4″ and so forth. I would have loved to hear “Wanna Come Back to My Room and Listen to Some Belle and Sebestian,” but we don’t always get what we want, do we?). But for someone with only a cursory knowledge of TTNG’s music, I found myself as impressed as the hardcore TTNG fan I saw the show with.
For starters, a math rock show can be difficult for a casual listener to follow: by it’s very nature, math rock is somewhat inaccessible. Many times, math rock bands have to thread the needle of staying true their complex natures but at the same time creating music that is catchy. TTNG are master knitters, in this sense. Rather than using chorus as the hook for many of their songs, TTNG relies on looping guitar riffs that weave their way in and out of songs to create a sort of hook. And between songs, lead singer Henry Tremain provides witty banter and crowd interaction to keep the crowd engaged and enthusiastic.
In short, TTNG is a group of astounding musicians that can make difficult, demanding music accessible and enjoyable for the layperson. Catch their show next time they are in town.