In just its second year in existence as a four city national event (Denver, Portland, Philadelphia, Atlanta), the barley-pop funded Project Pabst has quickly cemented itself as one of the hottest tickets in each town it lays it Laser Horse inspired hooves. Always an eclectic lineup, in its brief run Project Pabst has consistently boasted a mix of both established and upcoming acts spanning myriad genres from Tame Impala, STRFKR, Violent Femmes, FIDLAR, Duran Duran & Iggy Pop to A$AP Ferg, Danny Brown, K. Flay & Big K.R.I.T. to name but a few; and this year’s Denver date served only to stoke the already vibrant fire within our Ninja hearts. It was yet another excellently curated day in Denver’s hipster bastion of the RiNo neighborhood, and we’ve got plenty to dish about the second Denver Project Pabst date.

As always, the day kicked off sprightly at 2:00 p.m. behind a choice segue into the beautiful day with a frenetic performance from Chicago indie rock outfit Twin Peaks. In a rather short span beginning in 2013, Twin Peaks have rapidly evolved from a hectic, sloppy group of teenage rockers into a firmly polished five piece with the ability to command a stage with the best of them. Twin Peaks cycled primarily through fare from LP’s Wild Onion and Down in Heaven including staples like “I Found a Way”, “Making Breakfast” and “Holding Roses”, but more than made sure to satisfy their diehards as well with a few cuts from debut long player Sunken. With the day’s first performance under our belts, it was time for some $3.00 PBR and a jaunt to the other end of Larimer Street for a little slice of scuzzy L.A. rock duo Deap Vally.

Read Our Entire Project Pabst Review After the Jump!

Deap Vally, who find themselves coming off of another worthy addition to their catalog in the form of long player Femejism, kept the afternoon energy high and mighty while breezing through their 45 minute set. If you closed your eyes, it would be easy to forget that the pair of Lindsey Troy and of Julie Edwards, who are able to weave together the sound and vibrant rock energy of a full four-piece, are just that: a duo. Witnessing just the two of them absolutely rip apart a stage, it’s clear the twosome have a special energy together. Deap Vally managed to captivate a steadily increasing number of attendees during their performance, continuing to solidify their reputations as a live act not to be missed for even a moment.

It was time for a PBR refuel or two, as unforunately Chicago female MC Noname had to unexpectedly pull out of the festival for uncited reasons. In their place was one of Denver’s fastest rising troupes Montoneros (read our premiere of their last single “Not Now, Not Never” here). As we had just seen them inside of functioning festival venue for the day, the Larimer Lounge, a much needed, cigarette-fueled brief respite was in order before perhaps the day’s brightest spot: STRFKR.

Never ones to disappoint in a live setting, STRFKR, who are coming off of the superb 2016 album Being No One, Going Nowhere, strolled out equipped with an army of astronaut hypebeasts who sailed the seas of the crowd on inflatables that even Steve Aoki would have been jealous of, while shooting confetti bombs aplenty. Of course, while that was all a nice accoutrement, it was obviously STRFKR’s music that sealed one of our favorite performances of the day. Now almost a decade into the game, STRFKR strolled us through their beautiful early fare (yes, yes, they played “Rawnald Gregory Erickson”), plenty of the aforementioned Being No One’s singles (“Open Your Eyes”, “Satelite”, “Never Ever”) and even a piece from their Vault series in the form of “Basically”. After a very indie-focused beginning to the day, and as more and more concertgoers began pouring in to the city block, we were ready for a warranted shift into hip-hop church with Danny Brown acting as our Reverend.

What can we say about Detroit’s leading voice of hip-hop? Danny Brown has a way, and it was on full effect in Denver. Like a nasally machine gun, Brown emptied clips of ciphers into the attentive audience, shooting his time-shifting cadence straight into the ears of what seemed like the entire event’s populous. The vivacious crowd rapped along to some of Brown’s most powerful catalogical entries including fan favorites “Smokin & Drinkin” (watch the recap video at the bottom of this post if you want to hear it again) & “Grown Up” alongside glimpses from 2016’s amazing Atrocity Exhibition including “Really Doe” & “Ain’t It Funny”.

As the day’s clock struck 6:30 p.m., our attention fell towards former War on Drugs member turned prized solo-singer/songwriter Kurt Vile and his misfit band The Violators. Vile’s library has grown consistently and steadily since his breakthrough long-player Wakin on a Pretty Daze to 2015’s critical darling b’lieve i’m goin down, and his musical prowess and stage presence never has been as clean as we’d seen it that weekend. Vile and Co. strode tall above numbers like “Pretty Pimpin'”, “Lost my Head There”, “Wakin On a Pretty Day”, and “Air Bud”, which pulled mightily on this writer’s heartstrings in the process. As the sun began to set near the end of Kurt Vile’s performance and we were gifted with an even more subdued version of “Like Like This”, it was admittedly a bit tough not to get misty-eyed… Anyhow where were we?

It was onto the electronic maximalism of Phantogram‘s pop sound. While Phantogram have for years layed their stamp as perhaps the most notable U.S. electro-pop darlings turned mega stars, their latest offerings have fallen on wanting ears for this writer. While Three, the group’s last full-length has seen a large dose of more mainstream success, their earliest singles still hold as their best work, which was largely untouched by more commercial production and soundkits, and was on full display during their hour-long slot at Project Pabst. But let’s be clear, Phantogram have earned a reputation as stage generals during their ascension, and all of that presence was felt. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter played a lovely slot into the night, pleasing the cochlear cavities of all that were consuming their performance.

Perhaps the most raucous hour of the day occurred when N.W.A. gangsta rapper turned star of the thrilling RV drama Are We There Yet (c’mon, we had to), Ice Cube played the set everyone was hoping for from the hip-hop legend. Cube literally took us on a journey through his expansive, decades spanning catalog from N.W.A. staples “Straight Outta Compton” & “Fuck The Police”, to some of the 90’s biggest singles including “Today Was a Good Day” and “Put Your Back Into It”. It was a highlight finish to yet another epic, cheap-beer fueled day in the Mile High City, and we can’t wait for yet another year of debauchery.

Check out Denver’s event recap video below, and be ready for Project Pabst’s next three dates to round out this Summer. Project Pabst’s flagship event, the Portland weekend will be held on August 26th & 27th, while the event will touch down in Philadelphia on September 16th, and Atlanta on October 7th. Until then….

All photos courtesy of Matthew Reyer / Black Tuesday.

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