Local icons 888 returned for a stop in their hometown on Friday at Denver’s Marquis Theatre. The alt-pop three-piece first started gaining momentum in 2015 by winning 93.3 KTCL’s Hometown for the Holidays contest, and ever since then, they’ve been busy on a national scale. Friday’s show marked the start of their second tour of the year, following one with Missio in the spring.
“Gold" was an example of the kind of juxtaposition 888 have mastered in sound. It is the ideal pop radio hit, but not formulaic in the way that some top 40 songs can be. Instead, it feels like a much needed moment of honesty about the uncertainty that comes with trying to find a place in the world. Such underlying fears were explored even further and with a more melancholy overtone in “Creepers,” which came out less than a month ago and was great live. Of course, the trio also played their hit "Critical Mistakes," the song that arguably gave them their start on a national level.
The Rocket Summer began his impressive set soon after 888 ended, and played over 20 songs to fans. Ten years after the release of his record Do You Feel, Bryce Avary is still going strong. His choice of what to play Friday was undoubtedly a culmination drawing from his entire discography, and even included songs that he had never been done live before.
As evidenced by putting “So Much Love” near the beginning of his performance, Avary is uncontainably joyous about being a musician. This really showed in his interactions with the audience, who were as much a part of the show as him. After playing on a platform in the middle of the crowd, Avary made his way back upfront via crowdsurfing. In between songs, there were moments on the setlist specifically designated for him to talk with the audience. And rather than a preset encore, he asked the crowd what we wanted to hear before finishing with a few fan favorites. One of those, called “Brat Pack,” came from 2005’s Hello, Good Friend and was a seriously popular throwback that was crazy to hear live.
The Rocket Summer with 888’s tour wraps up in less than two weeks on August 29th at Arizona’s Crescent Ballroom. Make sure to catch a show while you can, and in the meantime, check out both acts recent releases on Spotify.
All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.