Itchy-O at Red Rocks

Dry your tears, sweet maidens, for your Gentleman has returned! Ah, the weather in Denver was absolutely lovely last week, and I’m feeling blessed to have missed out on all the rain y’all had. Moreso than any of my other trips out to the first Mecca of Marijuana, I got the chance to explore and enjoy the city this time. I love the Denver vibe. The city is so much more spacious than DC and as a result, people seem a lot more relaxed. No crowds of power walkers downtown during the weekday, just folks ambling comfortably between office and cafe. I feel like I can talk to people easier than I can here, as the proximity to the West Coast raises the bar of acceptable crazy to where I can comfortably limbo my way under. Speaking of crazy, let’s talk about the show I caught at Red Rocks, Itchy-O!

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is breathtaking. I smoked a Pineapple Express Bubble Joint (flower + bubble hash, $20) before I called for my ride, which was an impressively smooth smoke with above average potency from recreational dispensary Local Product, a highlight of my previous trip that happily turned out to be three blocks from my hotel. From the moment I arrived at Red Rocks, I wanted little else but to enjoy the majestic scenery of the place. I’ve never been to a venue like this, carved out of a damn mountain with all the pieces still lying about. You could see Denver proper in the distance, its tall towers so small and pointless against the endless blue sky. I saw two deer on the drive up to the parking lot- big freakin’ deer. Not the cute, scrawny ones we have around here. They were jacked, bro.

The stairs up to the entrance were literally breathtaking. After climbing this great height in the thin mountain air, my lungs begged for a few minutes to collect themselves. In between gasps, I saw security was wanding folks down. Shit. I had also brought my Olio StrawNana Vape Pen with me, assuming I could get it into the concert. That thing was $75 (+ $10 for the battery) and I wasn’t inclined to toss it out. After vaping the whole thing, I can say I wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was their Live Resin, which was awesome. You can find a comparable vape for cheaper. Anyway, I pretended to tie my shoe so I could shoved the vape pen in a crack between a metal recycling bin and wall to be picked up later. My friend told me later I could have just hid it in my shoe. Wish I had thought of that.

It was almost time for Itchy-O, who were opening for a screening of The Last Jedi, so I grabbed some concessions and made my way to a seat high up in the back. I had seen pictures pictures of their fifty-odd ensemble all dressed up like space mariachis on stage, so I figured it’d be an interesting performance. I had performed my diligence and listened to the album they have up on Apple Music, so I was expecting a hard rock kinda jam band. I don’t really like jam bands with their dumb songs that go on forever with no point, I don’t even like it when the Foo Fighters jam on stage. I want my songs clipped to the commercially acceptable four minutes with bridges and chorus and possibly Nelly rapping, please, thank you very much, next single.

Itchy-O’s masked members piled out on to the stage, their star sigil hoisted on banners by women in black burkhas. When the massive band was assembled, a dude with a keyboard strapped to what looked like a proton pack from Ghostbusters stepped to the front and began screeching a violent manifesto in the insectile language of the Elder Gods while the masked women fawned over him, exalting him before the audience. This…was not what I was expecting. My Renfield’s mark pricked in the presence of the unholy and my stomach roiled. A young boy, one row in front of me, clasped his hands over his ears. ‘This kid,’ I thought, ‘has the right idea,’ so I took my pizza and headed for the back of Red Rocks, the smoking section, and was able to finish my meal with the volume heavily dimmed.

With a full stomach, I was steeled to face the Evil below. Thankfully, the lead screecher was finished for the night. The rest of it was, like, half a dozen percussionists with pageantry. It was hard to hear anything that wasn’t all the drums beating, amplified in unison. A pair of Chinese dragons joined the stage and I decided it was time to get a closer look. The steps at Red Rocks are placed too far apart to sprint down, so it took a few minutes to descend safely. By the time I got there, the Dragons were dancing among the crowd, along with the Fawning Women, Nightmare Centipede balloons, and dudes with fog cannons. Between the masked men firing off mystery gas and the Inquisition torturer banging a giant drum against the wall in the back, I naturally began to consider the odds we’d all be murdered by the band in ritual sacrifice to Baphomet. At a mere 5%, it seemed worth the risk for me to hang out, cuz Itchy-O was rockin‘.

I enjoyed Itchy-O’s music more than I thought I would from the first five minutes. I don’t think they were an appropriate act for an all-ages audience, but I can see how they’d be really popular with the prog-metal set. Red Rocks was amazing, though, and I’m definitely looking forward to my next show there. But, like, Gin Blossoms or something.

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