As the ominous notes of the 1996 sci-fi comedy “Mars Attacks” poured out of the PA, it felt like a fitting omen for the night. Just as Earth was blissfully unaware of the insanity the martians would bring, the packed crowd at Cervantes did not seem to immediately appreciate what they were about to experience. As the theme began to fade out, the members of lespecial slowly took to the stage and seamlessly bled into one of their newest songs, “The Vessel”, to help kick off their first headlining set at the venue. The rattling bass settling into the rhythm felt like the band slowly setting a record needle, fitting into the groove that would guide the audience throughout the night. By the time the main synth riff comes in, the packed-in Other Side crowd was fully engaged with the hypnotic opening song, bobbing with each drop in the melody. Next up the band performed their biggest jam of the night as they elongated the intro to “Fruit Wolf Dance”, a tune which features heavy industrial guitar riffs that feel like a cross between KMFDM and Skinny Puppy. The song then bakes in some heavy dub drops, contrasting the two genres in a pleasantly filthy jam.
The band then took things down a notch with an instrumental and the second and more downtempo-influenced part of the “Donut Ghost House” couple. They followed this with another instrumental, the emphatic “Pentachronic,” which featured a flurrying loop-pedal intro. Eventually, the song segued into the thumpy Primus-esque opening riffs of “Jackwise”. This tune featured a brief dark-funk jam dripping with psychedelia before eventually twisting back around to the crushing opening riff.
At this point in the set, the band invited up Mom & Dad / Dopapod drummer Neal “Fro” Evans to lend a hand on drums. The band briefly teased a startlingly on-point take on The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” albeit with re-worked lyrics referencing Fro. Like any good magician, lespecial was using this cover as a distraction as they then hit us with a cover of “Mr. Oysterhead,” by the defunct super group Oysterhead, which of course featured Phish’s Trey Anastasio, Primus’ Les Claypool and Stuart Copeland of The Police. The cover was the most well-received of the evening, a nostalgia trip and a possible omen to the heavily rumored Oysterhead reunion. Following another quick stint in dark-funk territory with “The Funky Little Boys Are Back In Town,” the band then transitioned into what was clearly another crowd favorite, LCD Soundsystem‘s “Home”. The anthemic chorus soared over the crowd as they sang along to another cover by a since-gone legend.
After a brief pause the band then launched into the opening notes of “Sound That We Do,” another dub laced number with the band’s signature application of electronic sensibilities to their songwriting. A mixture of IDM and modern electronica with a refreshing penchant for infectious melody. The outro got quite abstract, deconstructing the melody to an almost indiscernible point before blending into the opening riff of the first part of “Donut Ghost House”. Following a brief jam which featured Break Science’s Borham Lee tearing it up on keys, the band then performed a stirring rendition of “Onlookers” in what felt an appropriate set placement, holding onto the crowd’s attention with a sincere performance, which featured especially stellar guitar work, before seguing into the instrumental “Snell’s Fleet”.
Following the duo of instrumentals, the band then re-introduced Fro except this time, he sat-in on guitar, performing a song off one of the band’s earlier albums “Omnisquid,” called “Pressed For Time”. It was impressive to see another side of the already celebrated percussionist. Fro then went back to drums, and the band invited up Ben Larroquette from Mom & Dad to lend his vocals and guitar for a ripping version of King Crimson‘s “Thela Hun Ginjeet”. The set then closed out with a brilliantly executed take on Primus’ “My Name Is Mud”. Anyone who caught the band’s Primus tribute set at last year’s Beanstalk Music Festival knows how capable the band is in covering the trash-funk pioneers; from the vocals to the other-worldly bass slaps, the band nailed every sonic detail of the original.
The encore then featured a supremely heavy mash-up of several polarizing figures in the metal scene. Starting off with the iconic riffs of Slayer‘s “Raining Blood,” the band set quite the fierce tone, trashing through the opening riff and then into the verse before playing off the stops to implement the opening riffs of Korn‘s “Blind,” a song revered for its intense build that peaks with the growling lyrics “Are you ready?!” in a satisfyingly cathartic release of energy endemic of the nu-metal genre. The tune then incorporates the first verse/chorus of Limp Bizkit‘s own ode to cathartic release, “Break Stuff,” before sifting everything togehter in the mash-ups signature style to take us all home.
Lespecial is a sonic amalgam of the 21st century music listener. Tangible proof that genres have transcended classic social structures and just become a part of who we are, no matter where we’re from. If you like Korn, The Police and Oysterhead, that’s awesome – there’s a good chance there are other people in the room right there with you. Lespecial is a celebration of that: Our ability to keep an open mind and to love head banging as much as we love getting down to a nasty bass drop. A celebration of music.
Lespecial | 2019-01-18 | Cervantes’ Other Side, Denver, CO
-= One Set =-
01. (Mars Attacks Theme)
02. The Vessel
03. Fruit Wolf Dance
04. Donut Ghost House II
05. Pentachronic >
07. (Fro Intro)
08. Every Breath You Take (The Police cover) >
09. Mr. Oysterhead (Oysterhead cover)
10. The Funky Little Boys Are Back Around ->
11. Home (LCD Sound System cover)
12. Sound That We Do >
13. Donut Ghost House I
15. Snell’s Fleet
16. (Fro Re-Intro)
17. Pressed For Time
18. Thela Hun Ginjeet (King Crimson cover)
19. My Name Is Mud (Primus cover)
-= Encore =-
20. (Encore Break)
21. Raining Blind Stuff (Slayer / Korn / Limp Bizkit Mash-up)
Show Notes: This was a headlining set. Mom & Dad and Turtleneck opened the show. The band’s intro music was the “Mars Attacks Theme” (Danny Elfman)(1996).
 “Every Breath You Take”, “Mr. Oysterhead”, “The Funky Little Boys Are Back Around” and “Home” featured Neal “Fro” Evans (Dopapod / Mom & Dad) on drums.
 “Donut Ghost House I” contained a “Paranoid Android” (Radiohead) jam and featured Borham Lee (Break Science) on keys.
 “Pressed For Time” featured Neal “Fro Evans” (Dopapod / Mom & Dad) on guitar.
 “Thela Hun Ginjeet” featured Neal “Fro” Evans” (Dopapod / Mom & Dad) on drums and Ben Larroquette (Mom & Dad) on guitar and vocals.
 “My Name Is Mud” featured Neal “Fro” Evans on drums and contained “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” quotes.
Thanks to Lespecial, Cervantes and FOH engineer Alon for supporting live concert taping. Go see live music and tip your bartender! #spacetapes