Songbird Cellars has been hosting great music for a while and the urban-winery’s new space is no exception as Thursday night held a sold-out crowd to see Denver’s own Flobots. The energetic crowd was a diverse cross section of Pueblo’s music lovers. The show was particularly amazing as the group’s members had chosen Pueblo as the first stop of their new tour.
Opening act 2MX2, also from Colorado by way of Zacatecas, Mexico, after being waylaid by technical difficulties, got the crowd going with their Ozomatli-like mix of bilingual rap and catchy beats. Their positive lyrics were delivered at impressive speed, and they set the tone for the evening with a message of unity and tolerance.
Qbala, the second act, was a bit harder with unapologetic lyrics discussing her observations as a young black lesbian from Fort Collins. Her intelligent raps delivered with impeccable timing were accompanied by electric guitar riffs and synth beats that had the crowd energized and ready for the main event.
Promoting their brand new album, No Enemies, the six-piece band opened their high energy set with, “Cowboy,” a showcase for their signature vocals, haunting and melodic violin, and innovative twist on alt-folk-rap rock. Flobots show an impressive range of musicality and emotion, from serious to soulful to intense and heavy beats — all stops were pulled to achieve an outstanding level of socially aware music without being preachy.
In “May Nothing Disturb You,” a song written more than a year ago, they discuss events that are, perhaps, even more relevant to today’s sociopolitical climate. The biting commentary of “Mayday,” mixed with a hard hitting violin hook and the unique sound of the clavinet, shows that the Flobots are still heading in the right direction for promoting their message of kindness. It’s not just a front either — the entire group was on hand after the show to take pictures, talk about music, touring and Colorado, and just be awesome people.
In what turned out to be a four-song encore, the crowd was reminded of this message and its relation to the notion of freedom. Paraphrasing the band: freedom isn’t free, you have to work for it by practicing peace and kindness, it takes work. And yes, to the delight of the crowd, they played the 2008 hit “Handlebars.”
If you missed this amazing show you still can catch them June 10 at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs. You don’t want to miss it.