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Craft Spells at Hi-Dive, March 23 2015 (Denver, CO)

Just because critics occasionally throw the term “bedroom pop” around when describing Craft Spells’ music doesn’t mean the band play sleepy shows. On a Monday night at Hi-Dive, the Seattle dream pop outfit did just the opposite for a near-capacity crowd of adoring fans.

Said fans did not keep their enthusiasm to themselves. Frontman Justin Paul Vallesteros was visibly surprised by the sheer level of adoration being hollered his way from the moment the band took the stage. After the initial shock the audience’s warm welcome wore off, the band responded in kind. All five members threw themselves into tracks from their most recent album, Nausea, their debut, Idle Labor, and one (“Still Left With Me”) from their 2012 EP, Gallery. The crowd devoured the cuts from Idle Labor, expressing major delight during the opening notes of “Party Talk” and “After the Moment.”

Vallesteros shared fronting duties with lead guitarist Javier Suarez, who chatted with the audience about his red and green guitar after a member of the crowd told him that it resembled a watermelon. He laughed and noted that “Watermelon Season” would be an excellent name for a record. (“I’d buy it!” someone yelled in response.)

The mutual love between audience and band was palpable, and the gig was a personal pleasure for both as a result. Halfway through, Vallesteros emphasized how much he was enjoying the gig. He thanked the crowd profusely. You could tell he meant it.

The band finished with “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide,” which leapt to its full potential free from the confines of its album. Drummer Brock Lowry had hardly emerged from behind his kit when Vallesteros approached the microphone once more and told the crowd – buzzing at fever pitch by this point – that he could muster a two-song encore. Next came “Scandinavian Crush” and a fiery rendition of “Ramona,” both triumphant crowd pleasers designed to close the show at its absolute zenith.

It worked. No one in the venue – band or audience member – left frowning.

From the Morning Heat
Party Talk
Your Tomb
Still Left With Me
The Fog Rose High
After the Moment
Breaking the Angle Against the Tide

Scandinavian Crush (encore)
Ramona (encore)

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Elle is a writer and art student based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter: @ellecoxon


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