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Loving, the indie alt rock group, has been a familiar favorite of mine for years now. Their unique rock n’ roll mixed with melancholy style was a delight to listen to live. As is usually the case, arriving early comes with its perks. Upon arrival I was allowed to watch both Loving and their opener, Sam Burton, rehearse their sets, giving an exclusive peek behind the curtain. Both groups had a style that needed to be uniquely tuned in, including the precise reverb of the acoustics. To which the HQ’s technicians were happy to fine tune. The energy of the venue was - new age rock which included a bar, “llama” vending machine, and of course a disco ball. 

Opening the show was Sam Burton, joined by Haylie Hostetter as backup vocals, Noel Friesen on keys, Pierce on drums, and a special appearance by Loving’s own Jessie Henderson on Bass. The ragtag group of musicians performed covers along with originals by Sam Burton. The group kept the vibes calm and rhythmic sticking with the theme of the night. A few songs of which were led by Hostetter, which gave a new presence to the audience as well as performers. Burton’s style is a mix of alternative and underground folk, which soothed the crowd as they patiently awaited the main act. 

When Loving entered the stage, you could feel the ambition in the room. With a floor and bar filled with amped fans, the group was ready to rock. Although the band only has two albums currently released, this didn’t stop them from keeping a rotation of emotions throughout their set. The band even gave those at the show, a glimpse into an unreleased song titled “Uncanny Valley”. Their ambient instrumentals juxtaposed with existential lyrics is why I love Loving. Their mellow and almost nostalgic backing track seems to always show intentions of a relaxing, blissful song, yet upon further investigation, this could not be further from the truth. Looking into songs like “Nihilist Kite Flyer” and “If I Am Only My Thoughts” (both off the album of the same name), one can begin to understand that the group’s music is far from cheerful. It in fact packs a unique punch of that of an existential crisis. 

As the closing of the show grew nearer, fans demanded more. They would not leave empty handed. Loving returned to stage to perform one of their most popular tracks “Visions”, which to be completely candid, I had to put the camera down to fully appreciate the beauty of this song, which I was magical to see performed live. Yet, Loving wasn’t finished, and neither were the fans. The group concluded the show by bringing Sam Burton back to stage to perform one last song. Loving along with Sam Burton and friends, are groups to look out for as their new releases seem to continue to spread their influence and their unique, one-of-a-kind sound. I can tell you without a doubt, they deserve a listen. 

Kade McKenna

Photojournalist - Denver

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