The great thing about seeing a show at the Moon Room is the venue’s intimacy, and that was definitely the case when Dustin Kensrue kicked off his US headlining tour in Denver on Tuesday night. The evening was filled with fulfilled song requests, jokes and banter between Kensrue and the crowd, stories about his family, and of course, great music.
The first band to take the stage was the Austin, Texas group, The Rocketboys. It’s worth noting that on top of opening up for Kensrue, the group also served as his backing band later in the night. Having never heard of the group before, but knowing that they would be playing with Kensrue later in the night, I assumed that their performance would be great, and I’m happy to say that I was right. As soon as the first song of the night kicked off, it seemed that The Rocketboys had the attention of just about everyone in the small, sold out crowd as well. The Rocketboys’ sound was spectacular, the vocals sounded phenomenal and vocalist Brandon Kinder ended their set by jumping off the stage and singing in the crowd before finishing by standing on a bar stool for the whole crowd to see.
With such a great opening performance, the night was full of promise, and the following act, David Ramirez did not disappoint. Despite the fact that a full, energetic band started off the night and Ramirez was simply a man and his guitar, none of the audience seemed put off or bored (thank god) because only seconds into Ramirez’ performance, they were hooked. Many of his songs were carried by smart lyricism and gorgeous vocals, earning quite a few screams and whistles from the crowd. It was hard to take your eyes off of the stage as Ramirez cranked out track after gorgeous track, chatted casually with the crowd in between songs, and even took a song request at the end of his set.
After David Ramirez left the stage, though, it was the moment that everyone had been waiting for. While the first two performances of the night were spectacular (Kensrue did great job choosing the perfect openers for this tour) it was apparent that much of the crowd was there to catch the Thrice frontman on such an intimate stage.
Kicking off his set with the first track from his new album, Carry The Fire, Kensrue started his performance off right, earning the full attention of everyone in the crowd. There was no talking amongst the crowd during “Ruby,” or the following song, “Back to Back,” and it quickly became apparent that everyone was giving Kensrue and his band their full attention. A few songs in, and Kensrue was joking that he had only played his songs with The Rocketboys a few times prior to the show, and while it earned a few laughs from the crowd, it was impossible to tell. Kensrue and the band sounded flawless together as they continued into the set.
Eventually, the band took a quick break, though, allowing Kensrue to play a few songs by himself. It was then that the crowd began yelling song suggestions (Thrice’s “Deadbolt” being shouted quite a few times, naturally) and to the crowd’s excitement, he took a few of them. One of the requested songs that Kensrue decided to play was a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” which he admitted that he didn’t know all of the words to about halfway through, earning some help from the crowd. Kensrue’s solo performance was peppered with fan favorite songs, such as “Please Come Home,” Thrice track, “A Song For Milly Michaelson” and even a gorgeous cover of Lorde’s “Buzzcut Season.” By the end of the night, and by the time The Rocketboys joined Kensrue back on stage, the crowd was left feeling fulfilled. And, to top the night off, as soon as his set was over, Kensrue jumped off of the stage and immediately started shaking hands, hugging and taking photos with his loyal fans, providing them with a night that they won’t soon forget.