On Saturday, Colorado’s own psychedelic power trio Cycles made their debut headlining performance at Denver, CO’s Bluebird Theater. Fellow jam bands Goose and Spyscraper handled the evening’s opening duties, allowing fans to loosen up and shake their bones as more and more faithful Cycles fans filtered into the historic Denver theater.
Cycles has wowed crowds across the country since their inception almost four years ago. The band formed in May 2015 when Patrick Harvey (guitar), Michael Wood (drums) and Tucker McClung (bass) decided their tasty basement jams were more than ready to rock the stage. After recording two EPs in the band’s basement, the Denver-based trio continued making leaps and bounds in the enormous national music scene that is within constant evolution, releasing their full-length debut album, Vacation, in 2017.
Cycles opened up their monstrous set of music with an experimental debut cover of Black Moth Super Rainbow’s “New Breeze”, allowing the sold-out venue to settle in with the breezy avant-garde tune. Patrick Harvey’s signature opening “Oh Whale” lick rang out as Tucker McClung stepped forward to the mic, taking the vocal lead. The fan-favorite “Game Show” was up next, with drummer Michael Wood laying down a snappy groove, quickly locking in with McClung in a tight-knit rhythmic pocket. Harvey proves night-in and night-out why he is one of the most impressive and fascinating guitar players to watch perform live, and at this point, there’s no need to prove anything after his performance on Saturday.
A roaring Harvey guitar solo led way to a trancey take on “Float Above It All” before the trio moved forward with “Something In The Water”. McClung is a force to be reckoned with on bass, as he slapped away at a hard-hitting foundational groove. Beyond his speed and agility, what sets Harvey apart from many of the jam scene’s favorite guitar players is his cleverness and brilliance with the use of his effects and pedals. Harvey let it all hang out during Saturday’s “Something In The Water”, laying down free-flowing jazz licks, before looping them at different speeds, and then throwing them back at the crowd in a reverse-effect.
In the midst of a bluesy cover of King Crimson‘s “21st Century Schizoid Man”, Harvey broke a guitar string, allowing McClung and Wood to have some fun with a drum and bass jam. Harvey eventually made his way back into the mix with six strings and the band dove head-first into “Music’s For Free”, anchored by a hyper-focused Wood behind the kit. Harvey continued to dazzle the crowd with a series of explosive, ever-evolving peaks, and the three-piece continued with the same vibe as they moved forward with “The Ball”. It’s surprising Harvey didn’t break another guitar string, as the wizard shredded “The Ball” apart with tenacity and enthusiasm.
Cycles kicked things up a notch above with “Tucker’s Pet Weed”, Harvey laying down a heavily distorted guitar riff leading into the song’s main theme. The dark and heavy jam led the way for the band to take a brief pause and catch their breaths before McClung dove into “It’s About That Time’s” bubbly bass groove. Wood quickly caught onto McClung’s groove, allowing Harvey to take the lead and progress his way through a colossal jam. McClung and Wood took a second opportunity to flex their chops with a drum and bass jam, igniting a full-fledged dance party at the raucous sold-out venue. The rock show continued long past midnight, as Cycles brought their set to a halt with explosive takes on “Figure It Out” into “The Lone Stranger”.
The Cycles boys had some theatrical fun as they opened up their encore with “The Martyr”, which featured Wood solo on piano, McClung on vocals and water-kazoo, and very special guest Clay Volpenhein on lead vocals. The crowd erupted with applause as the trio found their way back to their normal stage set up, bringing their firey-hot performance to a close with “Get Out Of Your Head”.
With less than four years under their belts, Cycles’ rise to the top has just begun, and it’s in your best interest to get out and catch one of their live performances the next time they stop through a city near you. A “cold” or “off-night” is nonexistent in Cycle’s cyclical world, so buckle up your bootstraps and expect high-octane jams in the months and years moving forward with this genre-bending band.
Cycles – 2/2/2019 (Full-Show Audio)
[Audio: The Space Fish]
For a full list of Cycles upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, head to the band’s website.
Setlist: Cycles | Bluebird Theater | Denver, CO | 2/2/2019
Set: New Breeze+, Oh Whale, Game Show, Float Above It All, Something In The Water, 21st Century Schizoid Man > Broken string Drum and Bass Jam, Music’s For Free, The Ball, Tucker’s Pet Weed, It’s About That Time, Drum and Bass Jam >, Figure It Out > The Lone Stranger
Encore: The Martyr*, Get Out Of Your Head
+ Debut (Black Moth Super Rainbow cover),
* Wood solo piano featuring special guest Clay Volpenhein and Tucker on vocals and water-kazoo)