“We’re not fucking Gwar,” cracked Speedwolf frontman Reed Bruemmer, laughing as their Wolf mascot adorned in Broncos regalia poured another bucket of water on the heads of the front row. Not Gwar, or any other imitation, that’s for sure. This was Speedwolf through and through - raw power chomping at a packed house following a five-year hiatus. I don't think Gwar or any other band could have perched the crowd on the precipice of insanity the way Denver’s beloved did last Friday night. The crowd teemed at the stage’s edge the entirety of the show. This town has fiended for this reunion for years, and the fire was bright in their eyes. In the midst of the band’s “Denver666” finale, the charged-up mass overtook the stage entirely.
Now, following up Speedwolf on a festival headlining spot is not a position to covet. It takes a special group of maniacs to successfully deliver such a follow up. Had their been any lingering doubts that Saturday’s ender could would turn as loose the night previous - and I didn’t hear any - they were rapidly exhaled as Weedeater’s Dixie Dave growled out a quick sound check about crack rocks, fucking and whiskey. A few moments later, the 3 Kings stage was once again awash in sweat-soaked human.
Though Speedwolf and Weedeater closed out each night with a fury, the mania began early each day and rarely ceased. It was the relentlessness of the party, and the talent, that’s rendered it all such a blur. And by no means did 3 Kings have a monopoly on the hi-jinx. Not to get into too much detail, but R.I.P. incited a pair of brawls inside the Hi-Dive, Zeke sent the body-to-body room spinning into a speed-lusting frenzy, Malahierba joined last minute to stun once again, and the rap sheet rattles on… Apologies for being trite - but you simply have to be there.
The lineup for this third edition was built with Denver’s nation-leading heavy music scene as a cornerstone, with 15 or so Denver bands taking the stage alongside a smattering of Texas talent, as well as acts from both north and south of the border. In that regard, this was the most international the event’s been, both in terms bands and attendees. Continuing the trend from Year 1 into Year 2, the third iteration broadened in musical scope, including industrial crushers Echo Beds, Necropanther’s deaththrash, Zeke’s pedal-to-the-floor attack and so on.
This was also the first year to include a stage in the Mutiny Information Cafe, the famed South Broadway book/record shop. The third venue brought a slew of new angles to the table - staging for more acts, obviously, and an option for those eager yet under age, a change in venue aesthetic, life-saving cold brews, a new read or record for those taking back to the road, or just a comfortable place to rest and recover between sets.
In short, Electric Funeral III tore through Denver like a barroom brawl. Bodies were launched, soaked and bruised, rooms strewn with various items of clothing and beer cans, the floor mapped with puddles. Too long a drag on your IPA and you’d have missed it, left ogling scattered wreckage and wondering why you feel like the world’s largest pile of shit. But ease up, a good party will disorient even the most seasoned reveler. If you missed it, you can live vicariously through the Almighty Internet and vow to never do so again. If you were fortunate enough to be there, this rambling missive should jog your mush brain. Following is a selection of shots from the weekend. - MG
Photos by: Michael Goodwin, Sam Giles, Mitch Kline, Kate Streber
*More photos to be added to the gallery next week.