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Total Ghost at the Hi-Dive


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Since yours truly arrived in Colorado from Michigan, I have been looking for a place like the Hi-Dive. Theaters, arenas and all that jazz are all well and good, but for a region to stay musically vibrant it needs venues like this – awesome joints with a solid sound guy, salt-of-the-earth bar staff, a cool stage, a stinky bathroom and band-stickers all over everything. These places are vital for local bands not willing to play the pay-to-play game, and music lovers not willing to pay ridiculous prices to see live music on a regular basis. The Hi-Dive is a gem.S

On Thursday night, we showed up to check out Total Ghost, the German pop sensation electro group. We read fascinating things online and heard some fun tunes, and needed to see it on a stage.

Before those guys strutted their stuff though, local band the Natural Facts played a 30-ish minute set of trashy, sloppy, gloriously fun punk rock, inspired by the likes of the Jam, the Ramones and the Buzzcocks. In fact, they played a cover of the Ramones’ “Loudmouth” just to hammer the point home. This was the drummer’s first gig with the band, but the style is such that it didn’t really matter. The other two guys switched instruments halfway through, which made things interesting. Overall, a fun set – streetwise, obnoxious rock ‘n’ roll with the merest hint of a swagger.

And then it was time for Total Ghost. The joke, for those on the inside, is that these guys are actually from Denver, pretending to be German. Front and center is Chön, decked out in stars n’ stripes lycra shorts, a garish green muscle top and a wig that… well, just look at the picture. To his right is Biktor, looking the exact opposite. German cold splendor at it’s finest, Biktor comes across as the bastard child of Jarvis Cocker from Brit indie troupe Pulp and CBGB’s crowd destroyers Suicide.

To Chön’s left, stage right, is Gunter, a dude wearing a gold moped helmet and playing a keyboard that is smashed to smithereens by the end of the gig. This show is more an experience than a simple gig. The songs are superb, in a bouncy, anthemic, ludicrous sort of way. But the fun is in the show. At one point, they launch into the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” and then it clicks that they aren’t going to be playing it at all – they simply allow the original to spin, while jumping off the stage and dancing with the rest of us.

Chön never stops moving, like an explosion in Richard Simmons’ closet. Biktor plays the Kraftwerk-esque straight man to perfection, while Gunter, well, he does his thing. The combination is so, so much fun.

Author

Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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