In small, graffiti-covered room in the basement below the Garment District off of College Avenue and Laurel Street sat four Fort Collins musicians late Monday night, practicing into the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The group, 20XIII (twenty thirteen), practice for their title defense of KBPI Best Band in Denver in the basement of the vacant building, which they rent from local philanthropist Patricia Stryker for $200 a month.
In the relaxed, creative atmosphere, almost sanctuary-like, speakers kick on, reverberating sound around as the four take to their individual instruments.
Eye contact and subtle movements key transitions from guitar solo to scream as each song looks as if it is performed to a large crowd, not a secluded basement with three audience members.
The band will perform for a relatively larger crowd at 8 p.m. Saturday at Eck’s Saloon in Lakewood for the semi-finals of the Denver rock radio station’s competition.
‘Jump during this part, or you’re not in the band’
Three years ago, 20XIII guitarist Mike Shamrock moved from Virginia with the “hope to create a wonderful, wonderful band.”
Everything changed, however, a year later with a click of button and a log in to the social networking site MySpace.com.
“It took me a year to find this guy,” Shamrock said, pointing at drummer Brandon Hess.
They’re unsure who found whom.
“All I know is I had been trying to find an existing band or start one, hanging posters in music shops. Ironically, we met through MySpace,” Hess said.
“I had a song written when we first practiced together, and by the end we had three songs written,” Shamrock said. “We pieced it together, and it just clicked.”
Next to fall in line was vocalist Pete Harvey. Shamrock, who saw Harvey performing in another band, said he doesn’t “steal people,” but said he “planted the seeds.”
“They didn’t sprout for a long time,” Shamrock said, referring to the time it took for Harvey to take his bait.
And with Harvey came his roommate and lifetime friend bassist Ian Jones.
“We had always said we wanted to be in a band together,” Harvey said. “We’ve been playing together since middle school.”
“They told me you’ve got to jump during this part, or you’re not in the band. And I jumped,” Jones said.
A unique name
According to the band, 20XIII was the best choice on the list potential for names the band came up with. And as their music repertoire expanded, the name stuck.
“The whole date of 2013 had a significance,” Harvey said. “2013 is considered The Truth by some. “
Harvey said he believes the underlying meaning of the name will come to fruition in the years to come, saying it’s when the “government releases certain files” or when people will have a “conscious mind shift and the world will end.”
And as Harvey relayed this message to one Collegian reporter, his bandmates stared.
“He really gets into it,” Hess said, grinning.
“Everyone who dies and goes to heaven is supposedly 33 years old. No matter how old or young you are when you die, you’re 33 years old in heaven,” Harvey said, adding, “We didn’t think about that when we picked the name though. It’s all coincidence.”
The band hopes that as 2014 and 2015 rolls around, they’ll keep the name because it will be a landmark.
The Best Band in Denver
Don’t call 20XIII normal or typical. The metal/rock band quartet defends itself with it’s individuality and unique style.
“(Hard rock) is typical. It’s mindless lyrics followed by verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break down and then the end of (the song), and it’s something stupid,” Harvey said. “But we totally break that barrier. Some of our songs don’t even have choruses.”
Harvey said the band emphasizes the need for cohesive elements in its songs, blending the guitar licks with the drums and vocals. Often times, Harvey tries to distance himself from mainstream radio rock in his lyrics.
“I refuse to sing anything that I don’t like and half-ass something or sing anything cheesy that is something I would hear on the radio,” Harvey said. “I listen to some songs on the radio and think, ‘This is the worst thing I’ve ever heard.’”
Much like its music, the band does not like to hold back with its live show, which is often full of energy and spirit, Harvey said.
“We’re definitely our own entity, our own spirit,” Harvey said. “I can definitely see people looking at us and taking a thing or two from it, thinking that is the way to go. We don’t hold back that’s for damn sure.”
“Like Pete always says, if you come to the shows and don’t like the music, you’ll at least walk away entertained,” he said.
Their energy caught the eye of current band manager Jeremy Michael, who also goes by Jrock.
“I really saw something in them that made me feel like they had the potential,” he said.
The band, whose album dropped in May, has been making waves in the music scene in Fort Collins, which Harvey calls “more funky music oriented, more acoustic rock,” and in the Denver music scene.
On Saturday, the band will defend it’s title of Best Band in Denver, which it was awarded last year by Denver radio station KBPI-FM.
“We’re hard rock, and since we won KBPI’s Best Band, I’d like to assume we sound like some of the stuff they play,” Harvey said.
For information about the band and show times and location go to http://www.myspace.com/2013rock.
Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.