By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Crowbar, Tampa, Florida–July 26, 2017
When The Rocket Summer went looking for a compatible act to open their most recent tour, they couldn’t have found a better choice than Denver’s 888. While there is enough difference between the bands to avoid and confusion, their musical styles meshed quite well.
They started off the night with a bang, literally, a heavy bass-tom-tom beat that jarred the receptive audience to attention, and let them know it was time to get this party started! From another band, it might have seemed a gimmick, but it was highly effective and told Tampa that this was not just another opening band, but a band offering fresh sounds and attitude.
The band formed in 2015, but that’s deceptive, because the three – Danny Stills (aka Danny Stillman, lead vocals/frontman), Aaron Rothe (keyboardist/programmer), and Danny Cooper (drums, merciless beating) have been together since 2004, in the bands called Drop Dead, Gorgeous and Bleach Blonde. Though Aaron left the band in 2008, the three obvious kept in touch and have now formed 888. Musically,
the trio has ditched their metalcore tendencies for an infectious breed of radio-worthy alt-pop. It certainly seems to be working for them, as they won Denver station KTCL’s 2015 “Hometown For The Holidays” competition in both fan voting and live performance categories, cementing their place in Denver’s burgeoning music scene and garnering the attention of radio stations all across the country. 888 are readied to manufacture beyond their previous success with Drop, Dead Gorgeous and Bleach Blonde, with The Critical Mistakes EP situated to make 2017 their most prevalent year to date.
The crowd welcomed them enthusiastically, clapping and singing along, including to their new single, “Older Now.” available on iTunes and Spotify. They’re tour dates are mostly with The Rocket Summer this year, but there are a few dates where they’re playing without them. The double bill is great, but they’re worth seeing alone!
When not in custody, I've been involved with music, photography, and writing my entire life. Ever since I was a young boy and played those silver tunes, I've had the beat, but being a drummer didn't suit me so I became a lead singer, which lasted a few years. Settling down, sort of, I translated my knowledge of audio and glib tongue into mobile emcee work, and my training as a photographer and videographer into a living in the wedding, party, bar/bat mitzvah, and entertainment industry. During this time I also managed to bamboozle my way into a master's degree in writing, worked for a couple of magazines (yes, I took photos for a nudist magazine!), have photographed hotels, done commercial work (shot the cover of Tablet and Capsule magazine), published a few articles, hosted some public access shows (a couple times in drag, but that's another story), and generally made a nuisance of myself until I landed here.