The Photo Atlas

Artifice Bar, Aug. 10

With a truck accident on Interstate 70 turning the Denver-based band’s drive to Las Vegas into an 18-hour odyssey that included sleeping in a Burger King parking lot, The Photo Atlas had plenty of pent-up energy to burn. Three straight dance-punk scorchers into the foursome’s set, singer/guitarist Alan Andrews finally exhaled, “We’re very happy to be out of the van.”

The Photo Atlas blistered the stage with their Gang of Four-meets-Fugazi style, rocking hard and fast enough for the guys to head-bang, but with enough rhythm to get the ladies in attendance bouncing around.

Andrews, resembling a young Trent Reznor with his black, side-swept hair and all-black ensemble of tank top and cutoffs, delivered his high-pitched, frantic vocals as if someone were threatening his freedom. He also channeled his inner Bono, engaging the crowd with some fervent hand-clapping during the first song, and later standing tall at the front of the stage to lead a fist-pumping “Hey!” chant.

Guitarist Bill Threlkeld’s rapid-fire, angular riffs only increased the songs’ anxious urgency, while Mark Hawkins attacked his bass with a ferocity that left him shaking out his right hand after a couple of songs. But it was birthday-celebrating drummer Joshua Taylor who kept the high-speed train on the tracks, pummeling his high-hat with lightning-speed precision, and flying recklessly around his kit without giving up the groove.

The band members left the stage exhausted and soaked in sweat following their 45-minute rhythmic assault—a cathartic release before they climbed back into the van and headed to the next night’s show. ★★★☆☆

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In The Cure for Everything: Untangling Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Beacon Press, $25), health policy and fitness expert Timothy Caulfield explores and debunks research, crazes and advertising messages. He reveals why exercise, although critical for good health, is not the best way to lose weight, and that diet is 80 to 90 percent of the weight-loss equation. Most of us eat far too much, and don’t exercise at an intensity that’s high enough to actually increase our fitness level.

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