The Outfit
Gig Seeker Pro

The Outfit

Denver, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

Music

Press


"The Outfit: Tough Kids (album review)"

The Outfit has recently debuted their five track EP, titled Tough Kids, and it is available for purchase via iTunes or the band’s website. After listening to their first single, “Ceasar,” which is all rock-out indie I wanted to hear more and see if they can continue with the budding hype in my ears. Upon listening to the full release, especially “Projector,” I have become an Outfit follower. Singer/Guitarist Eric Johnston produces a Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) or Caleb Followill (The Kings of Leon) type of sound but still maintains his own. This is indie garage band phase at its best! Don’t let my love for the “garage band phase” fool you into thinking that these guys are mediocre musicians - they are far from it! Buy the EP (it’s only $4.95 cheapos), check out the aforementioned website, and listen to “Ceasar” and see what you think? I think you’ll find that The Outfit is the outfit of choice when wanting to feel like a bad ass. Alright, I’ll make it easy, click here for the soundcloud link to the EP’s single “Ceasar.” - Bite Me! Music + Fashion


"Moovers & Shakers 2013"

Someone had to come along and write infectiously upbeat rock songs that don't insult the listener with a lack of significant content. Enter The Outfit. Like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, The Outfit offers up songs that speak to an archetypal American experience with great energy and psychological insight, making the personal universal. - Westword / Village Voice


"A Night of Amazing Denver Music (Live review)"

These guys were a big thematic change from Sawmill Joe before them and The Lumineers after. They had a sound that felt a bit like 80s infused pop rock and they fucking owned it. Their songs were filled to the brim with catchy basslines, driving drums, and guitar riffs. It all worked together in this beautiful mixture that created an incredible and unique sound that raised the energy level of the crowd and got everyone moving.

These guys had a ton of presence too, from the moment they stepped on stage they took control of the room and didn’t relinquish it until their set was over. I liked everything that they played. It was during their set that I realized that the sound problems that I’ve experienced at recent Bluebird shows didn’t seem to be present. Now that may have been due to my proximity to the stage as I was right next to it, but still everything felt more balanced. The vocals were clear and the instruments were at a level that allowed for an enjoyment of the song as a whole. It always felt to me, at past Bluebird shows, that the most egregious offender in the over micd area was the drums. They were always just too loud and would drown everything out. That wasn’t the case here. The drums were there and they were driving and powerful but they were just a portion of the whole. I’m not sure what changed but it was very nice.

I’ve really got to give some props to The Outfit’s bass player too, the basslines in their songs were catchy as hell and it’s really rare to see a bass player shine so much in a band. They were all very good but it felt like his bass created the direction and feel for every song.

The different feel of their music created an interesting counter point to the other acts but it did so in the best possible way. The energy they brought to the stage and the crowd was the perfect opening note for The Lumineers and I really feel like they built on the show as a whole and made it just that much better. - 52 shows at 5280


"The Outfit at Larimer Lounge, 8/24/13 (Live review)"

The Outfit saved one of its best songs for late in the set, and the sparkling urgency at the beginning of "What Happened To You?" perfectly framed the song's poignant lyrics, which were inspired by a chance encounter Eric Johnston had at a school library a few years back, overhearning an interview with an Iraqi war veteran. The guys brought a palpable amount of energy to the song, making an already engaging performance even more so.

With thirteen original songs in the set, the Outfit covered a lot of ground, playing nearly a half dozen songs from its latest effort, Tough Kids, along with three from Broken West Wishbone Test, and the act even dusted off "Bricks" from the its debut EP from 2009. On this night, even the older material seemed to benefit from a near reinvention performed with this lineup. Tunes that might have received a more tentative treatment on earlier albums got a boost of confidence here without losing the more thoughtful undertones that give the songs a bit of depth.

Certainly the guys gave it their all for this performance, but you felt like there was a kind of unspoken understanding informing the songs, conveying the various struggles people deal with and sometimes even triumph over every day, like something Bruce Springsteen conveys or Tom Petty might have penned. The Outfit has a different songwriting style, of course, but it had similar effect. This was especially apparent in the way the band played the new EP's title track, "Tough Kids" with lots of bluster and verve but also with a feeling of solidarity.

Someone identified only as Dr. Music came on stage for a few songs during the set to play keys/synths, and that extra layer gave those songs an atmospheric depth. After the end of its main set, the band came back and played a couple of covers, including a version of the Hot IQs' "Twos and Threes," on which guitarist Mikael Kilates, already incredibly impressive the rest of the show, absolutely shined on the solo.

Kilates teased a bit of the final song of the night on his guitar, but even that did not quite prepare us for a full blown, spot on, un-ironic cover of "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. Before that, Johnston told us that he and Mike King had gone into a building once and saw something that wasn't right; he didn't elaborate, and they both asked, "What the fuck was that?" Then, he told us, they went to write that song. It was an appropriately light-hearted joke to a set of songs that were charged with emotional highs, even as the subject matter was very serious. This is certainly a key to the band's appeal. - Westword / Village Voice


"The Outfit at Larimer Lounge, 8/24/13 (Live review)"

The Outfit saved one of its best songs for late in the set, and the sparkling urgency at the beginning of "What Happened To You?" perfectly framed the song's poignant lyrics, which were inspired by a chance encounter Eric Johnston had at a school library a few years back, overhearning an interview with an Iraqi war veteran. The guys brought a palpable amount of energy to the song, making an already engaging performance even more so.

With thirteen original songs in the set, the Outfit covered a lot of ground, playing nearly a half dozen songs from its latest effort, Tough Kids, along with three from Broken West Wishbone Test, and the act even dusted off "Bricks" from the its debut EP from 2009. On this night, even the older material seemed to benefit from a near reinvention performed with this lineup. Tunes that might have received a more tentative treatment on earlier albums got a boost of confidence here without losing the more thoughtful undertones that give the songs a bit of depth.

Certainly the guys gave it their all for this performance, but you felt like there was a kind of unspoken understanding informing the songs, conveying the various struggles people deal with and sometimes even triumph over every day, like something Bruce Springsteen conveys or Tom Petty might have penned. The Outfit has a different songwriting style, of course, but it had similar effect. This was especially apparent in the way the band played the new EP's title track, "Tough Kids" with lots of bluster and verve but also with a feeling of solidarity.

Someone identified only as Dr. Music came on stage for a few songs during the set to play keys/synths, and that extra layer gave those songs an atmospheric depth. After the end of its main set, the band came back and played a couple of covers, including a version of the Hot IQs' "Twos and Threes," on which guitarist Mikael Kilates, already incredibly impressive the rest of the show, absolutely shined on the solo.

Kilates teased a bit of the final song of the night on his guitar, but even that did not quite prepare us for a full blown, spot on, un-ironic cover of "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. Before that, Johnston told us that he and Mike King had gone into a building once and saw something that wasn't right; he didn't elaborate, and they both asked, "What the fuck was that?" Then, he told us, they went to write that song. It was an appropriately light-hearted joke to a set of songs that were charged with emotional highs, even as the subject matter was very serious. This is certainly a key to the band's appeal. - Westword / Village Voice


"The Outfit: Tough Kids album release show (Live review)"

In the two years since The Outfit released Broken West Wishbone Test, the Denver band focused their skills on honing in a fresh new sound. Their hard-hitting, garage-rock revivalist sound has become popular among music fans around the city, and in the not-to-distant future. The Outfit is sure to break out in the indie world soon, but before that happens, the boys had a party to celebrate the release of their new album, Tough Kids.

On Saturday, Aug. 22 The Outfit nearly destroyed the Larimer Lounge stage.

Front man Eric Johnston grabbed the microphone and thanked the crowd for making it out as he announced, “We’ve got a few tunes for you guys and it’s gonna get sweaty in here.”

The rest of the band slowly crept on stage behind drummer RJ Powers powerful drum roll. Johnston and bassist Mike King quickly got in sync with one another as King jumped around the stage like modern day Sid Vicious at a Sex Pistols concert. Johnston’s passionate songwriting skills were on display as he poured his heart and soul out behind each and every lyric.

The title track to their debut album, “Tough Kids” is a Dinosaur Jr.-like sounding track full of distorted guitar riffs and a steady stream of hard-hitting bass lines. The track picked up steam as guitarist Mikael Kilates took and completely destroyed the solo (in a good way).

Powers nearly lost his drumsticks on the track, “Station Wagon Apocalypse.”

The hardcore early ‘00s-like rock anthem was a Strokes/Walkmen sounding track that had everybody’s feet moving. Johnston brought the heat as the fire-fueled lyrics and guitar licks echoed through his Fender Jaguar guitar.

About half way through the set, the band invited someone who goes by “Dr. Music” to join them on stage. Dr. Music took to the keyboards after a quick parade around the stage, reminiscent of Bernie Worrell’s onstage antics with The Talking Heads. The muffled and lyrical progression from King and Johnston echoed over the keys as Dr. Music slowly morphed into Dr. Jekyll. The darkly lit room was a rather dank environment for such a passionate party taking place. The band played for a little over an hour as Johnston climbed on top of a stage speaker to play a rip-roaring solo. In the process of doing so, he managed to knock over a microphone — which created a distorted feed back noise as an added bonus.

After ripping down a whiskey shot, Johnston almost fell over saying, “you guys want one more?”

The Outfit came together for one last song before exiting the stage.

Fans screamed and begged for more chanting, “eight more songs, eight more songs” as the band slowly crept back on stage. Kilates teased a familiar guitar lick that came out of nowhere.

Ray Parker, Jr.’s theme song to the 1984 cult classic “Ghostbusters” was played in a punk rock, spot on kind of way.

“I don’t think anyone was ready for that,” said Cameron Phillips.

Phillips, a Denver native, was ecstatic on how the evening turned out. “All three bands did an incredible job of rocking out tonight.”

The cult classic was the perfect way to end the night as Johnston thanked everyone for helping them make the evening so special. - The Metropolitan


"Denver's new tough crowd premieres their new EP, talk bullies, textiles, threads, & tunes."

With attention in recent days, months, and years fixated on Denver, Colorado's DIY electronic undergrounds, it would be remiss to overlook the mile-high thriving indie rock scene that lies beyond Rocky Mountain National Park. Meet The Outfit, who premiere their songs about neighborhood kids, empirical kids, stuck-up kids, shy kids, self-conscious kids, rough kids, royal kids, and more off their upcoming Tough Kids EP-streaming with us in the following exclusive.

Courses of change in the face of time create a Rocky splitting sound that causes an avalanche to make even the most giant of egos reflect and weep on, "What Happened To You". The emperor-esque held esteems and independent empire commanding, "Caesar" is the extended player's big single designed with big emotive high risers, paired with the song's key sparse bass from Mike King and Mikael Kilates' guitar that both play off RJ Powers' heartache in a heartbeat percussion. Lead singer and guitarist Eric Johnston evokes the feelings of a cold day in Colorado where the indoor warmth is fostered by him and the band, in between the memorable accusatory finger pointings like, "you take, you take, so give it back," that stay with you like the closing refrain of "you animals," that catches up with you hours after listening.

The title song takes a time out to salute heroes of the cool, cutting edge, and trending off the neatest and newest waves on "Tough Kids". Johnston, Kilates, King and Powers have a knack for ear burrowing entities that affects and appeals through a synergy of sound, chord progression hooks and memorable lines. The trick lies in the manner of relaying those thoughts of envies past and present that are related through Eric's impassioned repeated delivery of "I was nothing, you were always something new." Keeping that energy fresh, "Projector" keeps it pushing with self observations displaced away from personal evaluation and acknowledged through the perceptions and perspectives of others, "I see myself, through their eyes." From the shred fest of overt self-conscious concerns over what other people think, the EP closer "El Presidente" reasserts and reassures all that The Outfit rocks to the style of their own threads and self-appointed lead processionals. Mike's bass steals the show in time to RJ's 4 quarter count, as Eric again encapsulates the band's ethic in the succinct-but poignant chorus phrasing of, "I don't want to, walk behind you."

We caught up with guitarist-singer Eric Johnston to talk about The Outfit's new EP, the raddest places around Denver to get outfitted, the aesthetics and politics of how to dress like you want, the band's formidable foundings, bullies, tough kids, and tougher kids.

How did you all come together in Denver as a band?

Well, the band has transformed a little since first getting started. I am the only original member left but I believe the band has found a good balance. The members in the band are RJ Powers [on drums] Mike King [on bass] and Mikael Kilates [on lead guitar]. I sing and play some rhythm guitar. RJ started out as the third guitar player but is an insane drummer as well. When our first drummer left he jumped in and we really didn’t miss a BEAT… Yikes. Mike saw us play at one point or another and when we sent a message out looking for a bass player he came in and blew the doors down. Then we got a hold of Mikael. He is originally from the Philippines but when he heard how much money we couldn’t pay him he rushed to Colorado and I think he’s going to school or something. I think there is a power that comes when you’re making music with guys as talented as this and I am pumped we all landed in the same boat.

What is the story behind naming yourself, The Outfit?

We stole that name from a band that is currently performing under the moniker “The Knew”. We were talking about band names one evening and they told me they were originally going to call themselves “The Outfit”. I said “That’s a pretty dumb band name.” I then excused myself from the conversation, ran home and wrote “The Outfit” down multiple times on a sheet of paper, like a girl in middle school who is in love with the weirdo sitting next to her.

Are you all big into textiles and apparel?

I think every member has a different take on the subject. Personally, I think fashion and clothing is all about confidence. You look at David Bowie or Jack White and you know they are untouchable because they are confident. The Outfit needs clothes that can be covered in beer and taco sauce and still hold up, functional.

As a band “The Outfit” is very into the local Denver scene. We all have local band t-shirts that we wear often. I have a shirt from the band Hindershot that has gone through the wash 1000 times. If I’m feeling like I need to step it up there are a couple stores that - Impose Magazine


"The Outfit puts together a smart new EP"

It's been roughly two years since the Outfit last put out an album. During that time, the band's current members — singer/guitarist Eric Johnston, bassist Mike King, drummer RJ Powers and lead guitarist Mikael Kilates — have been developing their sound, going from its earlier, highly promising indie pop to something grittier, more focused and powerful; the results can be heard on the act's new EP, Tough Kids. As a lyricist, Johnston offers insightful observations about everyday situations and the human condition. We sat down with him recently and discussed the new EP, whose release is being celebrated at the Larimer Lounge this weekend.

Location Info
Map data ©2013 - Terms of Use

Larimer Lounge
2721 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80205 Category: Bars and Clubs Region: Downtown Denver Photos
20 user reviews
Write A Review

Powered by Voice Places
Details
The Outfit, with FaceMan and Gun Street Ghost, 9 p.m. Saturday, August 24, Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street, $10-$12, 303-733-0230, 18+.
Related Content
The ten best shows in Denver this weekend
August 23, 2013
The Outfit at Larimer Lounge, 8/24/13
August 26, 2013
Broncho at Larimer Lounge, 8/27/13
August 28, 2013
Video: See suspects in Colfax-Broadway shooting that locked down State Capitol
August 16, 2013
Reader: When it comes to fracking, state officials are like strippers
August 9, 2013
More About
Eric JohnstonLarimer LoungeScott McCormickVisual ArtsArts, Entertainment, and Media
Westword: You have an interesting story behind the title of your new EP.

Eric Johnston: I was walking down Colfax and saw all these kids from East [High School] walking around, and I started thinking about evolution of character: how people become the people they are, and the choices they make, and how terrible middle school and high school and early college is, and how these parameters of who this person is and who that person is starts to dissolve. Then the "tough kids" start to disappear, and everybody starts to be seen as human beings.

It's just so interesting to me how everyone does that at their own pace. All the tough kids and the nerds — all that fades away, but it's so prominent during these formative years in our lives. I think that's what makes that time super-awkward. I wanted to explore that process of evolving your character and the choices that affect that.

Scott McCormick did the surrealistic artwork for the EP.

Scott is constantly inspired. When I met up with him to talk about what the artwork should look like, he would draw, rip that page out, lay it down and start drawing again. He had, like, twelve ideas in five minutes. We had this idea of a party that is, at least visually, being interrupted by this abstract scene of this elephant and this girl and everyone ignoring it. I didn't want it to play too much into the idea of "the elephant in the room"; I wanted it to be more about the artsy people in high-rises who don't go to local shows. Even if they love a band, they won't brave the Larimer Lounge. I find it interesting how long it takes for people to think certain music is good enough for them.

Presumably you didn't have an actual elephant in this picture.

[McCormick] did his best; he was throwing elephant rental prices at us. He's crazy. He'll do anything to make his vision come to life, and I think that's super-rare.

I can't say enough about Scott. He's easy to work with, and he'll really go to bat for you when it matters. - Westword / Village Voice


"The Outfit aims to please with their EP Tough Kids."

Denver’s The Outfit put out a pretty solid EP last year, which was a follow-up to their 2011 debut Broken West Wishbone Test. This newest EP is titled Tough Kids and the music live up to that name. Band members include Eric Johnston (vocals, guitar), Mikael Kilates (lead guitar), Mike King (bass), and RJ Powers (drums). Johnston is the only holdover member of the band from The Outfit that recorded their debut – it’s safe to say that The Outfit is Johnston’s project. His new mates have led to a grittier sound on Tough Kids, which does the band well.

The five-song EP begins with the groovy rock song “El Presidente.” I was instantly reminded of Franz Ferdinand when I heard this the first time and that comparison holds up over repeated listens. Johnston sings of sitting in someone’s shadow with a low growl that fits nicely with the tone of the music. “El Presidente” leads in to the high-energy “Projector,” which has more of a punk feel to it. This track and the next one, “Tough Kids,” channel Kings of Leon in a way but turn that band’s script on its head. While Kings of Leon are typically lacking in couth and self-awareness, The Outfit is self-demeaning and needy. The common thread among the three tracks are that they rock pretty hard. Good stuff.

The EP rounds out with two more solid efforts. In general I found Tough Kids to be engaging and accessible with straightforward rock. That mainstream sound makes it a safe bet for most listeners. Denver may be still smarting because of the Super Bowl debacle, but if the city’s music scene is reflective of The Outfit’s work, they have plenty to be happy about.

Key Tracks: “El Presidente,” “Projector,” “Tough Kids”

Artists With Similar Fire: Dinosaur Jr / Franz Ferdinand / Kings of Leon

-Reviewed by Matthew Heiner - The Fire Note


"The Outfit, featured in Syntax"

"All of life can be seen to be a choppy cacophony of stops and starts, vibratos and seemingly meaningless melodies – but sometimes, magnetism pulls at the arms of the world and suddenly you find a center, a torso, a body. A band. For while The Outfit figures to be lead by their charismatic lead singer, Eric Johnson – the band is a tightknit conglomerate of songwriters and musicians – all equally hungry for making music and blowing the doors off of every venue they play, with their punchy, raucous sound and charming lyrical whirlwinds.

Very young, the members of The Outfit have some green behind their ears. But in all honesty – watch them on stage and you will feel the agelessness of time and music and ambition. On stage, The Outfit is a torrent of tight, taught emotion. They only break for quick breaths between songs before launching into another of their severe hanging weather patterns. Physically, the represent their songs with honest, big emotion – certainly, rock stars in the works." - Denver Syntax


"The Oufit’s debut full-length album, Broken West Wishbone Test, is an all-out rock ’n’ roll party"

The Oufit’s debut full-length album, Broken West Wishbone Test, is an all-out rock ’n’ roll party. From the undeniable “Strange Bones,” which seems destined for college radio stations nationwide, to the slow burn of closer “Out Of The City,” this debut might turn some heads even outside of the local scene.

Bringing together high-energy punk rhythms and guitars with vocalist Eric Johnston’s baritone crooning—similar to that of The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas—The Outfit has some solid rock chops and just enough pop panache to make its music accessible to a mass audience. The band plants its feet firmly with the first four tracks, which are sizzling with attitude and action. Where The Outfit really seems to shine is on the slower tracks like “Old Riot,” or on the built-up explosiveness of “Cold” where Johnston brings a little falsetto to the party.

Broken West Wishbone Test has hooks, solid beats, and surprises enough to keep anyone interested. (See the tinge of slide guitar on the Old West ballad “Black Horses” for one example.) Despite a few filler tracks, The Outfit has put out a solid collection of tunes with some great production to boot. While it might not end up on any of this year’s best-of lists, BWWT is just about as strong a debut as anyone could hope for from one of Denver’s up-and-coming bands. - A.V. Club


Discography

The Outfit EP (self-released, 2009)
Broken West Wishbone Test (SFP Records, 2011)
Caesar SINGLE (self-released, 2013)
Tough Kids EP (Hot Congress, 2013)
Station Wagon Apocalypse SINGLE (Hot Congress, 2014)

Photos

Bio

From the burgeoning music community of Denver, Colorado, The Outfit offers an earnest take on garage rock revival, championing straightforward, back-to-basics pop songwriting with unapologetic sincerity. Their guitars chime and hum with undiscerning admiration toward both new and old schools of rock, as clever melodies and energetic rhythm section propel the songs with a youthful excitement.

BANDS WE'VE PLAYED WITH

The Lumineers - Dr. Dog - The Appleseed Cast - Atlas Genius - Nico Vega - Yukon Blonde - Jezabels - The Dear Hunter - The Lovely Bad Things - Dax Riggs - Cave Singers - The Knew - Night Beats - Dinosaur Feathers - Colour Revolt - Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground - FaceMan - The Photo Atlas - OBrother - The Fling - Dear and the Headlights - This Providence - Accordion Crimes - The Chain Gang of 1974 - Air Dubai - The Henry Clay People - The Dig - Milagres - and many more...

Band Members