Brett Dennen wows Boulder at Macky Auditorium

CU has been very lucky to have had many great acts appear at Macky Auditorium, including Dmitri Martin and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. On Saturday night, it was Brett Dennen’s turn. The California pop singer graced the stage after two great opening sets by Kyle James Houser and Denver-band Places.

Slowly moving his lanky frame onstage, Dennen sang a touching version of “Ain’t Gonna Lose You.” With a somber chord base, Dennen slowly finger-picked at what stayed an incredible level of intensity, despite the low overall volume.

Brett Dennen performs at Macky Auditorium on Saturday night to an audience of 1,200. (CU Independent/Patrick Fort)

The set continued with “Darlin’, Do Not Fear” and “Make You Fall in Love With Me.”  Taking time to introduce himself and the rest of the band, Dennen spoke to the audience.

“I thought there would be more snow,” jabbed Dennen.

A member of the audience shouted, “Let’s go to A-Basin, Brett!”

In his Colorado-appropriate flannel shirt, Dennen replied, “First chair, brah?” which elicited laughter from the audience. After this interlude, the rest of the musicians counted off the introduction to “Must Be Losing My Mind.”

On a rare night when the Macky Auditorium was not at capacity, Dennen still managed to own the attention of the some 1,200 attendees, both in their seats and on their feet. Strutting around bare-footed, he spoke with individual audience members on numerous occasions from his perch onstage.

Dennen continued his set with a balance of songs from all three of his full-length albums.

One highlight from the night was the performance of “Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog).” A thumping kick drum enticed the audience to clap along before the introductory guitar riff began but was interrupted by Dennen who told the audience to “get the tempo right first.” Finally, when the song truly began, the jumping guitar lines danced around one another as the crowd sang along to one of Dennen’s most popular songs.

Last summer’s smash hit, “Sydney (I’ll Come Running)” finished off the main part of the set to no one’s surprise. The live version increased the energy of an already bubbling studio track. The crowd joined Dennen and the rest of his band in singing the song’s soaring chorus, a fitting end to a great night.

Dennen returned a minute later to play a solo acoustic encore. Playing multiple songs from his album “So Much More,” Dennen silenced the crowd with his incredible live vocals. For the final song of the night, the rest of the band came and accompanied Brett to play a stunning version of “When You Feel It, You Know.” The performance reached a wonderful six minutes and sent the multi-generational crowd into the night satisfied.

Dennen kept the crowd out of their seats and lived up to the standard he has set with his past performances and the fantastic pop music he has created in the past years.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Patrick Fort at

Patrick Fort

Patrick Fort is a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a studies journalism and communication. He referees ice hockey, plays music and will accept any MarioKart challenge. Contact CU Independent Audio Director Patrick Fort at

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