The only thing better than listening to a Los Lobos record is seeing rock's best performing band live. It's no secret why. The bandmembers play with a depth not often found in the slick, overproduced and overhyped world of popular music. Guitarists David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas provide a stunning counterpoint off of which the band bounces Mexican and American folk music, searing rhythm and blues, pure rock and roll and that sweet, undefinable something else that comes out in the slightly weird songwriting of Hidalgo and percussionist Louie Perez. Spun together as if in a blender, the resulting music comes out in a thick, rich puree of sound that sticks in your head long after the band stops playing. Los Lobos performs tonight at 8 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder; for tickets, $24.25, call 443-3399 or 830-TIXS.
"Mean" ain't the same as "meaningless," and that's the key to appreciating the pit-bull humor of Bobby Slayton, a razor-sharp comic whose brand of standup is rooted in Rickles, except that it's maybe a tad more ruthless. But there's something in the hyperactive entertainer's irritated timbre that speaks for all of us. Well, maybe it's the toxic, cantankerous side of human nature he speaks for--the part that's mad as hell and doesn't want to take it anymore. Sit back and relax and let Slayton seethe for you (and sometimes at you, if you happen to be sitting close enough for him to pick you up on his radar) at the Comedy Works, 1226 15th St., where he opens a weekend run tonight at 8. Slayton's evil eye and tongue reside at the Works nightly through Saturday; to reserve tickets, ranging from $11 to $16, call 595-3637.
There's a place for everything in Denver--at least that's what the members of Tir Na nog are banking on. The new Irish theater troupe is dedicated to presenting Irish works on local stages. The group's initial offering, Frank McGuinness's Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, is set in Beirut, but each main character--an American, an Irishman and an Englishman imprisoned by terrorists--embodies the civic nature of his native country, opening up the script to dialogue driven by nationalistic minds. The three eventually find common ground, but not without plenty of heated debate in close quarters. The play opens tonight at 8 at the Acoma Center, 1080 Acoma St., and continues Friday and Saturday evenings though April 11; admission ranges from $12 to $15. Call 623-0524 for information.
We've all got something to hide, eh? Not so for deported former Nederlander Tryvge Bauge. He's the guy who froze his grandfather's body and locked it up in a shed in the rustic Front Range town just up the road from Boulder. Bauge is still a no-show in Nederland, but that hasn't prevented filmmaker Robin Beeck from shooting Grandpa's in the Tuff Shed, a documentary about Bauge, the ice-cold, controversial dead guy he had to leave behind, and what the locals think about it. Beeck's final shoot, actually a party-down kind of event with Boulder band Chip and the Chowderheads, who wrote and perform the film's title song, takes place tonight at 9:45 at the Pioneer Inn, 150 E. 1st Ave., Nederland; attendees are invited to offer on-camera comments about Bauge and his grampie's cadaver. Call 1-303-258-7733.
When the Denver Center Theatre Company decided to stage Macbeth, director Anthony Powell had to come up with a way to put a fresh stamp on the classic. No problem for this wise veteran. His Macbeth, a spare piece of Shake-speare noir, casts shadows in all the right places, imbuing the spooky Scottish drama with a particularly medieval aura. And John Hutton, an actor of Scottish lineage, helps by throwing authenticity on the title role: He visited the ancient hills of Scotland, including the battlefield at Dunsinane, to help him get into character. See Macbeth in economy previews through Wednesday at the Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; the regular run opens April 2 and continues daily except Sundays through April 25. Tickets range from $22 to $33; for showtimes and reservations, call 893-4100.
The human fascination with clay goes deeper than mud pies and school projects. Maybe that's why the Colorado Clay Exhibition, put on annually at the Foothills Art Center, attracts our attention: From dust to dust (or muck to muck), clay inspires and entertains us. This year's exhibit, juried by internationally known ceramicist Paul Soldner, is a perfect example of the versatility of clay, featuring functional vessels, freestanding sculpted works and wall pieces made all the more interesting through creative glazes, finishes and firing techniques. The show, which opened last week at the center, 809 15th St. in Golden, continues through May 10 and makes a fine weekend art excursion. For details call 279-3922.
Though many would argue that the horn is the essential instrument in jazz, there's no doubt that the more orchestral piano, which provided an early basis for jazz-band arrangement, is nearly as, if not equally, important. As if to prove the point, pianist Marcus Roberts, classically trained yet influenced by Art Tatum, James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington and other figures in American music, will walk his audience through the Evolution of Blues and Swing tonight with only his keyboard and his fabulous chops to lead him. It's a lesson you won't soon forget. Catch it at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; for tickets, $18 to $23, call 786-7030.
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Apparently Victor Wooten never heard that the electric bass is an instrument reserved for frustrated guitarists who couldn't make the mark. Pish posh. Wooten puts that theory to rest with a fiery virtuosity and modernistic musical viewpoint: He's a killer on bass, plain and simple. Born into a musical family (brother Roy invented an instrument called the drumitar; he and Victor back new-grass banjoist Bela Fleck as the adventurous Flecktones), Wooten crosses the musical map with technical and intellectual ease. He'll appear in support of his second solo recording, What Did He Say?, tonight at 9 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder; tickets are $8.50. Call 443-3399 or 830-TIXS.
There's nothing like a night of Spanish flamenco to raise your heart rate to a healthy pounding, and no one does that better than Paco de Lucia, a guitarist who raises the fine art of strumming to a whole new level. Best of all, he does it with a melodic, passionate touch that cuts right to your soul. De Lucia sweeps into the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl., tonight at 7:30 with a sizzling sextet that includes singer Rafael Cortes and dancer Joaquin Grilo, who stamps onto the stage with all the flourish of a Lipizzaner stallion. Bring someone you love. Tickets are $23 to $32; call 830-TIXS.
African-American author Bebe Moore Campbell captured hearts twice in her previous novels Your Blues Ain't Like Mine and Brothers and Sisters. Now she puts it all together again for Singing in the Comeback Choir, in which a successful professional woman protagonist is thrust back into the run-down ghetto of her youth while trying to help her grandmother, an embittered former entertainer who never left the 'hood behind. Campbell reads tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; for details call 322-7727.
Sure, you never thought you'd need to see another segment of The Gong Show--buried safely in the deep, dank '70s--ever, ever again. But guess what? It's April Fools' Day, and everything you thought was true isn't--at least for tonight. Laughs, nostalgia and tons of bad taste are all on tap at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., where the April fools will be out with a vengeance, tap dancing, juggling, screaming and otherwise causing pain for a befuddled panel of celebrity judges that includes funny guy Bill Amundson, gallery owner Robin Rule, former Foreskin 500 member Diggie Diamond--and you. Admission is $5; call 322-2308.