Crying on the Rocks: The Ten Best Indie Shows at Red Rocks in 2016

The ten best emo shows coming to Red Rocks this year. Are those ponchos for rain or tears?
The ten best emo shows coming to Red Rocks this year. Are those ponchos for rain or tears?
Eric Gruneisen

Summer is almost here, and this season at Red Rocks Amphitheatre promises plenty of opportunities for emotional catharsis with its sunshine and good vibes. Here are the ten best indie-rock and emotional (spanning many rock genres) shows coming to Red Rocks in 2016. Pack your tissues and a poncho for your tears — it's going to be quite a year. 

10. The 1975
with Wolf Alice and the Japanese House
May 2

The 1975 has the hashtag #grunge market on lock. Just kidding! The 1975 is about the slickest, synthiest band of U.K. hipsters you could find — but that doesn't mean its musicians don't bring the feelings. All jokes aside, 26-year-old London-born lead singer Matthew Healy is a complex man, drawing an enormous crowd of early-twenty-somethings who identify with him in the same way as they do with artists such as The Weeknd: He is willing to admit to uncomfortable inner realities that we don't necessarily talk about. And then turns the emotions into a catchy pop tune. 

9. The Head and the Heart
with the Tallest Man on Earth
August 28

The members of The Head and the Heart are no strangers to Colorado. I saw them for the first time at SnowBall 2011, and Charity Rose Thielen, second in vocals but first in America's heart, won the crowd over in a seriously emotional rendition of the band's highly used TV song "Rivers and Roads." Vulnerable and accessible: Love it, listen to it on repeat, and then break out your dancing shoes for some of THATH's more folksy-melodic tunes, like "Down in the Valley." 

The first time the Avett Brothers played the Rocks, in 2011, captured by Brandon Marshall.
The first time the Avett Brothers played the Rocks, in 2011, captured by Brandon Marshall.
Brandon Marshall

8. The Avett Brothers 
July 28-30

The Avett Brothers are the indie trio that KBCO listeners love, so much so that they have a three-night string of shows this year at Red Rocks. They've been christening the historic venue with Coloradans' tears since 2011, and always bring quite the eclectic crowd along with them. 

Crying on the Rocks: The Ten Best Indie Shows at Red Rocks in 2016 (17)
Photo courtesy of Crystal on Flickr

7. The National
With Real Estate
July 31

"Sorrow found me when I was young/Sorrow waited, sorrow won." The National is the dreamiest indie-emotional band to come out of Ohio since Hawthorne Heights. Red Rocks is for (tragic) lovers. 

6. The Lumineers
With SOAK and Sleepwalkers
June 7-8

The Lumineers are a controversial bunch in the eyes of the Denver music scene. Technically transplants to the area before they broke big, the members moved out here from the East Coast, as lead singer Wesley Schultz belts out in "Dead Sea": "I headed west, I was a man on the move/New York had lied to me, I needed the truth."

Continue reading to find out five more shows for crying on the rocks. 


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