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. 

 

Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional? My inner emo kid just died of excitement.
Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional? My inner emo kid just died of excitement.
Brandon Marshall

5. Taste of Chaos Tour: Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday
with Saosin and The Early November
July 6

You can't have a crying-on-the-Rocks list without the most emo bands of them all— the just announced Taste of Chaos tour hits Red Rocks on July 6 and brings with it Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday. The performances will bring emotional chaos. As Taking Back Sunday puts it (so romantically), "You could slit my throat/And with my one last gasping breath/I'd apologize for bleeding on your shirt." 

Brand New plays Coachella 2015.EXPAND
Brand New plays Coachella 2015.
David Le

4. Brand New and Modest Mouse
June 29

"And if it makes you less sad, we'll start talking again/You can tell me how vile I already know that I am." The number-one and number-two bands for jamming out and feeling complicated feelings in the early 2000s are going on tour together this year for the first time. See the boy who blocked his own shot at Red Rocks in June. 

Photo captured by LA Weekly photographer Timothy Norris at the Wiltern.
Timothy Norris

Upcoming Events

3. Ryan Adams
with Kurt Vile and the Violators
August 17

"I taught myself how to grow/Without any love, and there was poison in the rain." Ryan Adams remains the emo-folk-indie god of the 21st century, and we don't care who knows it. Add in indie sensation Kurt Vile and the Violators, and Adams's third time headlining this historic locale is sure to be an epic night. 

2. Sufjan Stevens
July 18

Seeing Sufjan Stevens on the Rocks will be a special occasion. Not only is it his first time headlining there, but he's touring in support of his deeply sad, exceptionally moving latest album, Carrie and Lowell. (Maybe don't invite your parents to this one?) We're hoping he'll finally get his shit together and write an album dedicated to Colorado (as he once promised he would eventually write for every one of the fifty states, starting with Illinoise).

The infamous photo that started the meme "Listens to Mac DeMarco Once."EXPAND
The infamous photo that started the meme "Listens to Mac DeMarco Once."
Sylvia Plath on Twitter

1. Tame Impala and Mac DeMarco
August 31

*Listens to Mac DeMarco Once* and immediately buys a ticket to his show at Red Rocks. Opening for Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco injects his romance and pathos with playful winks, and the lineup is a match made in heaven for the indie pop-rock crowd, earning the late-August show the number-one spot on our list. 

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre

18300 W. Alameda Parkway
Morrison, CO 80465

720-865-2494

www.redrocksonline.com


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