Even in the early part of January when the concert calendar is typically just barely beginning to ramp back up after the holiday season, there's still plenty of great music to catch. Tonight, Mudhoney's at the Bluebird, Cattle Decapitation's at the Marquis, the Wailers are at the Fox in Boulder (and at the Ogden on Saturday), Lightlooms and Calders Revolvers are celebrating the release of their new EPs at the hi-dive and Larimer Lounge, respectively, Mercury Sauce is hosting an R&B showcase at the Walnut Room and Shoppers are at Rhinoceropolis. Tomorrow night, Places releases its debut, No More Wasted Days, at the Larimer, and Moon Tides is at the hi-dive. Page down for the full rundown.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 6
MUDHONEY / THE FLUID AT THE BLUEBIRD THEATER Although Mark Arm is sometimes credited with coining the term "grunge," all of his bands have been informed by a keen sense of humor as well as the great raw sound of the garage-rock bands of the Pacific Northwest. Forming Green River in 1984 with friend and guitarist Steve Turner alongside future members of Pearl Jam, Arm had a direct hand in bringing together '70s rock and a more primal sound. In 1988, Arm and Turner formed Mudhoney and created an aesthetic that proved influential, with a sludgy guitar sound driven by tumultuous rhythms. Although Nirvana and others were more commercially successful, Mudhoney is having the last laugh precisely because it didn't fit in with grunge -- despite being a pioneer of the movement -- and emerged with its credibility intact. (Tickets $25.50-$30)
CATTLE DECAPITATION AT MARQUIS THEATER There is some serious irony in the fact that three of the four current members of a band leeringly named Cattle Decapitation are staunch vegetarians -- but there is also awesomeness here. The same goes for the longtime death-metal act's songs, a rowdy and riveting back catalogue that decries animal abuse, genocide and the slow but violent destruction of the environment. Mixed in with unsightly imagery, epic guitar ramblings and slightly unsubtle apocalyptica is the efficiency of fifteen years spent traveling in support of five albums, countless causes and a sound as intoxicating as it is damning. If the guys' edges are hard, so are their lyrics, establishing them as one of a handful of modern bands whose message and music have yet to soften or slacken. (Tickets $10)
THE WAILERS AT THE FOX THEATRE Someone should really make a movie about the saga of the Wailers. Founded by reggae legends Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963, the seminal reggae band and its various members have influenced every style of reggae imaginable, from roots and rocksteady to dancehall and ska. It has also survived some epic personnel losses: Marley died of cancer in 1981, Tosh was murdered during a home invasion in 1987, drummer Carlton Barrett was shot to death the same year, and vocalist Junior Braithwaite was murdered in 1999. These days, the spirit of the Wailers is kept alive by bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett (brother of the late Carlton), who played with the Marley-era Wailers and is also a former member of Lee "Scratch" Perry's band, the Upsetters. Although Marley, Tosh and many of Barrett's former bandmates may be gone, you can still hear the iconic bass lines of songs like "Get Up, Stand Up," "No Woman No Cry" and "Exodus" played by the man who wrote them. (Tickets $26.50)
LIGHTLOOMS EP RELEASE SHOW AT THE HI-DIVE Meaghan Lillis met Josh Guisinger while the two were students at Auraria. Lillis was studying piano performance, and Guisinger was an art student. Both had run into each other at Radiohead and Björk concerts, and then at the bookstore in Westminster where Lillis worked. They bonded over music and decided to jam together. Lillis suffered from terrible stage fright, and working with other musicians appealed to her immediately. She and Guisinger wrote music together as a duo for more than a year before playing occasionally with Guisinger's cousin, bassist Zack Martinson, and then more regularly with Chris Durant, who has played in a dozen or so bands over the past several years. Lightlooms released a stripped-down debut EP in 2010, shortly after making its live debut as a trio at the Meadowlark. Last year, the bandmembers began to gel creatively more than ever, and the results of their collaborative partnership can be heard on their new EP, Synaptic Sea, being released tonight at the hi-dive. (Tickets $6)
CALDERS REVOLVERS CD RELEASE SHOW AT THE LARIMER Comprised of former members of the Archive and We Are! We Are!, Calders Revolvers are releasing their second EP tonight at the Larimer Lounge with the Uncertain Sea, the Gromet and the Music Band (former members of Machine Gun Blues). The band recorded the album entirely on its own and spent more than half of the year tracking four songs. "But that wasn't because we spent a lot of time tracking," the guys note. "Most of our time was spent mixing, remixing, adding tracks and reading up on the internet how to make a DIY recording stand up to pro sound. We think we pulled it off - for the most part." Hear the results for yourself tonight at the Larimer Lounge. (Tickets $10)
MERCURY SAUCE SHOWCASE AT THE WALNUT ROOM Three of the city's hottest R&B singers, Amanda Hawkins, Devan Blake Jones and American Idol alumnus Julie Zorilla, are performing together on one bill this Friday night at the Walnut Room. The trio of Mercury Sauce artists will be showing off their singing and songwriting chops with one of the acts introducing new material. Hawkins, who also goes by the stage name Jane Doed, is the front woman of Della, and this show may end up being the last chance to see her perform in this intimate of a setting. Jones, meanwhile, on break from filming the current season of American Idol, will be showcasing his soulful side pairing his warm vocals with several covers. Zorilla, who, herself, as you might remember, competed on Idol last season, will be playing songs from her forthcoming Mercury Sauce release.
SHOPPERS AT RHINOCEROPOLIS Noise punk -- or whatever all-encompassing term you prefer -- is nothing new. That said, any band that sounds like it's bursting with a desperate energy and has the inspiration and drive to engage inner turmoil head-on is always going to be relevant. Shoppers, from Syracuse, New York, embodies that spirit with music that recalls Unwound and Seven Year Rabbit Cycle, only with more of a leg in hardcore's headlong pace. The band's 2011 album, Silver Year, picked up where its previous two releases, 2010's Goodbye to All That and You Shot Me, and I Woke Up in My Next Life, left off, with even more adventurous sculpting of seething emotions expressed through guitar, bass and drums into distinct songs.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 7
THE WAILERS AT THE OGDEN THEATRE Someone should really make a movie about the saga of the Wailers. Founded by reggae legends Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963, the seminal reggae band and its various members have influenced every style of reggae imaginable, from roots and rocksteady to dancehall and ska. It has also survived some epic personnel losses: Marley died of cancer in 1981, Tosh was murdered during a home invasion in 1987, drummer Carlton Barrett was shot to death the same year, and vocalist Junior Braithwaite was murdered in 1999. These days, the spirit of the Wailers is kept alive by bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett (brother of the late Carlton), who played with the Marley-era Wailers and is also a former member of Lee "Scratch" Perry's band, the Upsetters. Although Marley, Tosh and many of Barrett's former bandmates may be gone, you can still hear the iconic bass lines of songs like "Get Up, Stand Up," "No Woman No Cry" and "Exodus" played by the man who wrote them. (Tickets $25)
PLACES CD RELEASE SHOW AT THE MARQUIS THEATER We've been enamored with Places for a few years -- back when a few of the members were still shuttling back and forth from Montana -- but now it sounds like the band has fully come into its own. Still not quite sure why these dudes need two drummers to pull off this sound, but that's neither here nor there. The seven-piece sure knows its way around a tune; God knows this isn't the first act in history to have that setup, and it's a safe bet that it certainly won't be the last. If you're on the hunt for pristine pop that's primed for radio, read this week's feature profile and then pick up No More Wasted Days, the band's new album, at its CD release party tonight. (Tickets $8-10)
MOON TIDES AT THE HI-DIVE While the term "surf rock" could be applied to the music of Moon Tides (due at the hi-dive this Saturday, January 7), "dream pop" would probably come closer to describing the sound of this Fort Collins-based band: hazy, breathy vocals underneath delicate, shimmery guitar melodies. And although Moon Tides is likely to be compared to Candy Claws or Animal Collective, the band's music is very much its own, as evidenced by its undersung debut album, As Loud as the Sun. Sofia Coppola would love this. So would Gregg Araki -- and, actually, anyone with an appreciation for subtle yet vivid emotional coloring in music. (Tickets $6)
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