Thursday, April 1, the Church, 303-832-3528.
New York's Louie Vega has matured into a man of far-reaching musical talent. Best known in house-music circles as one half of the famed production duo Masters at Work (he and partner Kenny "Dope" Gonzales are also known as Nu Yorican Soul), Vega recently dropped the "Little" nickname he's had since he was a kid -- just in time for the release of his debut solo full-length, Elements of Life. Recorded over the past few years, it captures the joys felt by Vega and his relatively new family: wife Anané, a singer from Cape Verde who appears on the album, and four-year-old son Nico. It's an impressive, comprehensive exploration of Latin American music that should satisfy longtime fans while allowing Vega to break out of the house confines and into new musical territory. But don't worry: The success of that project hasn't made him any less vital in his role as DJ -- or in his ability to foster a sweaty, fun time. -- Tamara Palmer
Thursday, April 1, Boulder Theater, 303-786-7030.
Peruvian-born, Harlem-based MC Immortal Technique is not buying the Bush administration's blueprint for a new world order. Accusing the current regime of all sorts of politricks on his new record Revolution Vol. 2, this NYC underground battle vet traffics in topical terrain similar to that explored by agitprop rappers the Coup and Dead Prez. His take on 9/11 and the situation in Iraq has generated a buzz that recalls the heady days of Public Enemy welcoming folks to the Terrordome. Lines like "You might have some house niggas fooled, but I understand colonialism is sponsored by corporations/That's why Halliburton gets paid to rebuild nations" and "Condoleezza Rice is a new-age Sally Hemmings" transcend the cliched bumper-sticker slogans that too often pass for political protest music. Immortal Technique's fierce verbal jabs pack the power of a young Mike Tyson as he proves himself a worthy heir to Chuck D's lyrical legacy. His Boulder Theater show will include a Colorado MC Battle hosted by Black Pegasus, Dent and Lazy Eyez, with DJ Inka One on the turntables. -- James Mayo
Friday, April 2, Rock Island, 303-572-7625.
While some bands try to downplay their musical influences, Stereotyperider has never been shy about where its sound -- and heart -- comes from. The Phoenix-based quartet formed in 1999 from the remnants of Mandingo and Adam's Alcoholics, two of Arizona's most popular pop-punk acts. Its debut long-player, Same Chords, Same Songs, Same Six Strings, appeared in 2002 on Denver's own Suburban Home imprint, and the name said it all: The disc was a formidable slab of straight-up, no-bullshit punk with hints of post-hardcore sinew and indie-rock IQ. It's no surprise, then, that Stereotyprider is putting out a new EP called Under the Influence. The record sports seven faithful and loving renditions of songs pulled directly from the band's '80s and '90s roots (the Cure, Archers of Loaf, Fugazi, the Pixies, Seaweed, the Descendents and Quicksand) and is way the hell more sincere and powerful than similar tribute albums from the past few years -- like, for instance, Face to Face's lame Standards & Practices. Suburban Home intends Under the Influence to be the first in a series of CDs in which punk bands pay ear-splitting homage to their forebears (Planes Mistaken for Stars is slated for the second volume). See Stereotyprider sweat to the oldies with Dartanian, Cost of Living and the Reddmen this Friday. If you heckle 'em hard enough, maybe they'll bust out some Living Colour. --Jason Heller
Sunday, April 4, Bluebird Theater, 303-322-2308, and Monday, April 5, Mesa Theatre, Grand Junction 1-970-241-1717.
It has been said that Imperial County resembles the razor-sharp edge of the end of the world -- a desolate blight on the Southern California coast where the desert disintegrates into the ocean by way of an outstretched strip of stinking saline called the Salton Sea. It's a soured spot of land where cheap whiskey and souped-up Camaros reign supreme and old aluminum Airstreams are called home; it's also the birthplace of "sailor rock" and its creator, Throw Rag. A collaboration of six seamen who sound like Mike Ness in a tainted love tryst with the Cramps, Throw Rag plays the kind of all-American bacon-and-grease-flavored rock and roll that will have you pickin' the gristle outta your teeth for days. Driven by the tarnished voodoo howlings of Captain Sean Doe and the frantic strum of a tattooed salty dog named Jacko, the band released its second album, Desert Shores, last year on BYO Records and has since toured nearly non-stop with the likes of the Supersuckers, the Misfits and Flogging Molly. Shores takes cowpunk and rockabilly and cuisinarts them into beefy little appetizers. Witness the cover of Johnny Kidd's "Please Don't Touch" (which could easily wrassle with the classic rendition from past tour-mates Motrhead), or "Mission's Message," which has a washboard-and-cowbell solo by Jacko so meaty it could clog an artery. Live, these guys get down -- really -- to their skivvies and duct-taped white-leather cowboy boots, so get ready, all you sinners: Throw Rag wrings out one of the best live performances around, with all the grit, grime and sweat-stained joy that rock and roll should, but rarely does, offer. -- Kity Ironton
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All Night Radio
Wednesday, April 7, hi-dive, 720-570-4500.
All Night Radio dials up the sonic vibe of a previous era: the psychedelic '60s, when the idea of better living through chemistry was being embraced by amateur pharmacologists everywhere. Whether or not Radio partners Dave Scher and Jimi Hey are teetotalers outside the studio, Spirit Stereo Frequency, their debut disc for the Sub Pop imprint, sounds as if it was made by aural adventurers whose idea of taking a trip has nothing to do with Princess Cruises. Indeed, if the CD is any indication, concert-goers had better not wear tight hats, because mind expansion is job one. "Daylight Till Dawn" sets the stage with faux strings, Elizabethan keyboards, dizzy harmonics and heavily treated vocals that echo off lyrics about "pretty lightning 'cross the sky." Other highlights of the Radio repertoire include the cosmic country of "We're on Our Wave," the garage-ready "You'll Be on Your Own," the beautiful shine of "Winter Light," and "Sky Bicycle (You've Been Ringing)," which is capable of turning anyone into a two-wheeling E.T. In some ways, the music made by Scher and Hey is deeply silly, yet the affection they have for the rudiments of their chosen genre keep it from turning into a joke. All Night Radio catches a buzz from the past and transforms it into a musical contact high. Tune in, turn on, drop out. -- Michael Roberts