Red Rocks doubles both as an iconic symbol of Denver's local music culture and as a go-to spot on the international music circuit. This summer, a several bands who got their start in Colorado are gracing the Red Rocks stage, blurring the local and international music scenes. Be sure to catch your Cowtown guys and gals long since made good! See the complete (so far) Red Rocks calendar here.
1. Elephant Revival
Lead singer Bonnie Paine's washboard percussion piece, which she clasps to her front while she leads the gospel-tinged folk tunes her band is known for, symbolizes many aspects of this groups sound: old-timey, percussive, often sparse. Add to that the groups melodic, evocative songwriting, and you can see why this Colorado band, formed in Nederland in 2006, is so popular.
2. The Lumineers
June 7 and 8
After their near mythical rise through the Denver music scene, particularly through the Meadowlark open mic, the Lumineers broke through to a national audience in 2012 with their hit "Ho Hey." Now, after seemingly long silence, they've returned with a new single reached one of the most renowned stages in the Denver area and beyond.
3. The String Cheese Incident
Formed in 1993 Crested Butte and Telluride, the String Cheese Incident combines funk, rock, world music, Calypso and electronica, among other genres. In other words, they've made a name for themselves as a staple in the jam-band community, having played at Red Rocks numerous times in the past twenty years.
4. Big Head Todd and the Monsters with special guest Dwight Yoakam
Three of the original members of Big Head Todd and the Monsters first met at Columbine High School, sticking together through college and beyond for breaking out of the local rock circuit in the late 80s.
5. DeVotchKa with the Colorado Symphony
DeVotchKa's expansive, cinematic sounds makes them a perfect match for Colorado Symphony Orchestra (another "local band" one could say).
6. The Motet
Formed in 1998 in Boulder, the Motet's instrumental funk shies away from the omnivorous melting-pot appetite that defines many jam-bands to retain a harder-edged sound focused equally on tight grooves as solo moves.
7. Yonder Mountain String Band & Drive By Truckers
This all-string band pulls no punches with tight-knit instrumental and vocal arrangements that channel the clear crisp mountain air that nurtured this bluegrass powerhouse in Nederland, where they first started playing together in the late night '90s.
8. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Perhaps the freshest — if the not the latest — group to jump the ranks from local fixture to national stardom, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats broke out with "S.O.B." last summer, offering a more soulful take on the hand-clapping feel-good anthems popular these days.
9. Gregory Alan Isakov
Folksy troubadour Gregory Alan Isakov coaxes lulling, nostalgic tunes from his guitar in the mode of Fleet Foxes or The Head and the Heart. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Isakov now "calls Colorado home," proving that transplants, despite some indications to the contrary, can find their place in this popular state.
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10. Big Gigantic
Big Gigantic from Boulder flesh out current future funk trends with a live group that includes saxophone and drums, making them one of the more engaging electronic bands to see live.