The best concerts in Denver this weekend
Jamtronica pioneers the Disco Biscuits build interesting set lists: They invert portions of jams into each other, surprising audience members again and again while shining a mega-ton of lasers in their faces for an overstimulation extravaganza. The Biscuits will take over the Ogden for two nights, then expand for a big finale on Saturday night at 1STBANK Center. The Philly band always shows Colorado lots of love, even when its touring schedule winds down to allow for work on other projects.
The Motet is ubiquitous in the state of Colorado, with a show at the Fillmore being extra special because it's also the band's new album release party. While Motet shows that cover other bands are fun, the outfit's real talent lies in the original funk it creates and the psychedelic improvisations. The night will be jam packed with new material sure to have the dance floor bumping and bringing something different and new to its hardcore fan base.
Eyehategod was formed in New Orleans in the late '80s by guitarist Jimmy Bower and original drummer Joey LaCaze. Though the group is often lumped in with sludge-metal acts, its earliest efforts clearly had one foot in punk, with singer Mike Williams's forceful, seemingly unhinged vocals matching the music's dynamics in waves of emotional outbursts. Openly drawing inspiration from the Melvins and Saint Vitus, Eyehategod also had a bit of raucous Flipper sensibility, as evidenced during the recording of the band's third album, Dopesick, when Williams reportedly bled all over the studio after cutting himself on glass he'd smashed for sound effects. Despite the band's history of setbacks and splits, Eyehategod's shows remain a powerful live experience.
If three shows of the Disco Biscuits (two at the Odgen Theatre and one at the 1STBANK Center) wasn't enough, the group will play a rare instrumental show under the name Tractorbeam at the Fox Theatre the day after the Biscuits three-night run. Word has it that these Tractorbeam sets were conceived as a different concert experience -- more like a DJ set than a traditional rock show.
Phoenix guitarist Laurent Brancowitz was once in a noisy garage-rock band called Darlin' with the future members of Daft Punk. But rather than following the strict electronic dance route of his former bandmates, he joined a band with his younger brother, Christian Mazzalai, and his friends Thomas Mars and Deck d'Arcy. Coming together as Phoenix in 1999, the quartet released its debut album, United in 2000. Although the members of Phoenix hail from France, frontman Mars chose to sing lyrics mostly in English, which allowed the band's lushly crafted pop songs to reach a wide audience outside of its home country. The band broke through on a massive scale in 2009 with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which contained the hit "Lisztomania." The music of Phoenix, whose latest album, Bankrupt, was issued this past April, is buoyant and sunny without being insipid.
A prolific artist and collaborator, rapper spent a dozen years grinding before scoring a major label deal for 2008's Murs for President. Since then, he's released nearly half a dozen albums, and the flurry of activity is typical of Murs (born Nick Carter), who's always been a hard worker, inspired in part by his single mother. Throughout his career, Murs has proved equally capable of grim street-level reality and heady consciousness -- without resorting to the often preachy elements of "conscious hip-hop." Often, he'll rhapsodize about the banal, like hanging on the porch with homies smoking weed, and like a chameleon, he'll adapt to any situation. He partially credits a nomadic childhood that never found him in the same place for more than a few years at a time.
Diane Reeves, a Denver native and four-time Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist, is a George Washington High School and University of Colorado alumna. Former Westword scribe Bill Gallo wrote in his feature on the singer, "Dianne Reeves is an international siren who combines Sarah Vaughan's harmonic rigor, Ella Fitzgerald's tireless energy and Carmen McRae's art with lyrics." Tonight Reeves, who is set to release her Concord Records debut, Beautiful Life, on February 11, 2014 presents an evening of jazz with the Colorado Symphony.
Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg's playing conjures the duality of New York. The guy's a badass, burning up the fretboard like Jimmy Bruno, with a swaggering bravado that's pure Gotham. At the same time, there's an evenness to his attack in which every note has clear and distinct resonance, lending the material an air of sophistication. And although he's quite good in the trio setting, he's just as compelling playing solo, as evidenced on his latest effort, One.
Before forming (due at Glob this Friday, January 24) in 2010, Keith Curts and Tom Nelsen were best known for their work in rock bands. Curts, who is currently in Glass Hits, had been deeply immersed in the posthardcore scene of the '90s, while Nelsen drummed in Vicious Women. But the two were no strangers to the avant-garde, either, and they wanted to form a band with a rawer sound, one that was more focused on feeling than on conventional melodies and rhythms. Both menacing and cathartic, the music of Echo Beds completely blurs the lines between noise and industrial and performance art and post-punk, resulting in coherent songs that dispense with all but the most rudimentary rules of songwriting.
Rob "Bucket" Hingley has a simple motto: Don't let the bastards grind you down. It's fitting for the longtime champion of ska and leader of the genre's American flagship, the Toasters. Any preconceived notions and prejudices people may harbor against ska, however justified, are thrown out the door the minute the Toasters take the stage. The group distills ska music for neophytes and aficionados who know the difference between the real deal and bouncy MTV pop-punk vomit with horns. The band's pedal-to-the-dance-floor groove, tempered with just the right amount of surly edge, should convince even the most dedicated ska hater.
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