The best concerts in Denver this weekend
Among the most popular and successful of the bands associated with the Elephant 6 collective, Of Montreal started off as a sort of indie pop band with an experimental edge. The band evolved dramatically across several records, fearlessly exploring lyrical themes of disillusionment and alienation within the context of upbeat music. In 2004, Of Montreal put out Satanic Panic in the Attic, ushering in a period of experimentation in which the act injected elements of soul and R&B into its songwriting. By the time 2008's Skeletal Lamping came out, the band had developed its music into a futuristic, psychedelic funk, with a highly theatrical and visually arresting live show to match. If Eno-era Roxy Music, Gabriel-era Genesis and There's a Riot Goin' On-era Sly and the Family Stone could have their collective DNAs spliced, it would be a bit like Of Montreal's current incarnation.
In searching for ways to describe DeVotchKa's unique, rapturous sound, ambitious music scribes across the country have crafted effusive similes invoking terms such as "exotic" and "worldly" as they link the music to everything from Eastern European folk odes and polka sendups to gypsy street serenades and mariachi marches. As worldly as the act may seem, and as valid as some of those effusive similes are, at its core DeVotchKa is a distinctly American band, whose music is emblematic of the diverse cultural fusion this country was built upon. Catch the second night of the band's annual Halloween extravaganza tonight with You Me & Apollo and Kitty Crimes.
Beginning with the powerful single "Survival Tactics," which uses a beat from Styles of Beyond's song of the same name, Joey Bada$$ has carved out a place for himself as the preeminent throwback artist. He's captured the beloved boom-bap sound in a way that few artists have since its mid-'90s heyday. That, combined with a flow that sounds like an updated Jay-Z, or U-God from the Wu-Tang Clan, casts him in a role as one of the last saving graces for rap fans who feel like the genre's best years are far behind it. Since his sophomore mixtape 1999 blew up, the rapper has taken his crew Pro Era with him into the spotlight, which includes talented rappers CJ Fly and the late Capital STEEZ (who died at his own hands late last year) and producers like Kirk Knight and Chuck Strangers. Joey's latest mixtape, Summer Knights, was arguably better than 1999, and it seems likely that his studio debut, B4.Da.$$, will be one of the most anticipated releases of 2014.
Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) is a one man force to be reckoned with. Armed with a vintage guitar, attention grabbing musical stylistics and a drum made out of a suitcase, this one man band grabs audiences like no other; you can hear a pin drop at his shows. Catch Shakey tonight at the Ogden opening for the Devil Makes Three.
No matter what you do in life," declares Brandon Bordeaux, better known musically as H*Wood, "you're going to trip, you're going to fall, you're going to make errors. But in the grand scheme of things, the grand scheme of the goals, the errors are the lessons." Bordeaux speaks from experience. In a matter of years, after moving from Aurora to California, the rapper experienced a meteoric rise in the music business before falling just as fast. Bordeaux found quick success in Hollywood in his early twenties with the singles "Barbie Doll" and the hugely popular "Could It Be You (Punk Rock Chick)," a track issued on Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins's imprint that focused on the glossy materialism and party lifestyle of high-class Los Angeles. Now he's back in Colorado, better for the experience and with a new EP, Doubt Kills, that he believes not only raises the personal stakes for him as an artist, but raises the stakes for his home town. Keep reading full profile.
Progressive metal is a demanding genre, but Dissonance in Design exceeds expectations on its latest full-length, Sentient. A concept album about god-like aliens from another dimension who are unleashed upon Earth as the result of a scientific experiment gone wrong, the record is filled with lyrics that read like an episode of Doctor Who, only its instrumental components reflect even more imagination. Sentient will appeal to fans who appreciate the heavier parts of Faceless or Between the Buried and Me, only without the wild experimentation that makes those bands less accessible. That's not to say that it's a nonstop, face-mashing assault. While the vocals are indeed aggressive, the band slows down just enough on songs like "Entwined in Aether" and "Terminus Pt. II" to make the heaviest parts even heavier. The tracks all flow seamlessly into each other, which turns the album into one 47-minute-long saga.
See also: Dissonance In Design discusses new album
When you think about musical projects forming in Boulder these days, rock and roll isn't exactly what comes to mind, despite Rose Hill Drive's hailing from that town. But West Water Outlaws can safely be filed in that category. The act came together when Blake Rooker went to the wrong room for a class and ran into his old friend Will S. Buck. The two quickly assembled a lineup that was rounded out by bassist Vincent Ellwood and drummer Andrew "Monkey" Oakley. The guys were a welcome novelty at the parties they played early on, but soon enough, they were packing places like the Fox and the Boulder Theater. Even though their music is rooted in blues-rock boogie, Buck's imaginative guitar leads and all-around solid songwriting ensure that these Outlaws aren't pirating someone else's style.
The members of Hooper have played (or are currently playing) in a number of well-known Denver bands, including Ross Etherton and the Chariots of Judah, Pink Hawks, Big Timber, Call Sign Cobra and Raleigh, among others. To their credit, Hooper sounds like none of them. The group's output is more in line with that of grittier, poppy punk acts of the '90s, but even fuzzier. Hooper is tight, but not so tight that the music's splintery charm is lost; the resulting guitar work and songwriting are far more inventive and compelling than what you might expect from a "pop punk" or "early emo" band. Hooper celebrates the release of its new album, How to Become a Ghost, this Friday, November 1, at the hi-dive, with Friends of Cesar Romero, Antirobot and Rebel Steele.
Monsters of Mock is exactly what it sounds like, only instead of mockery, the bands tapped for this annual event are usually more interested in paying tribute to the bands they're invoking than making fun of them. On tonight's bill you've got a night filled with outstanding bands like Cephalic Carnage channeling other great bands like Faith No More as Fool for a Day. Catch that unit with Turbocracker (Turbonegro), Not Hot for Hagar (Van Halen), the Tramps (the Cramps) and Skulls (Misfits).
The Motherfucking Ruckus (or MF Ruckus, for those with more delicate sensibilities) couldn't be more aptly named: Not only does the handle describe the musical mayhem these dudes create, both in the studio and on stage, but it's also a perfect description of what hell the band's sleazy hard rock will incite you to raise. The Dirty Half-Dozen, the band's recently released CD/DVD combo, chronicles the unlikely rise of this group of hooligans, who started as a bunch of goofballs in the unfortunately named Forth Yeer Freshman and have since grown into a consummate band of ballbreakers playing a fierce, flawless brand of hard rock that owes as much to Thin Lizzy as it does to the Cult. Experience the mayhem in the flesh at Moe's tomorrow night with Potato Pirates, The Motorleague, Dead Temple, Outta Controllers.
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