The best concerts in Denver this weekend
Over the last few years OneRepublic has made its acoustic Christmas shows an annual event that helps local charities. This year's show, which also features Gungor, is a benefit for Colorado flood relief. VIP ticket includes ticket to the show, autographed OneRepublic photo, Denver Acoustic Christmas show poster, plus an after-party meet and greet with OneRepublic.
Even though Lola Black's lineup includes former members of Blister 66, Snapstick Dynomite and the Eight Bucks Experiment, the band isn't entirely a punk affair. Sure, there's a punk spirit in revved-up cuts like "Hit the Road" and "Take Back," but the rest of the music is more rooted in refined hard rock and metal. Full of catchy hooks and riffs, cuts like "Better Left Unsaid" borrow from both worlds. Frontwoman Lola Black, who sounds like a grittier and more vigorous Gwen Stefani, is not afraid to belt it out when she needs to. Catch Lola Black at the Summit with Tattooed Strings, Flood of Souls, Inelements and Extreme Turbo Smash.
It's been a memorable year for Hot Congress Records. With nine releases this year under its belt and three new acts joining the roster, the Denver imprint has plenty to celebrate at its annual holiday showcase. This year's edition features a stacked bill that includes Princess Music, Shady Elders, the Blue Rider and Science Partner, all hosted by Chris Charpentier of the Fine Gentleman's Club.
Hard Working Americans, a supergroup made up of Todd Snider, Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi and Duane Trucks of Col. Bruce Hampton's School of Music, is making its live debut this week at the Boulder Theater. The show, which also serves as the kick off of the band's inaugural tour in support of its self-titled debut album (due out on Tuesday, January 21), is a benefit for the United Way Flood Relief fund sponsored by Boedecker Foundation.
The idea that hip-hop has always been politically self-aware and only recently has it strayed from that course is often tossed around, but it's not true. Although, in many ways, the birth of hip-hop was fundamentally a political movement, the earliest rappers spoke mostly about partying and self-aggrandizement, save for a few, such as Brother D With Collective Effort and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five on occasion. Public Enemy was the first seriously political group to garner mainstream attention, which they did in spectacular fashion, releasing multiple gold and platinum albums. P.E. helped make counter-culture part of mainstream culture, and they brought into question the legacy of heroes like John Wayne and Elvis, for instance, in "Fight the Power."
"There was a line I wasn't willing to cross," Zach Heckendorf declares. "And maybe I just can't write the kind of pop song they wanted," he goes on, speaking of his time with Aware Records, the Chicago-based imprint he was signed to for a little over a year. "They always wanted a huge chorus." This was a tough demand for Heckendorf, a Denver-based singer-songwriter who built his compositional style listening to acts like Drake and Jack Johnson. "These guys don't have huge choruses," Heckendorf points out. "When I was having to write pop songs with other people, I always felt like I was being pushed out of the place where I felt like I was being honest." Read more: Singer-songwriter Zach Heckendorf's age belies his experience
SPELLS got together when Chuck Coffey and Rob Burleson, two longtime veterans of the scene, realized they shared a mutual love of East Bay pop-punk and San Diego noise rock. When the pair decided to form a band, they enlisted Ben Roy as the outfit's charismatic, transgressive frontman and Don Bersell to play bass rather than his customary role as a drummer. The sound they arrived at is based on melodic punk infused with more than its fair share of rambunctious energy. All four guys have been veterans of various Denver bands over the years, including the Mailorder Children, 29th Street Disciples, Call Sign Cobra, Lion Sized and the Symptoms. This year, the group has issued a variety of releases, including a 45, a few digital downloads and its latest effort, a cassette containing a handful of unreleased tracks.
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