The best concerts in Denver this weekend
FRI & SAT | DEVOTCHKA at MERCURY CAFE | 2/14-2/15 DeVotchKa is for lovers. So is Valentine's Day. An absolutely ideal pairing, the two have been making beautiful music together for years, and the former is celebrating the latter with a three-day run, the second night of which is slated for tonight. What better way to spend Valentine's Day than with Nick Urata and company as they bring their sultry sounds to intimate confines of the Mercury Cafe.
SUN | DEAFHEAVEN at MARQUIS THEATER | 2/16/14 George Clarke and Kerry McCoy performed together in grindcore band Rise of Caligula before forming Deafheaven in early 2010. The band's 2010 demo was well-received by critics, and the duo became a five-piece in time for the writing and recording of 2011's Roads to Judah. At that time, the outfit's lineup included members of the more shoegaze-inclined Whirr, and Roads to Judah expanded the band's instinct for densely dynamic and downcast atmospheres and melodies. But Deafheaven didn't just stick to that aesthetic betwixt post-rock and transcendental metal; during the writing of material for its latest effort, the acclaimed 2013 album Sunbather, the group's lineup changed again, and the songwriting became brighter and more accessible, yet more experimental. Although its music is akin to that of Explosions in the Sky, Deafheaven is far more heavy and haunted.
FRI | DARK TRANQUILITY at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 2/14/14 When metal outsiders think of the massively influential Swedish death metal scene, Dark Tranquillity co-founder and vocalist Mikael Stanne is probably not be the type of person they'd expect. Stanne is not intimidating,abrasive or angry. Instead, he has a very positive attitude, which is difficult to reconcile with the stereotype of death metal as a violent genre of music. Stanne doesn't even have an attitude about being frontman in such a well-established band, and perhaps that's because he acts like he's been there. Dark Tranquility is currently touring in support of its latest effort, 2013's Construct.
FRI | ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA at OGDEN THEATRE | 2/14/14 Dweezil Zappa is on a mission, and it's a pretty personal one. Since 2006, the son of the late guitarist/composer/bandleader Frank Zappa has toured the world, playing his father's music in an effort to attract and educate a new generation of listeners. In leading the Zappa Plays Zappa project, Dweezil Zappa has covered songs from all phases of his father's nearly forty-year career. He's delved deeply into a catalogue that numbered more than sixty official albums at the time of Frank Zappa's death in 1993.
SAT | SAFE BOATING IS NO ACCIDENT (CD RELEASE) at HI-DIVE | 2/15/14 A handful of years ago, you could count on Safe Boating Is No Accident to deliver the weirdest and most creatively interesting shows in town. Amid the various bits of proffered performance art, however, were songs that made astute comments on American society and the absurdities inherent in so much of modern life in this country. More recently, the group curtailed the performance art aspect of its shows, and now Safe Boating -- a solidly compelling rock band with a still intact sense of humor -- is releasing its debut full-length album, which was recorded with Nick Sullivan through Consonance Productions.
FRI | ROWDY SHADEHOUSE at LOST LAKE LOUNGE | 2/14/14 We've all seen guys who play funk with a high level of technical proficiency but then end up making music that comes off as listless. But Rowdy Shadehouse actually lives up to its outlandish name. With this band, you end up being part of the show whether you like it or not. Frontman Jon Thursday is an intensely enthusiastic, confrontational and even transgressive figure whose visceral performance is matched by the rest of the band. Chances are these guys listened to a lot of the real thing, saw some of it, and also saw enough of the bogus variety of funk to conceive an act that puts out the exact opposite. Rowdy Shadehouse is definitely a party band, but one whose energetic performances are refreshingly startling.
FRI | BOP SKIZZUM FAREWELL + NERD PROM at GOTHIC THEATRE | 2/14/14 After more than a decade in the scene, Bop Skizzum is calling it a day. Founder and guitarist Andy Guerrero (aka Andy Rok) broke the news to fans earlier this month on the group's website. "I've been doing this for a long time," he writes. "For over ten years and counting, I've been a full-time musician and I've played with a number of different bands. The one band that has always been 'my band' through all those years, however, has been Bop Skizzum." In addition to being Bop Skizzum's farewell show, it's also the band's annual Nerd Prom with Mega Ran, Sundown Social and Filthy T.
FRI & SAT | THE BIG WU at QUIXOTE'S TRUE BLUE | 2/14-2/15 Using unique song craft to grab audience's attention, legendary Minnesota band the Big Wu brings its brand of hard and loud Americana roots rock to Denver for a two-night run at Quixote's True Blue. In an era when jam bands are teased over the lack of good songwriting, this is a band that writes truly great songs, which is exactly why the outfit has attracted a devout fan base that has kept it touring for almost twenty years.
SAT & SUN | BRIAN BLADE & THE FELLOWSHIP BAND at DAZZLE | 2/15-2/16 Having established himself as an in-demand drummer in both jazz and rock circles by working with everyone from Wayne Shorter and Bill Frisell to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Brian Blade is also a strong leader in his own right -- namely, with his Fellowship Band. From a self-titled Blue Note release in 1998 through later records such as Perceptual and Season of Changes, Fellowship has always straddled the rock and jazz worlds, especially on the Blade-penned cuts that reflect his understated drumming style, which can also be quite fierce at times. The act is slated to release Landmarks on Blue Note in April.
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