The best concerts to see in Denver this week
The jazzy electronic quintet Lotus, known for its precisely timed improvisations during live shows, is celebrating its fourteenth year together. From incorporating video-game music to performing David Bowie tribute shows and playing Black Sabbath covers, Lotus has figured out how to evolve its music and have a lot of fun doing it.
Travis started life as Glass Onion in Glasgow, Scotland, circa 1990, and went through some significant lineup changes before gelling into its current foursome in the mid-'90s, when the band was also signed to Sony on the strength of one of its early demos, "All I Want to Do Is Rock." Travis's gentle yet expansive melodies, coupled with its heartfelt lyrics, had an immediate impact on audiences. The band's debut album, 1997's Good Feeling, yielded a string of other singles, and with the release of 1999's The Man Who, Travis was met with even more mainstream success. Seeing this classic Brit-pop group, currently touring in support of its latest album, Where You Stand, perform at a place the size of the Gothic should be considered a rare opportunity.
Yes, disco follows a formula. But Belgian-Italian producer Aeroplane (aka Vito De Luca) isn't thinking small when it comes to the genre. He's not even concerned with floor fillers. In fact, he's aiming for nothing short of cosmic disco rapture, taking his cues from '70s prog-rock giants like Pink Floyd as much as he is Italo-disco masters like Giorgio Moroder. The epic musicality of De Luca's productions has been apparent since his 2010 debut, We Can't Fly, which garnered rave reviews from both the mainstream music press and underground EDM critics, meaning he's found that rare balance between pop accessibility and underground cred. But fluff aside, Aeroplane's product is still disco. That said, he's here to make you boogie.
Doom-de-doom-doom, doom-de-doom-doom-doom. Simplistically gloomy in its lyrics as it is in its music, Katatonia floats in a sea of melancholia. The band's music holds the haunting atmosphere of a young Stephen King with pages of depression that stop and smells the roses. Strictly doom and gloom this outfit is not, however. A careful ear can hear the progressive metal that lies underneath the blanket of misery.
The only child of country legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Waylon Albright Jennings got the nickname "Shooter" for pissing on a nurse in the hospital delivery room. His ill-mannered ways continued in Hollywood as he chased the ghost of Axl Rose, partying 24/7 and fronting the hard-rock band Stargunn from 1998 to 2003. Since then, he's released some solid solo discs, including last year's Family Man, which he called his "most country record to date." Also sharing the bill is the rowdy blueman Reverend Peyton and his Big Damn Band, which actually just includes his wife Breezy and a drummer.
McGill's "autobiography" claims that he was born in 1877 and lived in seclusion in Illinois until his death in 2056 -- a joke that, intentionally or not, gets to the heart of his appeal. The Chicago-based performer has been a part of the alt-country and neo-folk scenes for more than a decade, but his music sounds as if its a lot older. Songs like "Low Ways," with its fingerpicked opening, sweet-and-sour harmonies and rousing chorus, and "Dark Times, Dark Times," which boasts a charming melody and unexpected pop bounce, could have been released at any point during the past half-century and not confused the populace. But that doesn't mean they seem out of date. Indeed, the sort of tunesmithing verities that mark McGill's best work should hold up well even after he exhales his last breath, 47 years from now.
Justin Furstenfeld, the frontman of Blue October, has turned a corner, both lyrically and in his personal life. His band's new album, Sway, is a far cry from 2011's angst-ridden Any Man In America, which was written while the 37-year-old singer was going through both a divorce and a custody battle for his daughter. Brimming with positivity, Sway still feels like Blue October, but it's somehow completely different. Listeners will hear a stark contrast between the first two songs on the album, as the opening track was written while the band was on the Any Man tour, while "Sway" showcases how far they've come since then.
The London-based electronic musician Gold Panda has taken the old saw about sophomore albums being inspired by life on the road literally. Half of Where You Live consists of fluttery, haunted, dystopic, yet often lovely portraits of cities in Brazil, China, England, and Japan. The voice of a weary local emerges through the slippery house beats of "Community," while "Junk City II" draws inspiration from the films of Takashi Miike.
Many DJs who start off on the drum-and-bass/jungle end of things tend to keep to the bass-oriented end of the dance-music spectrum. But while Mosca still incorporates a hefty amount of dub/dancehall/reggae into his mixes, he's primarily known for his underground house and techno sets in addition to his production tracks. He's also a prolific remixer, reworking tunes from both pop and underground artists. Mosca's own signature sound tends to be sassy and sexy, but quite a bit darker than that of most house or techno artists. He's a master at maintaining the line between raw, atypical, experimental and dance-floor-friendly tracks, and he frequently packs clubs with his unusual track selection and cutting-edge sensibilities. Get a taste of what Mosca can dish up on Friday, October 4, when he headlines NORAD with T. Williams.
London's Mount Kimbie borrows from microhouse and the avant-garde to make a brand of dubstep that's lighter and more intimate than is typical of the genre. Their 2010 Crooks & Lovers was simultaneously accessible and adventurous, just as tonight's live set should be.
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