The best concerts to see in Denver this week
A six-year hiatus hasn't made Queens of the Stone Age forget its roots. The earnest full-length album ...Like Clockwork, released earlier this year, is a long-awaited return to the spotlight, and it proves that the band hasn't lost its flair for '70s glam-rock cues or unfiltered sadness. Founder, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Josh Homme remains dedicated to driving, fuzz-drenched guitar work, unpolished vocals and a bleak, stark approach to lyrics. Despite attention-grabbing cameos by high-profile guests such as Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor, the rest of the band -- Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Fertita, Michael Shuman and Jon Theodore -- is in top form and shines brightly on hypnotic tunes like "I Appear Missing" and "I Sat by the Ocean."
Returning to the Mile High City for his now-annual two-night run at Red Rocks, Pretty Lights maestro Derek Vincent Smith is bringing an album's worth of new music and a talented cast of characters to entertain the hometown crowd. On Friday, Pretty Lights will be illuminated by hip-hop companions Talib Kweli and Blue Sky Black Death, and on Saturday, August 17, a roster of hand-picked artists form the Pretty Lights Music imprint will get their chance to shine. Smith will undoubtedly be playing cuts from his acclaimed new record, A Color Map of the Sun, in addition to digging deep into his back catalogue for a choice blend of groove-driven tracks.
Lengthy attention-grabbing solos are the cornerstone of any great metal band, and Chimaira upholds that quality and provides a backbone of harsh vocals that gradually dirtied itself from earlier in the band's career. Multiple lineup changes have stalled the band in the past, but the outfit has kept moving forward, producing a progressively aggressive sound for its listeners. Chimaira has a new album in hand, Crown of Phantoms, to clean out your ears with a spanking new metal Q-tip.
As one of the pioneers of mathcore, The Dillinger Escape Plan's mindboggling debut album Calculating Infinity was the first album to be hailed as the subgenre's new identity, weaving viciously chaotic metal with the boldly experimental and second-to-second instrumental shifts. If you have never come across Dillinger before, just walk past a woodshop class that's right next the heavy metal class in the school of rock.(Cattle Decapitation, Animals As Leaders, Periphery, Norma Jean, the Ocean, Revocation and AEON share this Summer Slaughter bill with the Dillinger Escape Plan.)
As genre lines seem to almost be nonexistent today, Twiddle reenforces the notion that bands can break any and all rules when jamming live. Gone are the days of simply playing bluegrass; welcome to the new era where jazz, funk, reggae and rock are blended together seamlessly. Twiddle, a four-piece hailing from Vermont, brings a fusion of sounds that feature progressive fret work, feverish piano melodies, and funky jazz drums, all of which have helped propel this promising act into the spotlight. Twiddle is one of the bands playing Arise, this four-day festival in Loveland, which features all sorts of other acts. Full lineup at AriseFestival.com.
Kaytranada, whose sound leans more toward the house end of the electronic-music spectrum, is as comfortable keeping the dance floors jumping as he is creating tracks in the studio. His SoundCloud page offers up remix after remix, using samples from new artists like Robin Thicke alongside classic tunes by the likes of Janet Jackson -- and live, Kaytranada isn't afraid to throw in samples or full tracks from popular artists, inserting them into his sets with an instinct that pinpoints exactly when he needs to take the energy up. There's a cohesive thread of disco soul running through everything he does that ties it seamlessly together.
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