The best concerts to see in Denver this weekend
Austin-bred guitar prodigy Gary Clark Jr. is focused on reconnecting the blues with its roots. The electric bluesman not only cites Jimi Hendrix as an influence, but with his slender frame, long fingers and soaring bellow, he might remind folks of the legend. Clark has been embraced by the mainstream, having performed everywhere from Coachella to the mtvU Woodies to the White House, where he played for the Obamas, and he's also shared stages with Eric Clapton and Alicia Keys. Before signing with Warner Bros., he released a string of well-received independent albums.
Zeds Dead makes music that both sounds good on your speakers and brings a show that you cannot forget. In the past, we've seen the duo play in front of strobed tombstones, but at Red Rocks last year at the Global Dance Festival, it was all LED panels and blasting strobe lights. Zed co-headlines tonight with Krewella, and support from Paper Diamond, Seven Lions, Candyland, DJ Green Lantern and Branchez.
The Supersuckers are a guaranteed good time live. Their untamed (and awesomely named) frontman Eddie Spaghetti will see to that. While the group's lineup has changed a bit over the past two decades, their hard-charging, country-tinged garage-punk sound has remained consistent, and is sure to get their longtime fans moving once again. Their recorded output has been rather spotty, but the Supersuckers earned their acclaim through dynamic, rowdy live shows.
Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, the duo that comprises Phantogram, are a rare breed of New York band. They are native New Yorkers who, instead of heading for jacked-up rents in Williamsburg and Bushwick, pack all their analog gear into a barn in upstate New York. While they may be far from the hipster epicenter, their debut, Eyelid Movies, shows that they craft the kind of catchy electronically-propelled pop that instantly hooks fans of folks as disparate as the Postal Service, Boards of Canada and J Dilla.
Any Fiona Apple concert is a study in contradiction. The audience at last year's Paramount Theatre show was privy to a vast frontier of human emotion, Apple braiding herself in and out of binary worlds, slipping from robust woman in command of a top-shelf band, to a frightened child, unsure of her place on the stage. From comforting mother to jealous girlfriend, from virtuoso musician to raw animal, Apple grinded her throat while hopping in and out of rhythm. None of that seemed to be incidental. Like her career, Apple appears to never settle on a single path or persona.
Danny Brown's voice makes it sound as if he's disgusted with everything, and it just adds authenticity and grime to his already obscene lyrics. In his performance of "Monopoly," when Brown says, "I done served fiends on they menstrual/Ain't even had pads, stuffed they panties with tissue," the image is so disgusting, and Brown sounds so disgusted, you just know it's a true story. Brown's latest release, Old, was one of the most anticipated releases this year. Danny Brown headlines Fool's Gold Day Off with DJ Canada, Carnage, Casey Veggies, Nick Catchdubs and Gladiator (free with RSVP).
With a career spanning two decades, Counting Crows have proven that releasing a megahit in the '90s hasn't been the only thing to sustain them. After releasing six albums since 1993, the most recent, Underwater Sunshine, is a departure for them as a collection of cover songs. Including both modern and 50-year-old compositions, Adam Duritz and the band took the chance to pay tribute to other artists, one of them being Bob Dylan.
Partially through his own doings and partially because of Chapelle's Show, Lil Jon has gained a reputation as a fluke, a gimmicky hip-hop presence, but that couldn't be further from the truth. He's actually one of the most influential Southern DJs and rap producers ever, best known for pioneering the raucous crunk subgenre with his 1997 album Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album. Lil Jon will remain behind the decks for this performance, but he's a musician who cut his teeth deejaying, so it should definitely be an insane show.
Ani DiFranco has a solid cult following that dates back to the '90s, when young women found refuge in her defiant, angst-ridden music. Since then, the Buffalo-hailing singer-songwriter and feminist icon has embraced motherhood and revealed a softer, more vulnerable self in her songs. She isn't as radical as she used to be, but neither are her fans, many of whom now also have families of their own. Troubled or not, DiFranco always delivers an emotionally charged live performance and, thankfully, never loses perspective on what attracted her fans in the first place. When someone heckles her to play something for those who are still depressed (there are always a few in the audience), she kindly obliges with a rendition of -- what else? -- "Grey."
For a decade now, the Inactivists have amused, confounded, offended and even inspired other bands in town with their mixture of musical chops, strong songwriting and a brilliantly twisted sense of humor. The sound is like Dada rock and roll, only without any particular allegiance to rock and roll, along with a liberal sprinkling of musical ideas nicked from ranchero, country, bossa nova and -- despite the irreverently surrealistic title of the band's 2011 album, The War on Jazz Hands -- jazz.
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