The best concerts to see in Denver this weekend
From his recent stint making music backed by the Night Sweats, to the incredibly moving songs he's crafted on his own, to his cinematic work with Born in the Flood, Nathaniel Rateliff is a man who requires absolutely no preamble -- his reputation precedes him. His work with the Night Sweats feels like a fresh and glorious reintroduction to a songwriter we all thought we knew. Rateliff has one of the most silken voices around. On these vintage-flavored, horn-bolstered soul songs, he sings with a fervent abandon that adds an unexpected but completely gratifying layer of depth and expressiveness.
Grouplove was formed in 2009 when Hannah Hooper met Christian Zucconi. After getting together in New York, the two went on to do an artist residency in Crete. That's where they met their future bandmates, drummer Ryan Rabin (son of Yes's Trevor Rabin), guitarist Sean Gadd and bassist Andrew Wessen. Fast friends, the quintet recorded a self-titled EP in Rabin's Los Angeles studio, and it was an immediate hit with critics and fans. Grouplove's upbeat and atmospherically expansive melodies resonated at a time when fans of electronic pop music were looking to ditch the genre's self-referential narcissism for something with more emotional substance. Catch Grouplove at Channel 93.3's annual Not So Silent Night, with New Politics, Bastille, Saints of Valory and My Body Sings Electric.
A quick listen to the Mowgli's latest effort, Waiting for the Dawn, might misplace them among '90s-era alternative rock circa 1997, when TRL seemed to have a strict no worrying policy. Maybe these peppy southern California Jungle Book-loving rockers didn't get the memo about the pity party that followed, but it's refreshing to hear crackling pop with a love conquers all aesthetic and a propulsive beat.
It was only a matter of time before someone brought Dirty South beats into the world of EDM, and Flosstradamus has certainly set the precedent for what a good trap show is supposed to be like. It's like Flosstradamus slipped drum and bass tracks in a potent cup of lean. Trap music has been around for awhile, but in this new era acts like Flosstradamus are bringing chopped beats and bangin' kicks to the dance floor.
The ebullient melodies that informed the music of Ian Gassman's old band Night Owl can be heard throughout Confluence's sound. But instead of reflecting that group's more upbeat Elvis Costello vibe, the band's songs have an expansiveness of spirit reminiscent of recent pop bands such as Surfer Blood and the late Desolation Wilderness. The juxtaposition of circular guitar figures and hanging chords, angular leads and Gassman's plaintive singing suggest an unlikely meeting of soul and math rock, while the syncopated rhythms and dynamics give it a feeling of both hesitation and contemplation, as though the band were coming to terms with an unresolved tension.
When acerbic alt-comic Brian Posehn name-checked Buffalo's Every Time I Die (along with Maiden and Metallica) on his metalcore-mocking "Metal by Numbers," it wasn't entirely clear whether it was a trick or a treat. However, after a 15-year evolution -- more metal and less melody with each successive release -- the quartet has earned a place in Posehn's pantheon of modern metal monsters.
Leftover Salmon has graced the the bluegrass scene with their talents for more than two decades. With the passing of Mark Vann, the band didn't produce an album in eight years until last year's Aquatic Hitchhikers. The fairly recent addition of Andy Thorn, carried over from Emmitt-Nershi Band, sparked a new interest in touring and inspiration is in a steady flow among the members.
The music of Zombie Hate Brigade is a pure alloy of death metal and grindcore; the band's songs possess the technical precision and dark, heavy tones of the former while nodding to the relentless, animalistic brutality of the latter. Fans of Napalm Death and Aberrant will probably find something to love here. And while the band's imagery may be tongue-in-cheek -- as is at least some of the sound's sheer savagery -- the band itself is not a joke, and its music could be from the same lineage as that of Fanatics and Catheter.
Shannon Webber and David Samuelson used to perform under the unfortunate moniker of Sew Buttons On Ice Cream. But maybe that surrealistic name was more fitting than Church Fire, a name recalling a Norwegian black metal underground purging the homeland of the edifices of Christian occupation. Whatever the handle, the duo has written some of the most interesting experimental electronic music, disguised as trashy eurotechno, of recent years. That, coupled with Webber's theatrical dancing, and Samuelson's Death In June-esque visual stoicism as counterpoints, always makes for a great show, one that looks like it could have happened in an abandoned 1980s disco, but sounds like it couldn't have happened before the advent of electroclash.
While tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who turns 78 on November 10, has recorded a number of soul-jazz albums under his own name since the mid-'60s, he's also played on platters by Horace Silver, Eddie Harris, Cedar Walton, Charles Brown and Lena Horne. Person's big and rich tone, which is in the tradition of Gene Ammons, was suited perfectly for his duo with the legendary Ron Carter's 2008 Just Between Friends, as well as his 2006 album with pianist Bill Charlap, You Taught My Heart to Sing. Don't miss two nights with the esteemed saxman at Dazzle this month.
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