The best concerts to see in Denver this weekend
The jazzy electronic quintet Lotus, known for its precisely timed improvisations during live shows, is celebrating its fourteenth year as a group. 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. BoomBox and Break Science share this bill.
Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), a collection of the Eagles' biggest hits from that era, has been certified 29x platinum. That means the Southern California group has sold more copies of that record than Zeppelin, Floyd or AC/DC did with Led Zeppelin IV , The Wall or Back in Black, respectively. Yet by most, if not all, accounts, it's infinitely cooler to profess to being a fan of those bands than of the Eagles. What's with the incongruity? Put it this way: There are a lot more closeted fans of this act than you'd think; people evidently consider the music a guilty pleasure. Stigma aside, though, there's a reason the band has achieved its status: Eagles songs are timeless, anchored by sturdy melodies and sheathed in sublime harmonies. As for getting anyone to readily admit to that, well, good luck. Might as well wait for hell to...ahem, never mind.
Founded in the Harajuku district of Tokyo in 1987, Guitar Wolf puts on one of the most wild shows around. Inspired in part by guitarist Seiji's encounter with "Rumble," the Link Wray classic, the band crafted a sound that combines bits of old time rock and roll with punk, garage rock and noise. The outfit, which endured the tragic death of bassist Hideaki Sekiguchi (aka Bass Wolf), who died of a heart attack in 2005, is currently touring in support of its latest record, Beast Vibrator.
See also: Guitar Wolf on his love of noisy music
Sister Crayon got its start in Sacramento, California, in 2010 when Terra Lopez and Dani Fernandez met and bonded over '90s-era hip-hop. The pair teamed up with various bandmates in the past few years and produced music that sounded like the perfect fusion of soul and trip hop -- a darkly inflected, emotionally stirring soundscape. Currently a three-piece and based in Oakland, Sister Crayon made its recorded debut in 2011 with Bellow, and the album reflected the band's early organic sound elements and its increasing obsession with electronic beats. With the release of this year's Cynic EP, the group has expanded its sound while retaining a certain rawness of honestly articulated emotions, revealing a real and personal strength in being vulnerable. A outstanding bill, tonight's show also features Blue Sky Black Death and Denver's own BLKHRTS.
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.
While Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford were the main songwriters in Squeeze, penning hits like "Tempted" and "Hourglass," Tilbrook has released some notable solo albums himself following Squeeze's second breakup in 1999, including 2001's The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook and 2004's Transatlantic Ping Pong.
Part of that great wave of Southern California punk of the late '70s and early '80s, Agent Orange made great contributions to both the development of hardcore and modern surf rock. "Bloodstains," a song on its 1979 debut EP, championed early on by KROQ's Rodney Bingenheimer, has become a bit of a staple in punk circles. Rather than discovering one sound and sticking solely to that aesthetic, Agent Orange has made songs like "Fire in the Rain" that were too edgy to be pop and too poppy for certain punk purists, and in the late '80s the band fully explored fusing punk with surf, with Sam Bolle going on to play in Dick Dale's band. Agent Orange shares this bill with Guttermouth and Pinata Protest.
Purportedly all three members of Residual Kid are under sixteen years old. But either way, these guys didn't start overnight and had been gigging around their hometown of Austin, Texas, for a few years before the band's singer decided to split in 2011. Rather than be cowed by that setback, the band returned a few months later with a different sound and a brand new batch of songs. At the intersection of Nirvana, Shellac and Sonic Youth, you'll find something of the essence that informs not just the sound of this band but also its surprisingly confident and eruptive live performance. Sure, the initial novelty of "kids" playing such rough and tumble music is what draws some people in, but these guys are no fluke. They're not quaint; they're just a solid, respectable punk rock band with an ear for taking the music to interesting places.
Kneebody has had many labels thrown at it, but none seem to fit. That said, the members of the transcontinental quintet (saxophonist Ben Wendel, keyboardist Adam Benjamin, drummer Nate Wood and Denver natives, trumpeter Shane Endsley and bassist Kaveh Rastegar) haven't exactly gone out of their way to make it easy for folks to pin down their shapeshifting sound, which is rooted in jazz, funk and rock. Thanks to a system of musical cues they've developed that allows each player to tweak nearly any element of any given song -- be it volume, orchestration, tempo or key -- the act's arrangements change constantly and zigzag through various vibes and moods.
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