The best EDM in Denver this weekend
Catz 'N Dogz has had a smashing year so far. In addition to being invited to create a BBC 1 Essential Mix, the powerhouse duo has collaborated with a mother lode of impressive acts, including Eats Everything, with whom it put together a whole EP. The masterminds behind the tongue-in-cheek-named Pet Recordings, Catz 'N Dogz has also released tracks on some of the best EDM labels -- Crosstown Rebels, Dirtybird and more -- and when you hear the act's signature playful sound, you'll understand why. The group's sound traverses subgenres from disco house to techno, always with a whimsical thread of groove meandering through the productions and track selection, and all while paying homage to the roots of electronic music (hip-hop and disco in particular) and keeping a finger firmly on the pulse of the future.
Ten years ago, Douglas Appling -- better known in most musical circles as producer and live P.A. impresario Emancipator -- picked up some production software and started playing around. He's come a long way since then, touring and sharing stages with some of his biggest influences (Bonobo among them), and he's proven through his sweeping, Eastern-tinged trip-hop tunes that downtempo's heyday didn't end when Massive Attack went mainstream. Emancipator's first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, gained some attention in Japan, and his song "Maps" was played at the Beijing Olympics; his second effort, Safe in the Steep Cliffs, proved his ability to harness the haunting poignancy of instruments with deliberately placed effects, generating a gorgeous soundscape in which you can easily lose yourself. Emancipator Ensemble is a brand new quartet featuring Appling that's preparing to embark on its first tour in January. Before that, though, the outfit is making its worldwide debut in Denver this weekend, with Hundred Waters and RUMTUM. (8 p.m., 16+, $30)
Pete Tong is truly a pioneer and legend in the dance music realm. With over two million listeners tuning into his weekly two-hour BBC radio show, this king of the airwaves has a catalog of music that could only be rivaled by the entire Internet's vastness of sounds. Tong has King Midas-like foresight when it comes to playing unheard tracks and championing artists who gain tremendous exposure when he debuts their tracks. Catch him at Beta with Cognition + T-Rav and Jaceo + Vedic. (9 p.m., 18+, $20) -- Britt Chester
Tireless culture-clashers Balkan Beat Box can shout "dance, motherfucker, dance" in twenty different languages. The act's third album, Blue Eyed Black Boy, is a sweat-soaked all-night smash-up of dancehall rhythms, sputtering electro textures and hip-hop swagger, all imbued with the snaky melodic lines of klezmer, Balkan brass, Greek guitars and whatever else shuffles into their iPods. Don't get this confused with flightly, downtempo "global groove," since BBB's head-knocking rhythms speak in all-caps.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22
Thomas Jack joins Blueshift for some house at HOME at NORAD, the perfect place to get down. (9 p.m., 21+, $10-$12)
Chris Karns joins Evol Intent and Caustik for some bass action at Beta. (9 p.m., 18+, $10)
big&TALL joins AC LAO at Bar Standard for what's bound to be some serious dancing pleasure. (9 p.m., 21+, $5-$10)
Looking for some underground action? Milk Bar will have some this weekend with Rob Gray and Christopher George. (9 p.m., 21+)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23
Keepers join Need&Necessity for the two-year anniversary of theHundred at Beauty Bar. Get down to the sounds! (9 p.m., 21+, $5)
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