The Eleven Best Shows in Denver This Weekend
Shovels and Rope plays tomorrow at the Ogden
Weather is happening, people. We won't bore you with it -- you can figure that stuff out pretty easily.
But there are some excellent shows, including the release of Snake Rattle Rattle Snake's excellent new one, Totem. You can also see Dance Party Time Machine at the Ogden and a whole mess of other stuff. Observe:Joy Orbison Cluster Studios : November 14
This year was the year that Joy Orbison finally created a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix -- and it's a little puzzling that it took so long to book the producer/DJ who created the track heard 'round the world in 2009, "Hyph Mngo," which landed on a Resident Advisor list of the top electronic tracks of the 2000s at a respectable ranking of 23. Since then, Orbison (who's legally known as Peter O'Grady) has been refining his mashedup sound, which takes house and garage and dubstep and aligns them in a melodic tumble of syncopation and noise. Despite its inherent complexities, Joy Orbison's music evokes a sense of deceptive simplicity. His seemingly effortless synthesis of a vast array of influences seems to be where electronic music is heading, which makes Orbison one of our bravest pioneers. Catch him for his first Denver appearance at Cluster Studios on Friday, November 14.Robert Earl Keen
Grizzly Rose : November 14 It's not a stretch to imagine Robert Earl Keen as a wannabe journalist. With an eye for detail and an ear for a great story, he writes songs that almost betray the fact that he studied journalism at Texas A&M before hooking up with a young nobody in the early '80s named Lyle Lovett. While his buddy went on to fame and a movie-star marriage, Keen has always hit a little closer to home, gravitating in the '90s to the sparse honesty and purity extolled by the alt-country scene without ever fully becoming part of any trend.The Dance Party Time Machine Ogden Theatre : 9:00 p.m. November 14
While the Dance Party Time Machine features three-fourths of the Disco Biscuits (Marc Brownstein, Alan Aucoin and Aron Manger) and former STS9 bassist David Murphy (now of Seven Arrows) is reason alone to check out this dance fest, there will also a bunch of local talent on board, including members of the Motet, Eurfoquestra, Yamn, Rose Hill Drive, Fox Street and a whole lot more. With music from the '50s to today, the Dance Party Time Machine will jump from era to era.
Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (CD release) Gothic Theatre : 9:00 p.m. November 14 It's late on a Sunday night in the basement of a warehouse in RiNo. The members of Snake Rattle Rattle Snake are here, preparing to rehearse songs from their new album, Totem. But the ambience needs some work before they can get to the music.They have some new paintings, including a landscape and a portrait of a husky ("We collect bad art," explains bassist Doug Spencer), which they have hung on the walls. A couple of his bandmates are messing around with a lamp and some strings of Christmas lights while another is passing around cheap beer. They're discussing the wedding they were all at the night before and how they probably got too drunk.Mason Jennings The Soiled Dove Underground : 8:00 p.m. November 14; 8:00 p.m. November 15
High school dropout Mason Jennings likes to do things his own way, whether you like it or not. Usually you do, such as when he sold 20,000-odd copies of his 1998 self-titled debut album out of the trunk of his car. You swooned for his stop-and-go acoustic poetry and gentle sense of loud and soft; you knew him before he hopped aboard Jack Johnson's hippiemobile and started playing big, sold-out shows in California. You even suffered through a ridiculous surfer movie (Shelter) featuring Johnson and Ben Harper just because Jennings was on its soundtrack. You're weren't too thrilled about his "jammy" pretensions a while back, but you're willing to blame that on Johnson, a man who (hopefully) will be nowhere near the Soiled Dove this weekend. You'll be there to cheer and throw tasteful undergarments at this Minneapolis-based heartthrob, whether helikes it or not. You've earned it.California Guitar Trio Swallow Hill Music Hall : 8:00 p.m. November 15
Created in 1991 after taking part in Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists, the trio formed by Paul Richards, Bert Lams and Hideyo Moriya has a rare musical partnership that reaches across various genres without any form of prejudice. During the trio's live sets, they go through tunes as diverse as Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (including the opera section), Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells," Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and The Simpsons theme without (literally) missing a beat.Citizen Cope Fillmore Auditorium : 9:00 p.m. November 15
The throaty vocals of Clarence Greenwood offer the appropriate audio cure for just about any of life's miseries. Since the '90s, this Southern crooner has written emotional tales for the Americana soul under his Citizen Cope moniker. Singing with his eyes closed through the start of the 21st Century, his relatable albums and modest style have attracted hundreds of thousands to the music.David Bazan & Passenger String Quartet Oriental Theater : 9:00 p.m. November 15
After fronting Seattle-based indie-rock outfit Pedro the Lion for a decade, frontman David Bazan formed the group Headphones in 2006 and started work on solo material. Since then, the bright songwriter has released four discs under his own name on the Barsuk imprint, including 2009's excellent Curse Your Branches, which found Bazan questioning the Christian faith he once flaunted in his music. More recently, Bazan teamed up with the avant-garde, neo-classical Passenger String Quartet (with whom he'll perform tonight), and they recorded Volume 1, released last month, an album of reimagined Pedro the Lion songs and material from Bazan's solo recordings. The melancholic string arrangements work well with Bazan's songs and his rather sorrowful vocal delivery. Expect to hear retooled music from the past two decades.Hot Buttered Rum Gothic Theatre : 9:00 p.m. November 15
Having formed during a backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail, San Francisco's Hot Buttered Rum is, on the surface, pretty much the embodiment of what many find so distasteful about the jam-band scene: Rum has worked with former members of the Dead, tours around the country in biodiesel-fueled vehicles and indulges in extended improvisational jams. But who wouldn't want to play music with their personal heroes and not just talk the talk, but live according to their high-minded ideals and have fun with their art? Musically, this band weaves together bluegrass, jazz and folk with a dash of rock for what is essentially upbeat music that is clever in its social critique without ever seeming preachy. If the members of Hot Buttered Rum can be saddled with the term "hippies," at least they aren't phonies.Shovels & Rope Ogden Theatre : 9:00 p.m. November 15
They're a married two-piece band, but unlike the White Stripes they're not the worst thing to happen to music in the last twenty years. Country, folk and blues all blend in to catchy tunes you'll be spinning over and over again.Twiddle Bluebird Theater : 9:30 p.m. November 15
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.
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