The outdoor concerts may be over, in spite of the summer weather going on in Denver right now, but there are plenty of shows to keep you busy. We can strongly, strongly advise seeing Flatbush Zombies, either in Fort Collins or Denver. Polica is wonderful. There are plenty more, observe:DJ Qbert The 1up Colfax : October 24
How influential is Richard Quitevis, aka Qbert, as a turntablist? Well, he's often credited with inventing the term -- an important and necessary accomplishment, because the old lexicon didn't contain words that adequately described his distinctive brand of artistry. As a key member of the Invisbl Skratch Piklz, a groundbreaking California crew that also included the equally skilled Mixmaster Mike, Quitevis understood that hip-hop DJs did more than make wicky-wicky sounds between raps.
Since releasing his debut album,Lookout Farm
, on ECM over four decades ago, saxophonist Dave Liebman performed with jazz heavies like Miles Davis, Elvin Jones and Chick Corea while also leading his own groups. More recently Liebman recruited a younger generation of players -- pianist Bobby Avey, reedman Matt Vashlishan, drummer Alex Ritz -- as well as his long-time cohort and bassist Tony Marino to form Expansions. The group's debut, Samsara , features dynamic and, at times, highly charged playing from Liebman and crew, whether they're delving into free jazz or re-imagining tunes by Davis or Thelonious Monk.Greensky Bluegrass Ogden Theatre : 9:00 p.m. October 24; 9:00 p.m. October 25
For more than fifteen years, Greensky Bluegrass from Kalamazoo, Michigan, has toured like it was a life mission. True to its name, its roots are in bluegrass -- but there's also an improvisational side to the music that recalls the more interesting guitar work of Jerry Garcia. On the strength of hundreds of shows, not to mention a mastery of the art form, Greensky Bluegrass won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition in 2006. Combining covers of traditional songs with excellent original material, the group is at its best in the live setting, as theAll Access
series of live albums attest. Greensky's extended improvisations, like some of the best music from the Allman Brothers and the Dead, are more inspired reinterpretation than indulgence.Flatbush Zombies & The Underachievers Aggie Theatre : October 24, Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom : October 25
As if torn out of the pages of a graphic novel, Flatbush Zombies are intense and ultra-stylized to an extent that is at once cartoonish and darkly gritty. Sometimes, in the case of very exciting music such as theirs, substance takes a back seat to style, but both of their mixtapes,D.R.U.G.S.
, get exponentially better with multiple listens. Thanks to the wild individuality of Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice and the remarkably advanced production of the multi-talented Erick Arc Elliott, Flatbush Zombies are already one of the best rap groups around, and they'll only get better.King Diamond The Paramount Theatre : 8:00 p.m. October 24
When Marilyn Manson was just a skinny punk practicing his pentagrams in the margins of his Algebra II textbook, King Diamond was already recruiting thousands of headbangers worldwide into the Brethren of Beelzebub. First it was with his hugely influential, early thrash/black metal band Mercyful Fate, then with his own group (since 1985). The King has delivered his tales from the dark side with an impressive vocal range, hard-charging sound and theatrical shows -- all with that goofy kabuki makeup on, making him seem like the lost member of KISS (you know, the one most likely to take Gene Simmons's bass and shove it up his ass). Since the '80s, the Dane (born Kim Bendix Petersen) has been cutting concept albums for a small but devoted following. Even though he peaked in the late 1980s, with discs like Abigail and Them, he still churns it out.John Michael Montgomery Grizzly Rose : October 24
With country music's "New Traditionalist" movement of the '90s officially pushing up daisies in the wake of the current Taylor Swift/Lady Antebellum/Sugarland country/pop movement, unabashed country singers like John Michael Montgomery have been shut out of the major-city arena-tour circuit and are now playing gigs in places like the Grizzly Rose. Along with Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black, Montgomery initially released recordings, beginning with his classic 1992 debut album, Life's a Dance, that were a fiddle-and-pedal-steel-laced reaction to the lame "urban cowboy" pop/country that had overrun Nashville during much of the '80s. Brooks, Jackson, Black, and Montgomery became superstars, which left them in a quandary: They were wildly successful, but country purists derided them as "arena country." Though the inevitable backlash escaped Brooks and Jackson (who can still pack arenas), Black and Montgomery have not had a significant hit in years, and lately the name "Montgomery" usually references country duo Montgomery Gentry (Eddie Montgomery is John Michael's older brother), whose singer/douchebag Troy Gentry has made headlines for shooting a tame, captive bear named "Cubby" with a bow and arrow during a bogus wildlife hunt.Musee Mecanique Hi-dive : October 24
For the most part, it's pointless to take a band's name too literally. For example, we've stopped hoping that we'll receive a coin every time I'm forced to listen to Nickelback. Occasionally, though, a group's appellation perfectly captures its aesthetic, as is the case with Musee Mecanique. This Portland, Oregon-based combo, led by the tandem of Micah Rabwin and Sean Ogilvie, shares its moniker with a San Francisco museum filled with antique music boxes -- and while listening to the songs on the act'sHold This Ghost
the image resonates. Take "Like Home," a wistful air whose bits and pieces mesh together in a manner that's craftsman-like but bracingly organic. Electronic instruments are part of the mix, but so are accordion, glockenspiel and brass that call to mind a time when the phrase "cranking it" meant gently turning a handle, not maxing out the volume.The Pains of Being Pure at Heart The Black Sheep : October 24
Like the Smiths and Teenage Fanclub before them, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart write songs that appeal to the spirit of innocence, exuberance and emotional fragility of young adulthood. The New York band's sparkling guitar work, headlong pacing and propulsive rhythms recall the music of C86 bands such as the Pastels and the twee pop of Sarah Records act the Field Mice. But instead of miming its heroes, the group writes with a similar wide-eyed, unrestrained spirit that manifests itself in urgent, incredibly catchy pop confections.Andrew McMahon Summit Music Hall : 6:30 p.m. October 25
Soon after graduating from high school, the singer-songwriter-pianist Andrew McMahon scored a Drive-Thru Records deal with his Orange County, California, quintet, Something Corporate. Upon releasing their 2001 EP,Audioboxer
, the emo-leaning piano-pop wavemakers were upstreamed into MCA Records (now part of Geffen) for their 2002 full-length,Leaving Through the Window
. The band soon toured with the likes of New Found Glory and graced the main stage of the annual Vans Warped Tour. By the time McMahon and company took to the road in support of 2003's North, they were already in mid-orbit. Andrew McMahon's story is a Behind the Music executive producer's wet dream. Soon after graduating from high school, the singer-songwriter-pianist scored a Drive-Thru Records deal with his Orange County, California, quintet, Something Corporate. Upon releasing their 2001 EP, Audioboxer, the emo-leaning piano-pop wavemakers were upstreamed into MCA Records (now part of Geffen) for their 2002 full-length, Leaving Through the Window. The band soon toured with the likes of New Found Glory and graced the main stage of the annual Vans Warped Tour. By the time McMahon and company took to the road in support of 2003's North, they were already in mid-orbit. Only McMahon hadn't quite prepared himself for the launch so he locked himself in his room and wrote a string of personal tunes that he was certain had zero commercial prospects that would ultimately become Everything in Transit, the debut effort from his side project McMahon called Jack's Mannequin.Rusted Root Gothic Theatre : 9:00 p.m. October 25
When Rusted Root formed in Pittsburgh in 1990, it made a world-beat influenced splash with a series of releases throughout the decade. During this creative period, the band released its most commercially successful song, "Send Me On My Way." The tune, which has been used on soundtracks for films likeMatilda
, features the hard-driving percussion and vocal style that have come to define the group's sound.Seth Troxler Club Vinyl : October 25
Seth Troxler, a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was instrumental in putting Detroit techno on the map two decades ago; since then, he's traveled all over the planet, spreading his gospel as one of the top sound-spinners alive. Troxler is inarguably a DJ's DJ: He's revered by his peers for his clean, powerful sound and his ear for novelty, and he's often named as an inspiration by others in his field. But he's also much beloved by fans around the globe, who pack the clubs and warehouses where he's booked so they can bliss out to his melodic, gorgeous techno soundscapes. He'll be back in Denver to play Vinyl, 1082 Broadway, on Saturday, October 25.Flyleaf Summit Music Hall : October 26
Straight outta Belton, Texas, Flyleaf started out as a teen-angst quintet that aims to inspire through depression. Lead singer Lacey Mosley's lyrics are rooted in her hardscrabble upbringing and early addiction issues, but rather than simply recap her personal tragedies, she infuses them with upbeat messages. "Fully Alive," for instance, from the band's 2005 self-titled full-length, is typical: Against a big-riff backdrop, Mosley alternately croons and wails about a girl who's overcome broken bones and bad times to stand tall "in her brilliant, shiny way." This brand of Hallmark metal has a pronounced Christian subtext, yet it's also got enough hooks and heaviness to attract the less cynical members of the black-lipstick set.Iceage hi-dive : 9:00 p.m. October 26
When Denmark's Iceage played to a packed house at Rhinoceropolis in 2012, from the beginning it felt like you were in an important moment. The stark iciness of the music was clearly coming from a place of raw emotion needing an outlet, and the crowd was swept up in that energy. Sometimes a show like this can get boringly out of control, with violence eclipsing any possible enjoyment, but this performance felt like everyone present was of a single spirit and discharging pent-up energies together rather than against one another. That unintentional togetherness is one of the marks of a truly great musical experience and not common enough.Polica Fox Theatre : 8:30 p.m. October 25; Belly Up Aspen : 9:00 p.m. October 26
Polica, which hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota, features former Roma di Luna vocalist Channy Leaneagh, Ryan Olson of Gayngs fame, a pair of drummers, Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson and bassist Chris Bierden. Formed in the summer of 2011, the act came together rather quickly and garnered enormous praise right out of the gate first with its full-length debutGive You the Ghost
. With a fiercely seductive electro sound kindred to acts like Purity Ring, JJ and the xx, Polica, and particularly the vocals of Leaneagh, is patently irresistible.The Presets Gothic Theatre : 9:00 p.m. October 26
The Presets play hard, banging electro, robotic, and filtered enough to please dance-music purists, but often vocal-oriented enough to reach the disco-punk crowd. Think of the Faint, shake off the retro-schlock pretensions and trite lyrics, and the resulting basic groove comes close.
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