The five best concerts this week: 12/24-12/28
Yonder Mountain String Band
While many of you might be heading (or headed) out of town for the holidays, those of you who decided to stick around will be treated to a variety pack of local and national talent, with Speedwolf delivering some up-tempo trash at the hi-dive, Men In Burka dropping yet another new EP at the Larimer Lounge, The Wailers bringing a post-64 set to Boulder's Fox Theatre, Laura Goldhamer at the Oriental Theater and local jam favorites.
One of Denver's most treasured thrash-punk bands, Speedwolf, brings a bone-rattling energy and cohesive instrumentation that invariably leave the group's audiences a sweaty mess of adrenaline and whip-lashed glory. The band's 2009 release, Bark At The Poon, is an unvarnished romp of classic madness in the vein of Motorhead or Danzig, followed-up brilliantly in 2011 with Ride With Death.
Combining ominous witch-house beats with traditional Middle Eastern aesthetics, Men In Burka are a cranium-rattling force of electronic soul. While last November's triumphantly dark EP, War/Magic, has hardly had the chance to leave our stereos, the prolific band is already following it up with more new material, Cceruleann, which it will showcase at this Friday's Larimer Lounge show.
While the band's lead singer ended up with all the iconic glory, the Wailers were a consistently soulful, stylishly maleable band custom-made for the challenge of presenting regional Caribbean music to the pasty squares up north. Continuing in the wake of Marley's untimely death in 1981, the Wailers' lineup now includes classic reggae musicians Aston Barrett and Keith Sterling.
A longtime staple of the Denver music scene, Laura Goldhamer's quirky vocals and inventive rhythms are a warm treat during these chilly months. Beyond the adorably infectious music, her keep-it-local music projects have often been the beating heart of the underground community. Also on the bill is Capitol Hill's sonic-wizard Roger Green, whose mind-bending instrumental albums and brilliant production work on Esme Patterson's recent solo effort, have made him an in-demand name among Denver's Brian Eno sycophants.
More than almost any other, YMSB has helped define Colorado as the premier breeding ground for jam-band luminaries. Building on traditional blue-grass style and arrangements, the band has created a fresh, modern sound with its strong harmonies and whimsical instrumentation -- and crafted a reputation as a live favorite among the genre's most devoted audiences.
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