The five best concerts this week: Nov. 26-30
Action Bronson at the Fox Theatre and Cervantes' is one of the five best concerts this week.
Happy Monday! Another week, another great batch of shows on tap: After canceling a highly anticipated date this past spring, Action Bronson is more than making up for it with a pair of Colorado shows, one on Wednesday night at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, followed by another at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom on Thursday. We've also got shows this week from Tegan and Sara (supporting the Killers at 1STBANK Center), Interpol frontman Paul Banks, Shadows Fall and more. Keep reading for a full rundown of the five best concerts this week.
Whatever questions you direct at Asking Alexandria, you can be sure the answers will be delivered in some kind of scream. The Alexandrians trade in the breakdown-heavy thrashing known as metalcore, which, true to its name, combines the excesses of both metal and hardcore into one headache-inducing brew. Asking Alexandria likes to spike its metalcore screeching with the occasional melodic moment, and spices the whole thing up with the addition of synthesizers here and there. It's been a rewarding formula for the band, whose second album, Reckless & Relentless, sold enough to debut at number nine on the Billboard 200.
As the frontman of Interpol, Paul Banks helped to usher in the most recent wave of post-punk. His emotive quaver and resonance have often been compared to that of Joy Divison frontman Ian Curtis. Musically, however, it's clear that he's also absorbed the electrifying, percussion-driven darkness of the Comsat Angels and the harrowing emotional content of the Sound. Banks's recently released self-titled album (this past summer, he dispensed with using the stage name of Julian Plenti on his solo albums) is a reminder of what has made the guy a notable artist from the beginning: He's able to express existential crisis with poetic authenticity and a wry sense of humor, thus avoiding a crossover into maudlin melodrama. In addition, his knack for writing expansively emotive hooks inside shifting dynamics has reached a new plateau of refinement.
Writing blindingly sincere songs of insecurity and desire since 1995, Tegan and Sara Quin (due at 1STBANK this week with the Killers) have transcended the limitations of twee-heartbreak and grown into songwriters of impressive depth, clarity and style. The twin sisters were born in Alberta, Canada and began writing songs together at the age of fifteen, recording demos in their high school's recording studio. Following tours opening up for Neil Young and the Pretenders, Tegan and Sara released a series of increasingly poignant and infectious albums, including 2004's So Jealous and 2009's Sainthood. Both open about their sexuality, the Quin sisters have come to represent a new generation of LGBT musicians, artists whose naked humanity and love of indie-rock eclipse the world of disco glitter and sweaty beats that once defined gay pop music. After whetting fans appetites this fall with the single "Closer," the siblings are set to release their seventh studio album, Heartthrob, after the first of the year.
Forming in Springfield, Massachusetts in the mid '90s, Shadows Fall began as a melodic death metal band with some roots in hardcore. But around the turn of the century, the outfit took decisive steps to escape a genre rut, and the result was 2002's The Art of Balance, which served as a bracing statement of the group's then new phase of development. While not ditching melodic leads, the core songwriting explored a deeper immersion in thrash. In 2009, the act established its own label, Everblack Industries, in time for the release of Retribution. Fire From the Sky, the group's latest effort, explores the kind of eschatological themes that are very in vogue with the date of the end of the Mayan calendar looming. But the songs are more about cutting out the dead weight in your life than about a literal end of days.
Whereas most indulgent rappers quantify their lavish life in terms of drank and weed, Action Bronson's primary vice has and probably always will be food. Before he gained notoriety as an MC with his 2011 studio debut Dr. Lecter, he was well respected as a New York chef (his lyrics are still garnished with references to foods of all sorts). But while he shares a profession with another well known New York Chef, Raekwon, the Wu-Tang member he most frequently draws comparison to is Ghostface Killah, thanks to his luxurious subject matter and piercing voice. Bronson, meanwhile, says that Kool G Rap is his biggest influence, and, with few exceptions, he has perfected the boastful art of Mafioso rap that G Rap pioneered better than anybody since Jay-Z and Wu-Tang in the '90s. Since his debut, Bronson has released another studio album, Well-Done, along with several mixtapes, most recently Rare Chandeliers, produced by the legendary Alchemist. Bronson hasn't found his Reasonable Doubt yet, but with several more projects in the oven, it will be interesting to see what he serves up next. (Action Bronson is also due at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom on Thursday, November 29.)
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