The five best shows in Denver from May 5 to May 8
There are many kinds of charmers in Denver this week: Holly Golightly brings her impressive catalog and excellent humor to the hi-dive, and later in the week cock-rocking joker/not joker Steel Panther plays the Ogden. The rest of our picks follow.
Falling in line with wild-energy predecessors like the Kinks and the Animals, Holly Golightly has carved out a niche as a throwback singer of jangly rock and roll. The British vocalist spent a few years of her early musical life in the Billy Childish-helmed garage-band girl group Thee Headcoatees, producing just a handful of recordings. But it was in the mid-'90s, when she decided to head out on her own, that Golightly really took off, releasing more than a dozen records, sometimes collaborating again with Childish. These days, the Nancy Sinatra-like singer can be found working with Texas-based musician Lawyer Dave as Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, giving her rockabilly sense a down-home, sometimes hokey swing. Still, her voice may be most familiar to American audiences from her decade-old duet with Jack White on "Well It's True That We Love One Another," from the White Stripes album Elephant. Whatever the musical con-text, Golightly's slow-motion style is immediately recognizable, and her latest release with the Brokeoffs, 2014's All Her Fault, continues to showcase her distinct, vintage sound.
Mastodon formed in 2000 after meeting at a High on Fire show -- at least that's the myth, and it suits this band that has made a name for itself as purveyors of the kind of metal that is less about speed and more about a groove and weightiness. In the dozen years of its existence, the Atlanta band has explored and evolved its sound over the course of six full-length albums, including the forthcoming Once More Round the Sun. Mastodon has been known to do split 7-inch records with bands playing a style of music very different from its own core sound, but that is part of what under-girds the group's appeal -- it's obvious these guys don't listen to just one type of music. At the same, the group's musical output also never tries to be all things to all people.
If anyone can make the bowling alleys and hip bar of Moe's Original Bar-B-Q feel like the sheltered stretches of the Appalachian woods, it's the Black Lillies. The quintet, headed by Cruz Contreras, specializes in the brand of American folk music that blossomed in isolated mountain communities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Lillies offer an eerily spot-on connection to the ballads and harmonies that came to define American music. They've clearly done their homework when it comes to the styles they play, and they've managed to put their own stamp on a long-entrenched genre. Contreras's tenor vocals, Trisha Gene Brady's harmonies, and instrumental support from Tom Pryor, Robert Richards and Bowman Townsend all combine to form a compel-ling musical time machine.
What if, in a perfect world, the music genre you love the most was the only one in existence and lived on forever? Steel Panther imagines this to be true, and tonight the glammish four-piece brings a full-on heavy-metal throwback show to Denver. The best part? Steel Panther isn't just a tribute -- it is also an equal mockery of the sometimes androgynous, hair-dominating days when Poison and Motley Crue owned MTV. The band gets it right by aiming right at the crotch of the genre, zeroing in on the humor of the oversexed days of Sunset Strip hair metal while balancing it with original and true-to-form hook-heavy songs.
Before Jeff Tweedy brought Nels Cline into the Wilco fold a decade ago, the adventurous guitar whiz was making dangerous and magical noise with folks like the Minutemen's Mike Watt, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, and the Geraldine Fibbers, as well as with his own groups. Since the Nels Cline Singers (which actually don't include any singers) released their 2002 debut, Instrumentals, the trio has been a vehicle for Cline to show just how far his scope can reach. As he did on 2010's Initiate, Cline explores insanely diverse terrain on his brand-new disc, Macroscope, the Singers' fifth album and the first with new bassist Trevor Dunn, who previously worked with Mr. Bungle and Fantômas. While Cline digs in and freaks out on a few cuts -- most notably during the second half of "Companion Piece" and on the visceral "Hairy Mother" -- he lays back somewhat on the Brazilian-flavored "Respira" and the chill, George Benson-esque "Red Before Orange."
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