Welcome back to the work week. How was the weekend? A bunch of great shows, eh? Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks with Macklemore, Eli Goulding at the Ogden Theatre, Brother Ali and Danny Brown at Cervantes' and Hot Water Music at Summit Music Hall. What did you catch? Bunch more shows this week, including El Ten Eleven, Pallbearer, Ed Sheeran and more. As always, we've got them all listed in our concert calendar, or you can keep reading for a full rundown of the five best shows in Denver this week.
5. EL TEN ELEVEN @ FOX THEATRE | FRI, 2/8/13 Los Angeles post-rock duo El Ten Eleven isn't your run-of-the-mill indie-rock two-piece. For starters, their live sound isn't stripped down like fellow duos Matt & Kim or the White Stripes, and they don't have to rely on drum machines or pre-recorded backing tracks to faithfully reproduce their recordings, like the Kills and Sleigh Bells. Instead, guitarist/bassist Kristian Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty rely on an array of effects pedals and a looping machine to create intricate atmospheric works that actually do sound as big live as they do on record. What's more, El Ten Eleven's danceable melodies pack enough of a punch so that audiences forget they're watching a dreaded instrumental band.
4. SHADOWS FALL @ BLACK SHEEP | TUES, 2/5/13 Formed 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, Shadows Fall established its own label, Everblack Industries, in time for the release of Retribution. Fire From the Sky, its latest effort, explores eschatological themes that are very much in vogue with 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.
3. THE JEALOUS SOUND @ MARQUIS | MON, 2/4/13 The Jealous Sound came together when former Knapsack guitarist and singer Blair Shehan got together with some of his friends who had also been members of melodic punk bands of the '90s, including Pedro Benito of Sunday's Best, John McGinnis of Neither Trumpets Nor Drums and Adam Wade, who had drummed for Jawbox and previously had a stint in Shudder to Think. The group's sound was at once a continuation of and an evolution beyond the sort of music the foursome had helped to pioneer in their earlier projects. Around 2006, Shehan experienced a bit of a personal crisis, and the band effectively split, but within the last few years he returned to what he knew best. In 2009, the Jealous Sound opened for Sunny Day Real Estate on that band's reunion tour, and last month, Shehan and his bandmates released their first full-length in nearly a decade, A Gentle Reminder. We spoke with Shehan about his early years in punk and one of the catalysts for reconnecting with his creative life in a healthier way.
2. PALLBEARER @ MARQUIS THEATER | WEDS, 2/6/13 Pallbearer came out of the underground metal scene of central Arkansas. The band was formed in 2008 by bassist Joseph D. Rowland and guitarist and vocalist Brett Campbell, who had been playing together in SPORTS, an outfit that perhaps unintentionally upped the ante on Jucifer's own extensive use of amps on stage. For this project, Rowland and Campbell pared back to the essentials but further explored the psychedelic and atmospheric possibilities of heavy music. With clear nods to the likes of Black Sabbath and Sleep, Pallbearer weaves unconventional melodies and extended hooks from dense, low-end guitar sounds. The group's latest release, 2012's Sorrow and Extinction, also reveals a band that does more than dabble in the haunting, minimal yet expansively layered composition style of Popol Vuh.
1. ED SHEERAN @ 1STBANK CENTER | TUES, 2/5/13 At barely 21, Halifax, England-born Ed Sheeran has found a solid American teenage fan base for his crooning -- a heartthrob positioning that works well for the singer's coy style. Existing somewhere between the gentle intonation of Damien Rice and the soulful acoustic exploits of James Morrison, Sheeran still has a sound all his own, breaking up surefire love songs with an unbeatable flow and turn of phrase. Seeing huge success in his home country before taking his music to an international stage, Sheeran gained momentum as a supporting act for a portion of Snow Patrol's 2012 tour. He'll spend some of 2013 on the road with Taylor Swift -- he shared vocal duties on "Everything Has Changed" -- but the singer can definitely hold his own in the arena setting. His seemingly unavoidable single, "The A Team," is up for a Grammy this year, and he's coming through Denver on a massive headlining tour.
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