The Fourteen Best Shows in Denver This Weekend
Elephant Revival plays a pair of shows at the Boulder Theater this weekend.
Once again, we bring you a selection of live music events happening in or around Denver, selected not completely randomly from the many excellent choices. Go out and watch some bands. It's good for the body and soul.
See also: Denver's Ten Best Small VenuesBarcelona Marquis Theater : November 7
Not to be confused with long-deceased New Wave band from Virginia called Barcelona, this indie trio hails from Seattle, a much cooler locale. And the music from this particular Barcelona is pretty cool, as well. Brian Fennell's piano-based songs are often compared with those of Coldplay and U2, and Fennell's songwriting ability indeed helps Barcelona maintain their indie credibility amidst such high aspirations.Jonathan Richman Chautauqua Community House : 8:00 p.m. November 7
Jonathan Richman began his career over four decades ago as the leader of edgy proto-punk messiahs the Modern Lovers -- ex-post-facto legends that wound up being the farm team for future members of the Real Kids, the Cars and Talking Heads. His erratic power-pop pulse has stabilized since then, though his sweat-soaked live shows are still equal parts dance party, therapy session and new-age revival. After his dubious newfound fame as the Chaplinesque troubadour in 1998'sThere's Something About Mary
, he now seems to be most recognized as a mugged-up postmodern goof -- which is funny only in the sense that Richman possesses about as much willful irony as does Norman Rockwell.Michel Menert Big Band Fillmore Auditorium : 8:00 p.m. November 7
Since his debut solo albumDreaming of Something Bigger
, Michal Menert has been steadily touring the country building a grassroots following in the same way Derek Vincent Smith of Pretty Lights did when first hit the scene. Menert has one fans over with his galactic spaced out grooves, which draw heavy influence from the golden eras of soul, funk and hip-hop. Tonight, Menert and his 18-piece Big Band headlines the Fillmore Auditorium, and Exmag, Marcello Moxy and Orchard Lounge will open the show.Thee Oh Sees Gothic Theatre : 8:00 p.m. November 7
Back in the late '90s, before the current wave of garage rock dominated, John Dwyer was making a similar noise. Though he has conducted many musical projects -- Coachwhips and Pink and Brown among them -- Dwyer's Thee Oh Sees have stuck around the longest, producing dozens of recordings in varying lengths and forms. The band's longevity can be traced back to Dwyer himself: The singer and guitarist found his lightning-rod groove with Thee Oh Sees, a manic energy that recalls Jerry Lee Lewis and never wavers, despite the musician's constant touring and musical output. Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees are inextricably linked to his hub of San Francisco, which has also produced the likes of Ty Segall and the Fresh & Onlys. But late last year the band took a break; the changing cultural and economic climate pushed Dwyer to rethink his adopted Bay Area home. The hiatus didn't last long, however, and Dwyer -- who's now based out of Los Angeles -- and Thee Oh Sees are back to touring, pushing their 2014 release, Drop, and proving that they're one of the better live acts in a well-worn genre.Visionquest Beta : November 8
There's an '80s movie starring Matthew Modine called Vision Quest; in it, Modine plays a high-school wrestler who wants to drop two weight classes. It's unfortunate, in a way, that the film even exists, because all of the pop-culture weight behind that title should really be supportingVisionquest
, which is what Ryan Crosson, Lee Curtiss and Shaun Reeves call the project that's taken up quite a bit of their 2014. All three are talented production and set-spinning artists in their own right, and collectively, they've built an impressive fan base over the decades, but when they work as a trio, their assorted influences and styles are in perfect balance with each other. The result is sophisticated dance-floor bliss that's going to sound gorgeous on Beta's system on Saturday, November 8, during one of the club's new 21-and-up Proper Saturday events.
Water Liars Lost Lake Lounge : 8:00 p.m. November 7
Noah Van Sciver
Tech N9Ne is here so often you'd be excused for thinking he lives here. He's doesn't of course. His mail is delivered to Kansas. But that's just where the rapper hails from, really. He lives on the road. And that's precisely how he's risen up through the independent ranks to command the same level of attention and acclaim as his much higher profile counterparts. You can be sure that anything he's gained along the way, he's earned the old fashion way. With his Strange Music empire, Tech has paved his own road and amassed a legion of fans whose devotion is second only to perhaps ICP. All of that would mean nothing, however, if Tech couldn't bring it. Needless to say, he can spit with the best of them.B.o.B Gothic Theatre : 9:00 p.m. November 8
In 2009, B.o.B announced that he was changing his name to Bobby Ray, pitting his two identities against each other on the mixtape B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray, saying, "I wanted to break away from that and not box myself in. Bobby Ray isn't a character -- he's really me." For a while, it seemed as if Bobby Ray might win the day with his debut album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, topping the charts from the get-go. Apparently, B.o.B couldn't stand being really him for very long, because by last year's release of Strange Clouds, he had gone back to B.o.B.Horse Feathers Bluebird Theater : 9:00 p.m. November 8
In 1932, the Marx Brothers released one of their classics, a movie called Horse Feathers. The music of the Portland, Oregon, group of the same name may not possess the inspired zaniness and slapstick of the Marx Brothers, but the band's earnest pastoral sound could have been created long ago on non-electrical instruments. But it also wouldn't be accurate to call what this outfit does "chamber pop," because despite incorporating classical instruments in its palette of sounds, the songwriting skews closer to the folk tradition than to pop.AJ Croce Swallow Hill Music Hall : 7:00 p.m. November 9
The legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, AJ Croce started his career at 18 opening for B.B. King and got signed to his firs record contract a year later. A little over two decades later, the roots rock singer-songwriter has released nine recordings, including his latest effort, this year's Twelve Tales, which was recorded in five cities with six different producers (Allen Toussaint, Kevin Killen, Jack Clement, Tony Berg, Mitchell Froom and Greg Cohen), who each helped bring different dimensions to Croce's songs.Hoodie Allen Ogden Theatre : 8:00 p.m. November 9
Hoodie Allen raps with a certain perpetual coming-of-age naivete that has solidified him a niche in the pop-rap market. On previous visits to Denver Allen was energy on top of energy, which made for an outstanding live shows. Since then, he's been working on his acoustic game, releasing Americoustic, which works surprisingly well for him. He's got the soft voice and boyish charm to win the hearts and/or admiration of the teenage audience as a singer and a rapper. It will be interesting to see if Allen can mature as a songwriter beyond worn-out hashtags and boasts into something more raw and unique.The Airborne Toxic Event Ogden Theatre : 8:30 p.m. November 6; 8:30 p.m. November 7
At their best, the Airborne Toxic Event features Stephen Merritt's baritone voice and wit, Arcade Fire's orchestral arrangements and pacing, the Strokes' catchy choruses, and the reference to a pomo novel to round them out as yet another indie rock outfit almost fit for the radio. Even if some continually accuse them of imitating their contemporaries, they're good at what they do, and if you're sick of listening to The Suburbs on repeat or could use a straightforward rock show bound to get your foot tapping and your heart swelling, the Ogden Theatre for two nights of the Los Angeles-based quintet.Elephant Revival's Birds of a Feather Autumnal Ball Boulder Theater : 8:00 p.m. November 7; 8:00 p.m. November 8
From the outside, Nederland might seem like little more than an enclave of hippies and home to the frozen tomb of Bredo Morstoel. But for years, bluegrass, jazz, blues, country, Celtic and psych have intermingled in the town's bars and restaurants to create a unique music scene. Elephant Revival had its 2006 debut at one of the area's cultural landmarks, the venerable Gold Hill Inn. The group's eclectic sound and engaging delivery create a sense of intimacy that feels like a glimpse into its collective daydreams; lead singer Bonnie Paine's commanding voice is striking in its emotional depth. Elephant Revival will be at the Boulder Theater on November 7 and 8 for a pair of shows dubbed the Birds of a Feather Autumnal Ball; fans are encouraged to come in costume.Miguel Zenón Quartet Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge : 7:00 p.m. November 8; 6:00 p.m. November 9
When Miguel Zenón performed last year with the SFJAZZ Collective (of which he is a founding member) at the Lone Tree Arts Center, it was evident that the alto saxophonist and several-time Grammy nominee was well equipped to tackle a night of Chick Corea's music. While Zenón, whose tone is sometimes similar to Kenny Garrett's, is well versed in jazz, the Puerto Rico native, who now lives in New York, is equally gifted in Latin jazz, as evidenced on last year's Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico. For this two-night stand at Dazzle, Zenón will be joined by pianist Luis Perdomo -- a longtime member of both Zenón's and Ravi Coltrane's groups -- as well as bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Eric Doob.
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