The nine best concerts in Denver from April 28 to May 1
There's plenty going on in the friendly confines of Denver this week, but if you're looking for a field trip, we advise going to see Warpaint at Belly Up Aspen or Gogol Bordello in Boulder. Of course, you could also just see the latter at the Ogden later this week.
There are some great ones in town, though. Dillinger Escape Plan has just about the most thrilling live show going, and Childish Gambino brings his excellent new record to the Fillmore. Danny Brown plays in Fort Collins this week, but that show's so great we just decided to include it here anyway. The rest of our picks follow.
Ingrid Michaelson at the Ogden Theatre: Monday, April 28This New York singer-songwriter has become an inescapable presence on TV, with her songs becoming background music on numerous morning and late-night shows alongside her many appearances and the inescapability of the warm, sweet "The Way I Am" from 2006's Boys and Girls. Over the last eight years,
Michaelson released another four discs, including the brand new Lights Out, which features the single "Girls Chase Boys."
On We Are Scientists' major-label debut, 2005's With Love and Squalor, the Brooklyn-based dance-rock trio proved that you don't have to be British teenagers to conquer indie clubs and dance floors. In any other context, guitarist/vocalist Keith Murray's angst-filled and lovesick lyrics might seem emo, but dorky danceability, a snot-nosed punk edge and a knowing wink inject more than enough helium to lift the mood. Since then, the act released another three discs, including TV en Français , released in March on the Dine Alone imprint.
Danny Brown at the Aggie Theatre: Tuesday, April 29 One of hip-hop's most distinctive (read: shrill) voices, Danny Brown ascended to the upper echelon of indie hip-hop following the success of his 2011 album, XXX. With a strong dose of humor and a stronger dose of psychedelics, the record got love from critics and fans alike for its absolute freshness. XXX might share unambiguous drug references with more mainstream hustler raps, but that's where the similarity ends. Far from being a new face in the game, the Detroit native had paid dues with mixtapes and albums, including collaborations with Black Milk and G-Unit's Tony Yayo, since 2008.
The Dillinger Escape Plan came out of the hardcore scene of Morris Plains, New Jersey, in 1997. Former members of Arcane -- including Dillinger's remaining original member, guitarist Ben Weinman -- got together and wrote songs with a savagely mathematical precision, adding a more adventurous sonic spirit than what was generally heard in hardcore. After the release of its debut album, Calculating Infinity, in 1999, Dillinger caught the attention of Mike Patton, who brought the band on board for what would be Mr. Bungle's final tour. Despite the inexorable forward momentum and chaotic clangor of the music, there are multiple rhythms that separate and come together, giving Dillinger a sound of amplified outrage.
Three years ago everything was coming up Donald. Community had hit its stride, his standup was legit, and now started touring as his musical alter ego. While Donald Glover raps and sings well as Childish Gambino, the entire thing's derived from the same sweet-hearted and cagey source as his concurrent career facets: in a world full of hashtags and haters, what does it mean to be real, funny, or hip-hop? And are all those the same? He's too young for this shit.
Over the past dozen years, the Bad Plus has established itself as one of the most daring jazz trios in the world. And in that time, pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King have proved they can easily maneuver through hard-hitting energetic songs, tone it down on ballads or turn other folks' songs inside out and make them their own. While primarily an acoustic trio, the Bad Plus lays down layers of synths and electronic drum sounds on the 2012's Made Possible. On the its latest effort, the trio tackles Igor Stravinsky's insanely complex ballet, The Rite Of Spring.
One of the more highly charged bands of the last decade or so, Gogol Bordello has become legendary for its vigorous live sets. The outfit, which injects punk into gypsy music, was started in New York in 1999 by Ukrainian frontman Eugene Hutz, and it's been going strong ever since. Eventually the group, whose eight members hail from five different continents, started throwing Latin rhythms, reggae and a whole of lot of other stuff into a potent mix. Last summer, Gogol Bordello released its sixth album, Pura Vida Conspiracy.
Even though its spidery, melodic math rock sounds like it was produced in the same Louisville, Kentucky, scene that spawned the likes of Slint and Rodan, A Minor Forest actually got its start in San Diego. But it wasn't until the group relocated to San Francisco in the early 1990s that its sound truly jelled. With its profanely humorous and irreverent song titles, the band fit right in with Steve Albini and Bob Weston, who recorded its debut album, Flemish Altruism, in 1996. The punk-inflected, sophisticated music inspired much of the more artistically ambitious, emo-inflected indie rock that followed. In November 2013, A Minor Forest performed live for the first time in fifteen years. By all reports, it's better than it was during its initial run.
Ever since his pancake-making, pop culture-spackled spoof of Chris Brown's 2011 club hit, "Look At Me Now," went viral, Mac Lethal, already a fierce, fast rapper, has had the attention of internet/rap crossover geeks everywhere. An obviously funny guy, Mac's lyrical prowess shouldn't be underestimated; he is lethal. After four albums and a boatload of mixtapes, he's amassed a considerable underground following, but little to no mainstream success. Attribute that to his refusal to water his music down.
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