The Nine Best Concerts in Denver This Week
Skrillex headlines CU-Boulder's Balch Fieldhouse on October 15.
As with last weekend, there's a decent assortment of acts, from Skrillex at Balch Fieldhouse at CU-Boulder with GTA, Nadastrom and Alesia, to Sondre Lerche, Big Freedia, Shonen Knife and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. The rest of our picks are below.
Born of Osiris Summit Music Hall, 7 p.m. October 13
Thousands of years before Anton LaVey, Billy Graham, Glenn Danzig, or even ol' Jesus Christ were around, there was Osiris. See, Osiris had the heavy task of being the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. His son, Horus, was a pretty bad dude too as he was the god of vengeance, sky, protection, and war. Fast forward about 5000 years to a suburb of Chicago where some guys formed a band originally called Diminished. They went through a few other monikers before finally setting on Born of Osiris, named after the aforementioned Egyptian god and the tale of of his son. No, these guys don't play watered down teen pop, they play visceral in-your-face deathcore.
The Mowgli's Ogden Theatre, 7:30 p.m., October 14
The Mowgli's was started by a group of friends who wanted to make music with universal appeal. The act's sound is rooted in the kind of breezy, folk-inflected, psychedelically tinged music from Southern California that dominated the '60s and '70s, and its outlook is imbued with a positive spirit that matches the summery pop confections.
Big Freedia Bluebird Theater, 8 p.m., October 14
The undisputed queen of bounce, Big Freedia took the world outside of New Orleans by storm when she brought the genre to the forefront with 2010's Big Freedia Hitz Vol. 1 and the twitchy single "Y'all Get Back Now." Before Freedia, bounce music was a very region-specific movement, a musical delicacy that had been growing since the early '90s in New Orleans. But once she took the style semi-mainstream, its call-and-response vocals set to infectious grooves, along with its audience-participatory dance component, made bounce instantly popular. Creating an inclusive dance-floor atmosphere with her "everyone is welcome" attitude, Freedia has toured with acts as sonically diverse as the Postal Service and Matt & Kim. Spreading the bounce gospel through live shows laid the groundwork for her staying power, but audiences were also able to get to know Freedia as more than a performer through her reality show Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce, which began airing in 2013. Still, she is a dancer and MC first and foremost, and Freedia has worked tirelessly to bring attention back to her home town and the culture thriving there.
Johnnyswim Gothic Theatre, 8 p.m., October 14
The husband-and-wife team of Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez are the creative center of Johnnyswim. They came together as independent songwriters in Nashville in 2005, later capitalizing on a different kind of chemistry and marrying four years later. Working their fingers to the bone has been all that Sudano and Ramirez have known, though they're now gaining some serious traction with the release of their record Diamonds, their first album since the band's inception.
Skrillex Balch Fieldhouse, CU-Boulder, 7:30 p.m., October 15
Sonny Moore started out as lead vocalist in the California-based hardcore band From First to Last in 2004. But you probably know him better as Skrillex (a handle he adopted a few years back), the masses' highest-profile ambassador of EDM and essentially the mainstream pioneer of American dubstep. Prior to garnering five Grammy nominations and taking home three statues, Skrillex gained a following by hitting the road and making his way to every off-the-grid college town in the country. Those early grassroots efforts paid off: Now he sells out shows all over the world, including the Canadian one he traveled to by train on the Full Flex Express tour with Pretty Lights and Diplo. Whether or not you're a true dubstep aficionado, you'll find Skrillex's hooks catchy, his tracks flawless, and his performance on par with any rock show, right down to the head-banging. Tonight, GTA, Nadastrom and Alesia are also on the bill.
Sondre Lerche Bluebird Theater, 8 p.m., October 15
Only in his early thirties, Norwegian pop-song craftsman and singer Sondre Lerche already has a slew of EPs and nine albums under his belt, including the soundtrack to Dan in Real Life and his brand-new disc, Please. Hell, the guy wasn't even of legal drinking age in the United States when he released his 2002 major-label debut, Faces Down, on Astralwerks. It was clear early on that Lerche had an innate understanding for catchy hooks and how to deliver bittersweet lyrics with a sunny disposition. Anyone not familiar with Lerche's charm and pop sensibilities might start with 2004's Two Way Monologue, a supremely magnificent effort that could very well be considered Lerche's finest work. But Please is a damn fine album as well, and it shows how much he's matured as a songwriter while getting a bit more adventurous.
Daedelus Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, October 16
The music of Daedelus sounds like steampunk IDM, chock-full of strange boops and loops that would sound right at home recorded on wax cylinders. Perhaps it's only appropriate that an artist who looks like a foppish dandy from the Victorian era would produce dusty, antique tunes from a make-believe time when clockwork robots play steam-driven synthesizers. Growing up, Daedelus was trained in classical and jazz and came to the world of electronic music through Warp and Ninja Tunes. He got into deejaying the weirder side of drum-and-bass and eventually became the anachronistic and idiosyncratic artist he is today. He took the name Daedelus as a nod to the mythological Greek inventor, and it fits his work: He's nothing if not inventive.
Shonen Knife Oriental Theater, October 16
For a simple idea to last rather than annoy, it's got to be a mighty good one -- like, for instance, the concept behind Shonen Knife. Since the early '90s, when the band regularly opened for Nirvana, sisters Naoko and Atsuko Yamano have built their music upon rock and punk rudiments. However, the Yamanos' chirpy vocals and absurdist lyrics, which resemble charmingly imperfect translations, twist the formula so amiably that complaints about gimmickry seem churlish.
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey Dazzle, 7 p.m. & 9 p.m., October 14 & 15
Since forming in Tulsa nearly two decades ago, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey has changed its line-up nearly as many times as the band's chameleonic approach to music has changed over the course of close to two dozen albums. While the act has delved in a multitude of styles, including rock, funk and electronica, there has always been a communal ear bent toward jazz, especially in the extended improvisations. JFJO's new album Worker, released this week on Royal Potato Family, is proof that the guys in band (now back to a trio) don't like standing in one place.