This week's concert offerings include Dierks Bentley at the big stage in Morrison and Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn taping at eTown in Boulder.
There are a few good ones in the actual city limits of Denver -- read on for our picks this week.Jurassic 5 Ogden Theatre : 8:00 p.m. July 21; 8:00 p.m. July 22
More than misogyny or materialism, intelligence and verbal skill are championed by Jurassic 5; the vocabulary is impressive and the verbal acrobatics the guys perform are outstanding. J5 carries the energy and excitement of a newer era group but bring the flavor of an old hip-hop act (the crew strongly echoes the legendary Cold Crush Brothers), and it follows musical cues that are classic in the truest sense.
Nick Waterhouse is more retro-minded than many musicians, but the singer-guitarist has turned his love of the past into a way of discovering who he is in the here and now. "You become something on the way there," he says about the various ways he's incorporated the influence of idols Mose Allison and Van Morrison into his own music. Wearing oversize spectacles and formal suits, Waterhouse slightly resembles Buddy Holly, while the cover art of his second album, Holly, evokes Herb Alpert and Ladies of the Canyon. The Orange County-raised singer, however, is more about vintage soul and R&B on such uptempo, horn-pumped numbers as "This Is a Game." Amid the Hammond-like organ, stylishly clipped guitar accents and overall early-'60s vibe of "High Tiding," Waterhouse urges, "Come close and see something moving in me."Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 7:00 p.m. July 21; 7:00 p.m. July 22
In September 1989, Soundgarden released its major-label debut on A&M, the exhilaratingly harrowingLouder Than Love
. A little over a month later, Nine Inch Nails' dark and brilliant debut album,Pretty Hate Machine
, came out on TVT. Neither broke huge in the mainstream, but both helped to define what would become alternative music in the '90s. Both bands wrote about confusion, desperation and pain, as well as the triumphant determination to weather life's hardships, and they did it with poetry and uncommon honesty. Though not a pioneer of industrial music, Trent Reznor brought that aesthetic into the mainstream without compromising his own artistic vision. Soundgarden, though associated with grunge, had its roots in Seattle's punk scene and has put out consistently vital records, including 2012's comeback album,King Animal.
These twin juggernauts of the alternative-rock era are no dinosaurs live, and shouldn't be missed.Hard Working Americans (with Jason Isbell) Boulder Theater : 8:00 p.m. July 22
An alt-country supergroup of sorts, Hard Workings Americans includes singer Todd Snider, Dave Schools (bassist of Widespread Panic), Neal Casal (guitarist of The Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Chad Staehly (keyboardist of Great American Taxi) and drummer Duane Trucks (of King Lincoln and of the Trucks family lineage). In January, the group released its self-titled debut, which is comprised entirely of covers by the likes of Randy Newman, Lucinda Williams, Kevin Gordon, Hayes Carll, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings.Dierks Bentley Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 6:30 p.m. July 23
This past decade's crop of mainstream male country singers isn't so much made up of outlaws and drunks as pop singers who happen to have a twang in their step. It was a logical progression, and it's hella easier to crossover to Top 40 in a pair of ripped jeans and T-shirt than nut-hugging Wranglers and a starched pearl-snap. Since 2001, Dierks Bentley, along with guys like fellow RodeoHouston performers Kenny Chesney and Darius Rucker, has been on the forefront of nice-guy country, singing the kind of tunes that John Mayer wouldn't kick out of bed. He has gone multi-platinum three times and released his first greatest-hits compilation in 2008 only four albums into his career. It probably doesn't hurt his chances that he poses with babies and puppies on the regular.Hard Working Americans Ogden Theatre : 8:00 p.m. July 23
An alt-country supergroup of sorts, Hard Workings Americans includes singer Todd Snider, Dave Schools (bassist of Widespread Panic), Neal Casal (guitarist of The Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Chad Staehly (keyboardist of Great American Taxi) and drummer Duane Trucks (of King Lincoln and of the Trucks family lineage). In January, the group released its self-titled debut, which is comprised entirely of covers by the likes of Randy Newman, Lucinda Williams, Kevin Gordon, Hayes Carll, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings.Summer Slaughter Tour Summit Music Hall : 2:00 p.m. July 23
Formed in Tampa -- the home of death metal -- in 1984, Morbid Angel may not have put out the subgenre's founding document (an honor generally bestowed on Possessed's 1985 masterpiece,Seven Churches
), but it can rightfully be considered one of its pioneers. The group's own debut album, 1989's nightmarish Altars of Madness, proved very influential; Trey Azagthoth's aggressive, slashing guitar style and technical yet creative leads can be heard in the sonic DNA of countless death-metal and thrash bands that followed in its wake. Morbid Angel enjoyed some breakthrough commercial success with 1993'sCovenant
s. The act headlines this year's Summer Slaughter Tour with Dying Fetus, The Faceless, Thy Art Is Murder, Goatwhore, Origin, Decrepit Birth, Within The Ruins and Fallujah.eTown Live Radio Show Taping: Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn eTown Hall : 7:00 p.m. July 24
Banjo virtuoso and multiple-Grammy winner Béla Fleck has a long and storied history as a master bluegrass player, but his musical scope reaches much further than that. Over the past few years, Fleck has performed locally in various settings, including with legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea, with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and with the Flecktones, the jazz-fusion act he formed with Victor Wooten in 1988. Tonight, he'll team up with his wife, Abigail Washburn, who's a heck of a banjo player and singer herself.Filter Summit Music Hall : 8:00 p.m. July 24
Before forming Helmet in 1989, Page Hamilton had been active in the New York underground scene in the '80s. Partly because of his jazz background and partly because he wasn't afraid to explore the possibilities of the creative use of distortion with guitar, Hamilton worked with Glenn Branca before joining the underrated, experimental rock group Band of Susans. It wasn't until Helmet's second album, 1992's Meantime, that Hamilton found himself in a band that enjoyed anything resembling mainstream success. Helmet's combination of noise rock and eruptive energy made it a kind of crossover success in an era when few bands with a foot in what was clearly heavy metal were taken seriously. The new lineup of Helmet is less claustrophobic and dense, but the band's overdriven melodies remain as vicious as ever.
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