The seven best shows in Denver this weekend
The Dodos play Larimer Lounge on Friday
It was kind of cold and crappy this week, but that was just a way to enhance your appreciation for this weekend, which is supposed to be the kind of beautiful where cartoon birds appear from trees. Ride your bike to one of these shows:
For anyone else, releasing an album titled Suite #420 on 4/20 would be overkill. For Devin the Dude, it's an understatement. The veteran MC has made a career of rapping about pot in all its glorious and manifold forms, though that career has been less than blazing lately: After starting out as a Rap-A-Lot labelmate of Scarface and Geto Boys in the '90s, not to mention guesting on songs by De La Soul and Dr. Dre, Devin has never broken through to a wider audience. Accordingly, his records have grown increasingly one-note and navel-gazing, with loping, bass-heavy jams rolling underneath the rapper's gently stoned flow. Suite #420 is no exception, but it's a given that Devin's perpetual goofiness-frozen-in-time haze resonates with his similarly medicated fan base.
A few years ago, the Dodos were in the process of smoothing out the more abrasive elements of their sound, cutting back on the clattering drums and frantic strumming in order to better highlight their gift for writing sticky, bittersweet pop songs. But with 2011's No Color, it seemed the band had recognized those noisy proclivities as a vital part of its DNA, an element (maybe the element) that made it more than just another indie folk act. With their melodic knack still intact and a renewed sense of stylistic vigor, also evidenced by last year's Carrier, the Dodos got back to being exciting.
For nearly four years now, Ellie Goulding has been steadily taking over the airwaves. Whether it's vocal features on the hottest new EDM tracks, dominating on her own with singles from one of her two platinum albums or appearing on remixed tracks from the world's biggest producers, the pop starlet from the English countryside continues to make inroads and gain momentum.
Despite a name that translates to English as "geometric patterns," Tokyo's Kikagaku Moyo doesn't exactly make math rock. Still, the psychedelia the group delivers, suggestive of larger patterns that fold into themselves, bears out the moniker more than a little. The music seems directly influenced by the likes of Flower Travellin' Band and Yellow Magic Orchestra. And with Japanese psych brethren Acid Mothers Temple, Kikagaku Moyo shares a nervy, channeled urgency. Meanwhile, the band's soon-to-be released album, Forest of Lost Children -- perhaps a reference to Aokigahara -- reveals an undercurrent of Middle Eastern tonal instincts.
Celebrate the geeky side of life all weekend at the third annual May the Fourth Be With You. As in past years, organizer Dan Landes and his partners have lined up a slate of geek-friendly fun that's a little different than the typical con experience, but just as accessible to everyone who loves starships, wizards and ray guns.
"It's not just Star Wars. You can do whatever you want within this huge genre, from steampunk to Star Wars," Landes says. "There's a whole generation of us, and new generations coming up, that are really identifying with comic books and sci-fi and Star Wars as part of their culture and part of their mythological makeup."
Three days of nerdvana kick off tonight with a show headlined by In the Company of Serpents at 3 Kings. Saturday brings another concert, featuring Itchy-O and Men in Burka, paired with a science-fiction- and fantasy-themed costume contest emceed by Andrew Novick. Sunday starts with a bottomless-mimosa brunch and finishes with Mile High Sci-Fi's take on Dreamscape. Costumes and general nerdery will be strongly encouraged at all times.
The fun starts at 8 p.m. at 3 Kings Tavern, 60 South Broadway, and continues at a variety of venues; tickets for the whole weekend are $35 in advance, or you can pay for individual events. For details, including a full schedule, visit maythefourthdenver.com.
Native Daughters was formed just before local guitarists Eddie Maestas and Thomas Chagolla wrapped up their affairs in the inventive and cathartic post-hardcore band Mustangs and Madras. The two wanted to start a heavy instrumental band inspired in part by Isis and Neurosis, so Chagolla switched to drums and they recruited Gene Martinez on bass and Colin Madden on drums. When that mix of sounds seemed out of balance, the group brought in various guitarists -- including Justin Hackl of Only Thunder and Trees, who provided the technical proficiency that allowed the music to jell into a vivid soundscape.
Shady Elders started as a two-piece fronted by Britt Rodemich in 2011. Rodemich found a kindred spirit in guitarist Miles Eichner; the former Tulip Wars guitarist shared her love of dreamy, pop-oriented post-punk, as well as blues and jazz singers. When the Don'ts and Be Carefuls started winding down, Casey Banker filled the bass slot, and the trio then recruited drummer Marlon Chance of Spires.
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