The ten best concerts in Denver this week
Joe Bonamassa is a nouveau bluesman who favors a hybrid blues-rock sound that employs simple song structures and puts the emphasis on powerful fretwork, an approach that nods to a distinctive era of the 1960s, when British players such as John Mayall, Jeff Beck and Peter Green co-opted American blues and applied a heavier edge to it.
Captured! By Robots offers silly but thought-provoking entertainment while giving a glimpse of the absolute torment that awaits all inferior and pathetic humans -- all of 'em! -- who've entrusted their collective livelihood to modern technology. Full of fantasy and foolishness, CBR boasts the wisecracking of Mystery Science Theatre 2000, the mechanical precision of Survival Research Labs and the profane spectacle of Pinocchio making Geppetto his bitch. Droning keyboards combine with fast and furious rock-based music (and yes, the machines actually do play) for a "one-man" show with off-kilter jingles on bed-wetting, dildos, cancer and robot superiority.
Cusses is a super solid three piece from Savannah, Georgia, that got its start in February 2010 and released its debut this past fall. Those bemoaning the seeming dearth of solid rock bands these days would do well to seek this act out. Led by frontwoman Angel Bond, the band plays gritty rock and roll with an admirable urgency and sweetness that recalls a time when that alone was enough to command an audience.
Radkey is a band of brothers. That's not a figure of speech. They're blood relations. They're also completely badass. Listening to the siblings -- Dee, the oldest at nineteen, sings and plays guitar; Isaiah, seventeen, sings and plays bass; and Solomon, fifteen, plays drums -- get down and you'll be sold instantly and subsequently convinced that the fact that "rad" forms part of their name isn't a coincidence. Hailing from St. Joseph, Missouri, the Radkes were weaned on their adopted dad's record collection, and the three possess a proficiency that belies their age. Playing their first show in Denver, these boys are bound to leave the Mile High City with a bar full of new fans.
Simon Green's Bonobo project has taken chilled-out downtempo on a meandering journey through complex syncopation, sweeping strings and heavy bass lines since 1999, when he released the single "Terrapin" on the Tru Thoughts label. Since then, Green has created four full-length albums for both Tru Thoughts and the epic Ninja Tune. His use of exotic instruments such as the sitar blended with soulful, funky horns and gentle cymbals creates a soundscape reminiscent of a laid-back DJ Shadow. After finding acceptance on the DJ circuits in Ibiza and Europe, Bonobo took a few years off from production before releasing this year's excellent Black Sands, a work that proves he hasn't lost any of his sonic edge in the interim. Bonobo's albums are sweet, hypnotic and often melancholy; his live work kicks the energy up a notch while maintaining his signature blissed-out downtempo feel.
Polica, which hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota, features former Roma di Luna vocalist Channy Leaneagh, Ryan Olson of Gayngs fame, a pair of drummers, Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson and bassist bassist Chris Bierdan. Formed in the summer of 2011, the act came together rather quickly and garnered enormous praise right out of the gate first with its full-length debut Give You the Ghost. With a fiercely suductive electro sound kindred to acts like Purity Ring, JJ and XX, Polica, and particularly the vocals of Leaneagh, is patently irresistible.
Perhaps taking a cue from his pal Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, who's written and produced songs for an array of top shelf pop acts, Fray guitarist Joe King has been steadily making a name for himself on his own as a burgeoning songwriter in his own right. Prior to working on solo material, King co-wrote a track for American Idol winner Kris Allen and collaborated with Timbaland and Esthero on a tune from the former's album, Shock Value II. On the heels of releasing his debut single, "Need a Woman by Friday," featuring Trombone Shorty, which dropped last month on iTunes, King is playing a string of solo shows, this one at the Bluebird Theater with Nathaniel Rateliff and Night Sweats, and another on Sunday at the Fox Theatre.
This week's Root 40 Festival, which kicked off last night, continues through this Saturday with a slew of performances by an array of local and national acts like NEEDTOBREATHE (due on Wednesday, April 24, at the Ogden Theatre) across various venues up and down East Colfax at places like the Cheeky Monk, Independent Records, Prohibition, the Squire Lounge and the Irish Snug, as well as the Fillmore and the Ogden.
Always a Colorado favorite, the Disco Biscuits return to the Centennial state for three more nights of laserific goodness (two nights at the Boulder Theater this Thursday and Friday, followed by a show at Red Rocks this Saturday April 27, with Shpongle and RJD2). Nearing its second decade of existence, the Philadelphia-based act has finally settled into its role as one of the most sought-after jam bands still touring. When the Biscuits, who are known for improvised renditions of their own complex songs, step on stage, you never know if the journey is going to find them exploring the depths of their creativity or ambling through their seemingly endless catalogue of studio gems.
ALT-J @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | TUES, 4/23/13
With prime slots at this year's Coachella and millions of YouTube views, Alt-J is one of the hottest emerging acts in the country right now. Touring in support of its latest effort, The Lateness of the Hour, Alt-J plays a sold-out show at the Bluebird on Tuesday, which should be an absolutely rare treat for those who already have tickets. This fall, when the outfit returns, it is slated to perform within the much larger confines of the Fillmore. So this show should be one to remember.
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