The ten best concerts in Denver this week
Prince became a household name after the release of his third album, 1982's 1999. Over the years, his perfectly realized blend of rock, pop, funk and jazz has proved equally popular with audiences and critics. Throughout the '80s, Prince released hit records that broke genre barriers, not just in terms of radio programming, but within the music itself. His versatility and breadth of musical vision have influenced a broad spectrum of popular music ever since. Recently, Prince assembled a band called 3rd Eye Girl for his tour, which has him playing intimate shows in venues that are notably smaller than those in which he would typically perform.
While services for Leftover Salmon's lighting designer Joe Cahill were held this past Friday in his hometown of Yorktown Heights, New York, local friends and family are hosting a memorial benefit for Joe's daughter Cassidy tonight featuring the Motet and members of Leftover Salmon. Tickets for the memorial are $15, with no fees, and all proceeds will go directly to the Cassidy Cahill Fund. Donations can also be made directly to the fund at any Bank of the West location, or applied via Paypal. A raffle and silent auction will also be held to help raise funds. Our condolences to Cahill's many friends and family.
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. The group's latest album, One of Us is the Killer, comes out later this month.
Who knows why some albums are a success and others go unsung? Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons hit one of those pockets of luck with its latest album, Night Visions. While the new album may seem like a breakthrough, the group has been working hard for years -- touring extensively, writing constantly -- to garner the acclaim it's currently enjoying. The bandmembers rented a house together in their formative years, playing covers in bars to near-empty rooms to pay the rent. Before that, frontman Dan Reynolds reportedly drew inspiration from seeing live shows of bands like Arcade Fire and Jack White. Clearly, all that hard work has paid off.
The music of Excision (due at Red Rocks this weekend with Flux Pavilion, Zomboy, Dirtyphonics and Designer Drugs) is a fitting soundtrack to the desolate, gritty, apocalyptic landscape of a future ruled by homicidal machines. His tunes are warped, stuttering affairs studded with samples from both sci-fi and hip-hop (and probably some sci-fi hip-hop for good measure). Wobbly bass that can double as a sonic weapon is the foundation for eerie, meticulously designed timbres that create a claustrophobic atmosphere around his twisting beats. The resulting tracks are masterpieces of the dark side of the dance floor. As a DJ, he fuses his own tracks with similarly sinister material from other artists into a gnarly, rapid-fire blitzkrieg. If you think dance music should always be chipper, upbeat and lighthearted, Excision will scare you away.
Getting its start in what passed for a hardcore scene in Tokyo in the early '90s, Boris channeled more difficult to classify bands like the Melvins (from whom the act took its name) and Sleep, as well as noise and psychedelia. As a result, every Boris album is different, for better or worse, but always worth a listen. The act's 2005 album, Pink, was a bit of a breakthrough for the band in terms of its popularity, critical praise and commercial success. The group has released numerous albums and collaborative records with the likes of the Cult's Ian Astbury, Fushitsusha's Keiji Haino, Sunn O))) and fellow Japanese psych musician, Ghost's Michio Kurihara. Boris is heavy and dynamic but never boring.
Somewhere between Katy Perry and Lana Del Rey on the 2012 girl-pop scale, the Welsh-bred Marina & the Diamonds make big-budget, icy synth-pop that you can afford, without the candy-coated gimmickry. Perry comparisons will abound, but singer Marina Lambrini Diamandis is far sultrier and more scuffed-up than the California gurl. (Foul-mouthed, even.)
Pusha T and his brother No Malice rose to prominence as the Clipse with the single "Grindin'," which sported a minimal Neptunes beat of simple snaps and bangs, allowing its re-creation on lunchroom tables across America. Now, more than a decade later, Pusha T is on Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music label. Thanks to features on highlighted posse tracks such as "Mercy" and "Tick Tock" and his besting of Lil' Wayne in a quick musical feud on "Exodus 23:1," Pusha's star is on the rise, though he has yet to release his G.O.O.D. solo debut.
If you take your rap seriously, don't go to this show. Nothing about this group, which is made up of Internet phenomenon RiFF RaFF, ex-porn star Dirt Nasty and manchild Andy Milonakis, resembles the pure art of emceeing developed in New York in the late '70s. That's not to say that the group isn't talented, and certainly not to say that the show won't be entertaining. It will -- as long as you appreciate sophomoric humor, dick jokes, non sequiturs and absurdity.
Check out the influences of just about any bass player going these days, and you'll find a sworn allegiance to Primus's Les Claypool, who for seven albums and countless side projects and guest appearances has been warping the fat-stringed minds of rock bass men everywhere. Otherwise jokey in his lyrics, stage presence and overall imagery, Claypool puts on a veritable bass-guitar clinic each time he picks up his instrument in front of an audience. You'd be hard-pressed to find a mainstream band with more complicated time signatures and snakier rhythms, and Primus's stamp is felt on newer bands from Minus the Bear to System of a Down.
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