The ten best concerts in Denver this weekend
Reverend Horton Heat at the Ogden Theatre is one of the ten best concerts in Denver this weekend.
Welcome to the weekend, friendos! Mere hours away from quitting time, and there's so much great music to look forward to this weekend. We've got some choice grooves on tap from Disco Biscuits, who are closing out their three-night Colorado run tomorrow night at 1STBANK Center, some heavy goodness from Down at the Summit tomorrow night, and a slew of CD release shows from Rachel & the Kings, P-Nuckle, FaceMan, Anchorage and the Eye & the Arrow. Keep reading for a full rundown of the ten best concerts in Denver this weekend.
Just in case anyone forgot how long the Reverend Horton Heat has been around, he reminded everyone during the first 45 minutes of his last show the Ogden Theatre last January by playing a song from each of his albums in chronological order, from 1991's Sub Pop debut, Smoke 'em if You Got 'em, to his most recent effort, 2009's Laughin' and Cryin' With the Reverend Horton Heat. After each of the first ten songs, Heat would call out what number album the band was about to play a song from, and just before they kicked into a raucous take of "Jimbo Song," from their fifth release, 1998's Space Heater, Heat said the album was widely recognized as the worst album the trio ever did. "The experts, they all agree," Heat said.
Tennessee's Whitechapel crafts its malevolent deathcore with three guitarists. The down-tuned doom of this act is marked by finger-widdling flurries and false harmonic squeals, Phil Bozeman's disturbingly possessed post-Pantera vocals and a rhythm section that attacks with a cornered, Gaddafi-esque cruelty. Albums like A New Era of Corruption is both a triumph of actual songs over pure riffs and, in the wake of the tragic death of Bozeman's mother, a monument to pessimism ("The Darkest Day of Man" and "Single File to Dehumanization"). Technically excellent yet utterly heartfelt, Whitechapel is a soundtrack for cynical teens moving out of their parents' shadow and into the world -- and that's no small achievement.
On songs like "Honey Wine," from If by Fire, Eye & the Arrow's latest effort -- whose release is being celebrated tomorrow night at the hi-dive -- Paul Dehaven's vocal cadence and the synthesis of sounds created by the band evoke the country-blues rock of the Grateful Dead on albums like Workingman's Dead. But as Fire progresses, the music more closely resembles that of the Meat Puppets on their second album -- not countrified psychedelia so much as psychedelicized country rock. But this is no mere throwback or imitation of a bygone era. The tastefully intricate guitar solo in the middle of "Wild Buffalo" fits elegantly into the tune's overarching melody and structure, revealing an impressive attention to detail and songcraft. Likewise, the sense of movement in "Stutterbeat," which is accented by breaks in the rhythm and interludes of guitar filigree, suggests a peaceful returning home.
Formed in 2008, Anchorage initially cultivated the metalcore sound heard on its first album, 2010's I Have Seen Further, and a follow-up EP, 2011's Truth in Adversity. But the limitations of the style didn't fully suit singer and founding member Kevin Gentry as he developed musically. So last year, Gentry and guitarist Roy Catlin recruited their friend Scott Kelly, formerly of Kimber, as a second guitarist, and, when drummer Brice Job decided to move to South Dakota, enlisted Joe Hittle, who learned the drum parts in the month and a half between Job's departure and the already-booked recording sessions. In another fortunate quirk of fate, the group found Derek Arrieta to play bass. The results of these additions can be heard on Patience, an album that has some of the musical trappings of melodic hardcore and metal but takes fascinatingly decisive departures from tropes of each art form.
When some bands finish a new album, they unveil it to the masses with a straight-forward release show. They assemble a few kindred acts and call it a day. FaceMan is not your average band. When this act releases a new record, it throws a massive party, one in which the members enlist all of the best musicians in town for a hootenany of sorts. For the third annual edition of FaceMan's Waltz, as the shindig has been dubbed, the guys have tapped everyone from Mike Marchant and A.Tom Collins to members of Wheelchair Sports Camp and Boba Fett and the Americans to help celebrate the release of Talk Talk Talk, FaceMan's new album.
Having endured numerous lineup changes over the course of its nearly decade long career, P-Nuckle has steadily built up a devoted fanbase by gigging with an unrelenting, steadfast determination. With four albums already under its belt, the outfit, led by Chris LaPlante, is on the celebrating the release of its fifth record, The System, its most solid effort to date. While the band started out more on the rambunctious, straight up partying side of things, the group has continually progressed into something more substantive, and The System fully reflects that growth. P-Nuckle sounds more polished than ever.
In the short time that James has been fronting Rachel & the Kings, the band has accomplished a great deal, from winning national contests such as Ford's Gimme the Gig -- besting some 700 bands from across the country in the process -- to landing one of the top three spots in KTCL's annual Hometown for the Holidays promotion for the tune "Fall Down." All of this success has come before the official release of Tonic, the group's first album, which is due out this week. "We're so new," James points out with a note of disbelief. "Things have happened so fast. We haven't released an album yet, but we already feel like we have a lot of traction." [Continue reading full profile]
Putatively named after Dan O'Bannon's character in John Carpenter's shlocky 1974 science-fiction film Dark Star, this band was started in San Diego in 1998 by Three Mile Pilot's Armistead Burwell Smith IV and Rob Crow, who had been involved in various experimental bands of the time, including Heavy Vegetable. While the outfit didn't exactly invent math rock, it did take a certain musical precision and employ it in inventive, emotionally expressive ways rather than using the music as a mere display of technical prowess. Thanks to 2001's Blue Screen Life, Pinback broke away from being a truly underground phenomenon, while the band's three subsequent albums revealed its breadth of creativity. Last year's Information Retrieved finds the band working its signature textures into entrancing, transporting atmospheres.
Down got together in 1991, when Pantera's Phil Anselmo teamed up with Corrosion of Conformity's Pepper Keenan, Crowbar's Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange and Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod. United by a mutual love of doom and sludge metal, Down has to be considered one of the early pioneers of the style of music that later came to be called "stoner rock." Strange has since left the band, and his role on bass has now been taken up by Pat Bruders, also of Crowbar. This show presents the opportunity to see some true metal veterans revealing their individual roots in hardcore and fusing them fully with the heavier music for which each has become known.
Fresh off their Mayan Holidaze run in Mexico, the Disco Biscuits brings their Winter Inferno to Colorado for three nights of laserific goodness (the outfit played at the Boulder Theater and is due at the Ogden Theatre tonight, Friday, January 26). Nearing its second decade of existence, the Philadelphia-based act has finally settled in the role as one of the most sought after jam bands still touring. When the quintet, who is known for improvised renditions of their own complex songs, steps on stage, you never know if the journey is going to find the group exploring the depths of its creativity or wandering its seemingly endless catalog of studio gems. Adding Colorado's GRiZ and Michal Menert to the culminating third night of Winter Inferno, the Biscuits are set to kick 2013 off right with the most rabid fan base the group has ever seen.
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