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The ten best concerts in Denver this weekend

In Flames at the Boulder Theater is one of the ten best concerts in Denver.
In Flames at the Boulder Theater is one of the ten best concerts in Denver.
Eric Gruneisen

Welcome to the weekend! Another work week is almost in the books. Time to cut loose. If it's live music you seek, you've come to the right place. Tons of great music on tap this weekend, a diverse array of options whatever your flavor, everything from jazz and jam to hip-hop and hardcore to industrial and indie. We've got a full rundown of every show happening on the Front Range over the next few days in our concert calendar. If you'd rather take a more curated approach to crafting your itinerary, we've singled out the ten best concerts in Denver this weekend. Keep reading to see what made the cut.

See also:

- Profile: The Photo Atlas is as compelling as ever

- Tea Leaf Green's Reed Mathis on how improv is a spiritual discipline

- Daniel Svensson of In Flames on how touring has become a more global affair

10. CIRQUE SIDE OF THE MOON @ CASSELMAN'S | FRI, 2/8/13

One of the most beloved (and most duplicated) albums of the twentieth century, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon has been adapted into endless forms of live entertainment, from kid-friendly laser-light half-time shows to the Flaming Lips' brain-bursting acid tests. So it only makes sense that the album would be adapted to another exceedingly popular transgenerational concept, Cirque Du Soleil, and sprinkled with a little voodoo and Mardi Gras for good measure. The aptly named Cirque Side of the Moon: A Voodoo Mardi Gras Masquerade mixes acrobats, fire-dancers, burlesque and contortionists with the 1973 album played in its entirety by tribute band Wish We Were Floyd.

9. CHINGY @ ROXY THEATRE | SAT, 2/9

After his ubiquitous smash hit "Right Thurr" sprung a run of three albums certified at least gold, now six years have passed since his latest album, Hate It or Love It failed to crack the top ten. With 2012 came a new mixtape, Jackpot Back, and promises of a new album, No Risk No Reward for 2013.

8. PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND @ BOETTCHER | SAT, 2/9/13

Preservation Hall is one of the few pillars of old-school New Orleans-style jazz left in the world. The band, which was founded over five decades ago, has a style that's bouncy and upbeat, borrowing from Caribbean rhythms. At Boettcher, the band, which usually includes traditional Mardi Gras songs and old standards in its sets, is slated to team up with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

7. FRED HERSCH TRIO @ DAZZLE | THURS & FRI, 2/7-2/8

Early on in his career, pianist Fred Hersch played as a sideman to jazz legends like Joe Henderson, Art Farmer and Stan Getz in the late '70s. Since then, he's gone on to release a number of albums under his own name, while also proving that he's a masterful improviser. On his most recent effort, the two-disc Alive at the Vanguard, released last September on Palmetto, the five-time Grammy nominated pianist is in superb form running through new original compositions, as well as tunes by Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and Cole Porter.

6. VELVET ACID CHRIST @ CASSELMAN'S BAR & VENUE | SAT, 2/9/13

In 1990, Bryan Erickson started what would become Velvet Acid Christ with a few like-minded friends whose side and main projects had merged. Recalling early Death In June and Clan of Xymox, the act's debut effort, Fate, came across as the work of people capable of rapid reinvention. 1995's Neuralblastoma found the outfit incorporating urgent electronic percussion and a menacing undertone within the melancholic atmospheres of its music -- think Skinny Puppy, circa Too Dark Park. By 1996, Erickson was more or less helming the act alone, and acted as the primary songwriter until he went on hiatus in 2001 to transition into a healthier lifestyle. The time off didn't hurt. Last year, Erickson re-emerged with 2011 release Sounds of a Playground Fading, one of his strongest albums to date. Tomorrow night, Velvet Acid Christ performs live for the first time in over a decade.

5. BIG BOI @ BOULDER THEATER | SAT, 2/9

Legendary for his work with Andre 3000 as OutKast, Big Boi has gone solo, and he's making the most of his independence. Having lived somewhat in the shadow of Dre as the consensus second-best MC in rap's most beloved southern duo, with Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty and to a lesser extent Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Big Boi is making a run for the number one spot.

4. THE PHOTO ATLAS (CD RELEASE) @ HI-DIVE | FRI, 2/8/13

The Photo Atlas has put the finishing touches on its latest record, Stuck In the Honey Trap. Working with Jeff Kanan and Nick Sullivan at John Macey's Silo Sound Studios, the Photo Atlas has emerged with a promising album that sounds honed yet relaxed, with a sound that hasn't really deviated from the angular, dynamic, post-punk-inflected music of its earlier days. The band sounds loose and more comfortable in its own skin than ever, but it's also focused and bursting with the same nervous energy that made it such a compelling band from the start. The Photo Atlas celebrates the release of its new disc tonight at the hi-dive in the company of the Epilogues, In the Whale and New Lungs.

3. TEA LEAF GREEN @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | SAT, 2/9/13

Reed Mathis talks about improvisation like it's a mystical religion. The bassist for the San Francisco-based quintet Tea Leaf Green and former frontman of the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey sees a great deal of power in making music on the spot, and that passion will likely be front and center when Tea Leaf Green plays a string of dates in Colorado this week. While the band is expecting to release a new full-length album later this year, Mathis insists that none of that music will figure into these shows. Instead, he says, the concerts will be a mix of old and new, tracks pulled off studio and live recordings, as well as fresh tunes that didn't make the cut for the new album. And, of course, there will be plenty of improv to boot.

2. EVERY TIME I DIE @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | SUN, 2/10/13

A more apt name for Every Time I Die might be Every Time I Turn Around I Need a New Bassist. Since forming in 1998, the Buffalo-based outfit has gone through a string of four-stringers with an almost predictable frequency that could rival Spinal Tap and its infinite and seemingly inexhaustible pursuit of a permanent drummer. Fortunately, the low end isn't really the centerpiece here but more like a weight-bearing pillar propping up the intensity of act's metalcore savagery, Keith Buckley's eviscerating vocals and the torrent of relentless riffs.

1. IN FLAMES @ BOULDER THEATER | SUN, 2/10/13

In Flames was one of the flagship bands of the Gothenburg scene in Sweden of the early 1990s that included death-metal luminaries like At the Gates and Dark Tranquility. Those bands injected the savagery of death metal with melodic elements that made the music curiously more accessible without undermining its heaviness. After an inaugural EP, 1995's Subterranean, and the debut full-length album, Lunar Strain, In Flames started to hit its stride with its 1996 album, The Jester Race, considered by many critics a classic in the genre. Now with ten albums to its credit, the latest being the 2011 release, Sounds of a Playground Fading, In Flames isn't exactly a household name, but it is one of the most respected and popular bands in heavy music, not just for the quality of its songwriting, but also for its incendiary live show.





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