The ten best concerts this week: November 5-9
Die Antwoord at the Ogden Theatre on Wednesday is one of the ten best concerts this week.
Another week, another batch of great shows on tap. We've got all of the shows listed in our concert calendar if you've prefer to take a more hands-on approach to planning your itinerary. If you're looking for a more curated experience, however, as always, we've put together a list of the shows that are worth staying up late on a school night for. Keep reading for the full rundown on the ten best concerts in Colorado this week.
The many-headed Milo Greene has found its national footing this year on the strength of its exceptional self-titled debut full-length. The Los Angeles quintet employs masterful harmony and thoughtful composition to the end of one of the year's best folk efforts. Everyone but drummer Curtis Marrero sings and switches instruments, so what might have been a fairly staid live show should instead be dynamic.
Warren Bedell is one of the co-founders of Rhinoceropolis. But before helping establish that long-running DIY space, Bedell had been in the experimental post-punk/noise rock band Zombie Zombie. And while living at Rhino, he had his hand in numerous projects, including Spellcaster, which showcased his towering guitar experiments; the post-punk quartet MVP; and the train-wreck performance art that was Spellcaster's Rock and Roll Time Travel Committee. With his most recent project, No Funeral (due at Rhinoceropolis this Thursday, November 8), Bedell performs in a dense fog worthy of SunnO))), illuminated by bright, strobing, shifting colors. Seeing the act live is a lot like seeing some quasi-mysterious electro band that's been taken not only to the next level, but to the one after that, as well. Fortunately, Bedell's deft mutation of electronic pop music, and the way he weaves it in with his impeccable sensibilities for noise and production, offers more than what could have been just an inspired gimmick. (Mystic Bummer and Roomrunner are also on this bill.)
Before forming Helmet in 1989, Page Hamilton had been active in the New York underground scene in the '80s. Partly because of his jazz background and partly because he wasn't afraid to explore the possibilities of the creative use of distortion with guitar, Hamilton worked with Glenn Branca before joining the underrated, experimental rock group Band of Susans. It wasn't until Helmet's second album, 1992's Meantime, that Hamilton found himself in a band that enjoyed anything resembling mainstream success. Helmet's combination of noise rock and eruptive energy made it a kind of crossover success in an era when few bands with a foot in what was clearly heavy metal were taken seriously. The new lineup of Helmet is less claustrophobic and dense, but the band's overdriven melodies remain as vicious as ever. (Ume and Blast Pattern are also on this bill.)
Even though Metallica dragged thrashy speed metal into the mainstream with its "Black" album, most of the better, more imaginative practitioners of the style remained relatively obscure. While acts such as Testament, Voivod and Metal Church never became household names, their mixture of aggression, precision and obsession with the dark side of human nature cast an unmistakable pall on black metal and the bastard child of punk rock and thrash known as "crust." There is a bit of all that to be found in Skeleton Witch's music. The Athens, Ohio, act plays it straight up: no ballads, no inept, blues-based rock -- just frenzied intensity coupled with odd, unexpected melodies swimming amid sharp changes in time signatures. If you're into scarcely discernible vocals growled/shouted over the top of guitar lines that sound like swarms of insects, with manic, tightly controlled rhythms to match, then Skeleton Witch should be just your speed. (Denver's own Havok, Early Graves and Mutilation Rites are also on this bill.)
Andy Falkous and Jeff Egglestone were half of the caustic noise-rock juggernaut mclusky. When that band split, the pair formed the decidedly more political Future of the Left, whose songs are filled with the kind of incisive, biting invective you'd expect to hear from bands like Gang of Four or Crass. On 2009's Travels With Myself and Another, for example, there's a song called "You Need Satan More Than He Needs You," and on the more recent The Plot Against Common Sense is one titled "Robocop 4 - Fuck Off Robocop." Both are scathing criticisms of testosterone-fueled bravado and hypocritical piousness. Informed by poetic insight into society and the individual psyche, The Future of the Left's wicked sense of humor is a bracing and necessary antidote to today's political environment, in which spurious platitudes are often peddled as truth. (Andrew Jackson Jihad is also on this bill.)
Sub Pop recording artist Sera Cahoone grew up in Colorado -- Littleton, to be exact. By the time she was in middle school, she was playing drums for gigging bands, and in the early '90s, she formed the experimental-rock band Idle Mind with her friend Roger Green. Although one of the more promising local acts of the time, the pair split and Cahoone got a job in Seattle. She quickly became a fixture in that city's scene, playing drums in the studio for the first Band of Horses album and actively contributing to critically acclaimed indie-pop group Carissa's Wierd. Since 2006, Cahoone has put out a few solo albums on Sub Pop, including her latest, the tender and pastoral Deer Creek Canyon, named after her old stamping grounds. Reflecting Cahoone's lifelong love of old-time country music, the record also reflects Cahoone's love of her home state.
Ten years ago, Douglas Appling -- better known in most musical circles as producer and live PA impresario Emancipator -- picked up some production software and started playing around. He's come a long way since then, touring and sharing stages with some of his biggest influences (Bonobo among them), and he's proven through his sweeping, Eastern-tinged trip-hop tunes that downtempo's heyday didn't end when Massive Attack went mainstream. Emancipator's first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, gained some attention in Japan, and his song "Maps" was played at the Beijing Olympics; his second effort, Safe in the Steep Cliffs, proved that this producer can harness the haunting poignancy of instruments with deliberately placed effects, generating a gorgeous soundscape in which you can easily lose yourself. He'll treat Colorado to three shows this weekend: This one at the Fox Theatre in Boulder on Thursday, followed by a show on Friday, November 9, at the Ogden Theatre, and Saturday, November 10, at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins.
An unlikely cult band, Cape Town, South Africa's Die Antwoord makes the kind of music that brings EDM and hip-hop together with an aesthetic attributed to the zef subculture; frontman Ninja has discussed the role of zef in South African society as being akin to that of the pillars of hip-hop. With lyrics woven together from three languages spoken in South Africa, Die Antwoord would be interesting on a cultural level alone. But the ability to convey an image that is impossible to narrow down to a serious statement or a thumbing of the nose at expectations is something that has made this band more than just a novelty in its home country. Don't go looking for the joke with a microscope, because Die Antwoord's shows are an exercise in inspired performance art. (Azari & lll, Seth Troxler, Paul Kalkbrenner, Tiga, Gesaffelstein, and NicFanciulli are also on this bill.)
Cursive was one of the most popular and influential bands to have come out of the underground scene in Omaha, Nebraska, the same one that spawned Bright Eyes, the Faint, Azure Ray and Tokyo Police Club and Saddle Creek Records. Beginning in 1995, Cursive's brash, angular music coupled with sharp lyrics struck a chord with audiences who had maybe outgrown basic punk rock but not the defiant spirit found there as well as within Cursive's oeuvre. With the addition of singer and guitarist Ted Stevens, formerly of Lullaby For the Working Class, Cursive began to write an arc of concept albums that continue to this day, including its latest record, I Am Gemini, in which the group uses the mythology and imagery of the legendary twins Castor and Pollux as the core around which the narrative unfolds. (Minus the Bear and Girl in a Coma are also on the bill.)
When the Faint released Danse Macabre in 2001, it seemed like a nostalgic look back at the intersection of '80s new wave and post-punk. Now, after the waves of dance punk, electroclash and synth pop that followed in its wake over the past decade, the record seems positively prophetic. It doesn't hurt that the tunes themselves have held up remarkably well -- most of them, anyway. Perhaps that's why the band is reissuing the album in a deluxe edition and heading out to play it in its entirety for the first time ever. If you're not burnt out on the whole retro synths and drum machine beats topped with squalling post-punk guitar noise thing -- and you shouldn't be, as it's stuck around long enough to prove itself as a classic formula at this point -- this is a chance to catch one of the second-wave pioneers of the movement re-creating its finest moments live and on stage.
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