The ten best concerts this weekend: October 5-7
The Epilogues' CD release show tomorrow night at Summit Music Hall is just one of the ten best concerts this weekend.
Welcome to the weekend, amigos! Cold enough for you this morning? Yeah, we're feeling all sorts of brrrrrr over here. Only in Colorado can you go from eighty degrees to the thirties in the expanse of a couple of days. Alas, though, there's relief on the horizion, plenty of hot music this weekend to keep you warm and to melt the Front Range deep freeze that's set in. As always, we've got all of the shows listed in our concert calendar if you want to customize your own itinerary. Otherwise, keep reading to get the full rundown on the weekend's hottest shows.
Kelly Joe Phelps began as just another kid locked in his bedroom hacking out Led Zeppelin riffs. He eventually broke free of the confines of hard rock to study classical guitar, delve into the free-jazz movement and discover a passion for blues-centric folk. This stylistic combination and an unwavering desire to play it his way in the face of commercial failure has garnered Phelps -- who's hailed as much for his distinctive finger-picking style as for his lyrical approach -- plenty of critical acclaim. To some degree, this leaves him in limbo. Although Phelps doesn't change styles as frequently as Britney changes wigs, he's done time as a purveyor of blues and folk, and, more recently, as a free-ranging, finger-picking, singer-songwriter coffeehouse type along the lines of Leo Kottke, with whom he's frequently compared. Somehow he manages to wrap it all together, even tossing a little jazz improvisation or the occasional rock lick into his repertoire of complex instrumental passages and intricately woven narratives.
The throaty vocals of Clarence Greenwood offer the appropriate audio cure for just about any of life's miseries. Since the '90s, this Southern crooner has written emotional tales for the Americana soul under his Citizen Cope moniker. Singing with his eyes closed through the start of the 21st Century, his relatable albums and modest style have attracted hundreds of thousands to the music. Greenwood powered through the cutthroat bigwig recording industry just to end up on the other side with his own independent label, Rainwater Recordings. Today, he records albums on his own terms and performs around the country, visiting more than forty cities with each tour. -- Tracy Block
Less Than Jake still tours relentlessly, and fans of these Florida dudes still come to see them play. Why? Because, in an era of performers constantly questioning their own cool, Less Than Jake prides itself on being uncool. They still sing songs about pizza and parties. They still have a horn section. They still are sort of ska, if ska still existed. And like the grateful Dead of ska, Less Than Jake knows it isn't about records anyway--it's about the live show, which usually involves lots of sweaty dancing and confetti.
K.Flay -- the rapping alter ego of 27-year-old Kristine Flaherty -- casually refers to Oakland as "home." But "home" has been a nebulous concept for Flaherty for a while now: She grew up in suburban Wilmette, Illinois, attended Stanford University, spent three years in San Francisco, and resided in Oakland for a year. After signing a deal with RCA, she's in Brooklyn for the moment. Flaherty first gained notice with mixtapes like 2009's MASHed Potatoes, which had her rapping over songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Gossip, and Ludacris and featured guest verses from West Coast indie rappers Eligh (of Living Legends) and Zumbi (of Zion I). Building her raps on top of songs from the indie-rock and dance worlds has pitched Flaherty away from the traditional hip-hop scene, and into an alternative zone. The fusion of styles continues on her latest EP, Eyes Shut, which leans heavily in an electronic direction and even features production by Liam Howlett of fiery British post-rave unit The Prodigy. -- Phillip Mlynar
Beach House became a bit of an underground sensation with the release of its self-titled, debut album in 2006, followed by 2008's warmly enchanting Devotion. Lead singer Victoria Legrand's rich, deep, yet feminine, voice and Alex Scally's delicate melodic sense on guitar creates a disarming sense of intimacy that soothes on an almost subconscious level. On its 2010 Sub Pop debut, Teen Dream, Beach House reached much wider audiences, but the band's vision was clearly uncompromising and that album was accompanied by videos made for each song. The band's latest album, Bloom, explores vistas of sound and songwriting that its work on all three of its previous albums made possible.
The most disappointing -- but apparently necessary -- stipulation for being a mega-sized rock band is that your sound must grow poppier and less identifiable to older fans as time rolls on. But once in a while, an album like Garbage's Not Your Kind of People -- the group's fifth full-length and first since 2005's Bleed Like Me -- reminds you that it doesn't always have to be that way. Granted, Garbage in 2012 doesn't sound exactly like the same band that released "Supervixen" and "Only Happy When It Rains." But consuming People's smoky alt-rock, autumnal melodies and occasional sonic experiments (not to mention Shirley Manson's aching howl) can trick you into thinking that the decade of Kurt Cobain and Michael Jordan only just entered the rearview mirror, which isn't a bad illusion at all.
Mos Def is a great name in so many ways: It is an exclamation of affirmation, most definitely, a claim to dopeness, the most definitive, the most deft, and an expression of rebellion, the most defiant. So when Mos Def decided to change his name to Yasiin Bey beginning in 2012, seemingly out of nowhere, it had people stumped. We know Mos Def. We love Mos Def. From Yasiin Bey, we're just not sure what to expect -- well, besides bountiful charisma and dope rhymes, that is. The name may have changed, but the game's still the same.
How about a little Best Coast on your burrito with a side of Tennis? While this sounds more like a, ahem, dish suited more for summer than fall, props are nonetheless due to the talent coordinators at Chipotle's Cultivate festival, who put together a rather decent bill. Slated to take place tomorrow at City Park, Cultivate will feature free performances by Best Coast, Tennis, Group Love, Okkervil River and Zach Heckendorf, along with microbrew sampling and a whole bunch more. The fest is free, and in its second year, this is the first time in Denver; the inaugural event took place last fall in Chicago and reportedly drew 15,000 people.
When Andy Guerrero parted ways with Flobots, the rap rock hybrid he helped found, he returned to his roots with Bop Skizzum, the funk troupe he helmed with Serafin Sanchez. After several lineup changes, including an extensive search to replace Erin Jo Harris, the act's previous vocalist, the group found Julie Almeria, a Denver School of the Arts alumni with a commanding voice and presence, and began building momentum. With the recent addition of SF1 (aka Shane Franklin), the outfit is poised to make its mark. Tommorrow night, the band celebrates the release of its brand new disc, Coloradical, at the Gothic with an all-star local lineup that includes Rachel & the Kings, Rebel Tongue, In the Whale and Dakar.
The music industry sucks, and the Epilogues know it. They're no strangers to being let down by the business. Over the course of the band's nearly six year existence, its members have gone through the label dance enough to know what a downer it is. Waiting in limbo, the band went through some serious songwriting, improving on what's now their signature sound. Though the road has been nothing short of bitter discouragement, the outfit has plowed through each setback with poise and determination. The band's do-it-yourself ethos has kept it going in times of uncertainty and the emotion shines through on the act's new album, Cinematics, slated for release nationally on November 6 on Greater Than, the imprint driven by Pete Turner of Illegal Pete's and Virgil Dickerson of Suburban Home Records. It's a match made in Denver-scene heaven.
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