The ten best concerts to see in Denver this week
In 1989, when Norwegian band Turbonegro got together, it was clearly fueled by a love of Alice Cooper and acts like Hanoi Rocks and the Stooges. You can hear the influence in songs like "Sell Your Body (To the Night)," which features an obvious guitar-riff nod to "Penetration." The band also embraces the excesses of glam's various tropes, with a cartoonishly trashy offensiveness that has the potential to polarize its audience. The outfit's fun, over-the-top, theatrical rock and roll is clearly aiming to get a reaction, with calculated outrageousness and stage personas designed to challenge and titillate.
It's been more than three years since Vampire Weekend last released a record and almost that long since the act was last at Red Rocks. That's a long time between releases for any band, but it's a couple lifetimes in the blogosphere. A parade of subsequent buzz bands (groups like Haim, one of the acts opening this show) has warmed themselves since then in the limelight once occupied by Ezra Koenig and company. The band returns to Red Rocks less than a week after its new album, Modern Vampires of the City, hits stores. It will be interesting to see if the outfit regains its stride.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club came roaring out of the garage in the late '90s with buzzing guitars, and nearly fifteen years into its career, the band continues to shift gears effortlessly when it feel like dialing back the drone. While the band hasn't given itself over solely into a more subdued sound by any means, it has cultivated an impressive degree of depth. The outfit still conjures up plenty of bombastic moments on tunes like "Teenage Disease," from Specter at the Feast, its latest effort, but those fiery moments of fury are tempered by more downtempo ditties like "Fire Walker" and the aptly titled "Lullaby."
Starting out with a technical death-metal sound, Opeth has evolved since its inception into the kind of progressive metal band that is more concerned with atmosphere and mood than with using multiple time signatures in a song just for the sake of being technical. The group's debut album, Orchid, came out in 1995, but it was 2001's Blackwater Park that proved to be its breakthrough effort. The songs on that album revealed a knack for subtle dynamics and melodies that crossed well outside the usual boundaries of death metal, or metal in general. With each subsequent release, Opeth has proved itself willing to color even farther outside genre lines.
In thirty years, rock historians will look at the three decades prior to this moment and -- if they don't laugh at the idea of an encompassing term like "indie rock" -- identify Yo La Tengo not only as one of the genre's foundational acts, but also one that consistently challenged itself to make eclectic and interesting songs from the start of its career onward, with stunning live shows to match. Pulling together strands of influence from the Velvet Underground, Mission of Burma and Half-Japanese, Yo La Tengo has created a vibrant body of work informed by tenderness, emotional catharsis, intellect, sincerity and ironic humor.
Logic is a part of the new generation of rappers quickly gaining traction thanks to masses of young fans across the country finding common ground on the internet. Unlike many other internet sensations, Logic is a legitimate, serious lyricist with more raw rhyming talent than personality, not that he has a lack of that, either. Logic was recently picked by XXL as one of 2013's Freshman class along with other standouts Ab-Soul, Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson. (Logic will also be at the Aggie Theatre on Friday, May 24 and the Black Sheep on Saturday, May 25.)
Moon Boots maintains a mysterious persona appropriate for a being who's allegedly imbued with sentience in a top-secret NASA experiment, but here's what we know about him: He's based out of Chicago, he's signed on the French Express label and he has a grasp on the sort of funky, dirty, soulful sound that many house DJs would give their sense of rhythm for. He's been blowing up the underground scene all over the planet with his dance-floor-packing sets, mining throwback disco and funk to give his mixes sexy curves and an irresistible siren song. Listening to his compositions at your desk will lead to undeniable chair-dancing; listening at home will cause breakout breakdowns; and in a club setting, well, you'd better hope you don't scorch the soles of your feet so badly you can't walk the next day. Catch Moon Boots at NORAD with option4, Keepers and Black Amex on Friday, May 24.
Savannah, Georgia's Kylesa began in 2001 when Phillip Cope, Brian Duke and Christian Depken, formerly of Damad, teamed up with art student/guitarist Laura Pleasants to form the kind of band that always seemed open to experimentation around a core of heavy music. A perfect amalgam of sludgy, sometimes bluesy, metal, hardcore and psychedelia with occasional shoegaze flourishes, this band's music defies easy categorization. Think later Isis or even Neurosis, in terms of the experimental edge with an ear for the accessibly strange. Kylesa's upcoming album Ultraviolet, due out May 28, features Pleasants more prominently as a vocalist, giving the weighty music an uncommon buoyancy, and includes some of the band's most daring songs to date.
Lamb of God started in 1990 as an instrumental metal band called Burn the Priest. But it wasn't until 1995, after recording a few demos and playing countless house parties, that the band recruited singer Randy Blythe and started developing into the band you would recognize today as Lamb of God. With the release of 2000's New American Gospel, the band's first album with that moniker, the group began reaching wider and wider audiences with its evolving amalgam of groove-laden thrash, death metal and hardcore. The 2006 album Sacrament was Lamb of God's breakthrough offering in terms of both artistic and commercial success.
Weapönizer sounds like its members incorporated grindcore percussion into the context of noisy thrash, the kind that comes from the pit of hell where Slayer and Venom are looped. With a self-titled 2012 album that draws influence from Napalm Death's 1987 classic, Scum, the band is led by a bassist known as Barbarian, who sings with a voice that suggests he learned how from Cronos himself. Live, Weapönizer (due at the Seventh Circle Music Collective on Friday, May 8) delivers a darkly biting and aggressive sound that can't be ignored.
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