The ten best concerts to see in Denver this week
HAVOK @ MARQUIS THEATER | FRI, 6/21/13 Hot on the heels of its European tour with Cephalic Carnage, Suffocation and Fallujah, Havok is preparing for the release its new album, Unnatural Selection, next Tuesday, June 25. The ten-track album, the band's fourth release overall and the followup to 2011's Time Is Up, was produced by Havok frontman David Sanchez, mixed by legendary metal maestro Terry Date (Pantera, Soulfly, Unearth), with kickass cover art by Rafal Wechterowicz. Havok is slated to celebrate the release of its new album with a trio of local shows, including this one at the Marquis, as well as the Black Sheep and Aggie.
TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL @ THURS, 6/20/13 Among the most noteworthy acts scheduled to perform at the fortieth annual four-day Telluride Bluegrass Festival (taking place Thursday, June 20, through Sunday, June 23, in Telluride) are, most prominently, local heavyweights String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hot Rize, semi-locals Dispatch and local faves such as the Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass and more. There are also some wild cards, such as Feist, in the mix.
FATHER JOHN MISTY @ GOTHIC THEATRE | TUES, 6/18/13 Father John Misty is the product of Josh Tillman's identity crisis. After making gently plucked acoustic guitar music with hushed, depressed, tortured vocals for a number of years, Tillman eventually got sick of his own creative persona. And so he hopped in his van with a bunch of mushrooms, hit the road, wrote a novel and ended up in Los Angeles. Once the dust settled, he made Fear Fun, an album released by Sub Pop under the name Father John Misty. Unlike J. Tillman, Father John is a badass: The world's ending, and all he can think about is abusing his lungs by smoking everything in sight with every girl he's ever loved and riding around the wreckage on a horse knee-deep in mud. When he drinks too much, he expects to be punched in the face, and he tries to wake up corpses just so they'll party with him.
RICHARD THOMPSON @ CHAUTAUQUA | FRI, 6/21/13 Richard Thompson probably isn't the first name that comes to mind when listing the greatest guitarists of all time, but it should be. In his seventh decade of existence, Thompson is a respected figure among those who appreciate superb musicianship informed by a rich imagination. Thompson first came to prominence as a member of the influential folk-rock outfit Fairport Convention. After parting with the band, Thompson played on the first two Nick Drake albums. As a solo artist, his recorded output has been as critically acclaimed as anything he did previously.
EMMYLOU HARRIS & RODNEY CROWELL @ BOTANICAL GARDENS | MON, 6/17 Nearly four decades after Rodney Crowell played and sang background vocals on Emmylou Harris' 1975 album, Elite Hotel, the two teamed up again for this year's gorgeous effort, Old Yellow Moon. Being ideal duet partners, the two are in exquisite form on the album, which includes four Crowell-penned originals, as well as some fantastic covers like Hank DeVito's "Hanging Up My Heart," Roger Miller's "Invitation to the Blues" and Allen Reynolds' "Dreaming My Dreams." The two will also be appearing at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder on Tuesday, June 18.
SNOWDEN @ LARIMER LOUNGE | THURS, 6/20/13 Snowden's Jade Tree debut, Anti-Anti, instantly transports listeners to the dark, electro-infused '80s rock of Joy Division, Bauhaus and the Cure. So, naturally, comparisons to Interpol, She Wants Revenge and the Editors are inevitable. However, none of that name-checking helps much, except to hint at the dark drama, intensity and rump-shaking stirred up by this Austin-based group.
THE FLATLANDERS @ SOILED DOVE UNDERGROUND | TUES, 6/18/13 Joe Ely (the rocker), Jimmie Dale Gilmore (the silver-throated spiritualist), and Butch Hancock (the artsy revelation) grew up playing music and eating peyote together in Lubbock, Texas. More a Legend Than a Band, recorded in 1972, is simply one of the best alt-country albums ever. 2009's Hills and Valleys, is an equally stellar collection of golden harmonies and wild, windy tunes for troubled times.
THE VOODOO ORGANIST @ ORIENTAL THEATER | FRI, 6/21/13 The late Screamin' Jay Hawkins once declared, "I'd rather sing opera than be a black Vincent Price." And though he's better remembered as a novelty performer who rose from a coffin, foisting a skull on the end of a stick, Hawkins possessed an astounding vocal range that would have made Puccini proud. For Scott Wexton, a bellowing lounge act who bills himself as the Voodoo Organist, Hawkins ranks right up there with Tom Waits and Nick Cave as inspiration for his swampy, cabaret-influenced sound. Sitting behind a portable organ from the '70s (it houses a rotary speaker with a revolving horn for vibrato-enhanced overload), the Detroit native sounds more like Jim Morrison churning his way through tent-revival numbers, jazzy blues, cha-cha and the occasional gothic waltz -- while manning maracas and a theremin. From a digital workstation, Wexton also weaves together textured samples of brass, xylophones and steel drums, to dizzying effect.
TONY BENNETT @ DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS | TUES & WEDS, 6/18-6/19 Tony Bennett is an artist who takes his work very, very seriously. Rather than drift aimlessly on a wave of nostalgia built up over the decades, he continues to search for ways to imbue the music he loves with even more passion and elegance. And he's succeeding: At 86, he is as skilled and confident a singer as any drawing breath, capable of delivering musical insights that escaped him when he was a younger man.
A BOY AND HIS KITE @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | MON, 6/17/13 Dave Wilton has worked as the chief engineer at St. Ida's recording studio in Boulder for the past eight years, so he hasn't exactly had time to play the circuit here as regularly as some other artists. But he's clearly developed a keen ear for melody, rhythm and mood, as evidenced by the songs on the self-titled debut from A Boy and His Kite (due at the Bluebird Theater on Monday, June 17), the project he helms. And he's already made some impressive strides: Last year, his song "Cover Your Tracks" appeared on the soundtrack to Twilight Breaking Dawn Part Two alongside much more well-known artists like St. Vincent, Feist and Passion Pit. There's a sense of tranquility and wonder to Wilton's compositions, which recall mid-aughts Deathcab for Cutie, giving the music a distinctly meditative quality.
Other Notable Shows: - Tuesday: Nekromantix at Bluebird Theater, 6/18/13 - Tuesday: Free Energy at Moon Room at Summit, 6/18/13 - Tuesday: A Whilhelm Scream at Marquis Theater, 6/18/13 - Thursday: Killswitch Engage at Summit Music Hall, 6/20/13 - Thursday: Mount Moriah at hi-dive, 6/20/13