The ten best shows in Denver this week
Few bands of the past two decades have had as profound an influence on as wide a spectrum of artists as My Bloody Valentine. Not only did the landmark 1991 album Loveless have a massive impact on the group's peers at the time, but it has since influenced such disparate acts as Napalm Death and Kylesa, as well as most experimental guitar bands that followed them. With such a masterpiece to live up to, it's not surprising that the quartet didn't release an immediate sequel. But this year, My Bloody Valentine did put out a new album, a self-titled effort on which the band, rather than trying to outshine the previous work, proved itself capable of picking up where it left off and moving forward.
Better known as DāM-FunK, Damon Riddick is a walking embodiment of West Coast Relaxation, creating an electrifying brand of modern funk. Heavily inspired by the synth-based funk of the late '70s/early '80s, his music is full of interstellar synthesizers rife with analog warmth. Often referred to as the "Ambassador of Boogie Funk," DāM-FunK's musical vision and love for synth funk has reached beyond his home in L.A. and out into the world. Catch DāM-FunK on this stop of the Stones Throw Soul Tour with Peanut Butter Wolf, the Stepkids and Myron & E.
BARONESS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | WEDS, 8/21/13
Coming out of the punk and metal milieus of Savannah, Georgia, in 2003, Baroness arrived on the scene armed with driving grooves and a penchant for crafting vivid yet gritty melodies. Unlike the output of seemingly kindred acts, whose sound clearly drew inspiration from Black Sabbath, the music of Baroness has always had more in common with that of Deep Purple. And with last year's double album, Yellow & Green, Baroness further refined its sound. The songs are still heavy and dark, but this latest phase of development finds the band moving beyond the well-trod reaches of sludge rock into territory that's simultaneously more accessible and experimental.(Baroness is also due at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, August 20.)
Twenty years ago, Dave Matthews Band played Red Rocks for the first time, opening for the Tragically Hip and the Samples, and went on to build a loyal following with early shows at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. In the two decades since, the guys have, of course, played dozens of memorable shows here, including headlining dates at the now-defunct Mile High Music Festival and return trips to Red Rocks (most famously, the one that resulted in Live at Red Rocks 8.15.95), amassing a legion of fans along the way. For last year's Away From the World, DMB recruited producer Steve Lillywhite for the first time since 1998 and created a forward-thinking, inward-searching album that earned the group the distinction of having the most albums ranked at number one on Billboard for an American band, an honor it shares with the Eagles.
The America's Most Wanted Festival features some of the most talented and successful artists to come out of the South in a long time, including Lil Wayne, whose name speaks for itself and whose I Am Not a Human Being II has already gone gold, T.I., the self-described King of the South, who's riding high on the release of Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head and 2 Chainz, whose recent celebrity is only eclipsed by his huge personality. Opening the festival is G-Eazy, a rising star in his own right.
New York's fun. blanketed America with the song "We Are Young," a strange, anthemic, Queen-nodding song that, via Glee and a Super Bowl commercial, is a bright symbol of modern rock being a force in pop. On the first fun. record Aim & Ignite and in his previous band, the Format, singer Nate Ruess made music in which punk-rock sensibilities could sit uncomfortably near wild Broadway asides. His lyrics seem uncommonly directed toward the personal, and themes surface -- the phrase "cause a scene" appears in both the Format's "The First Single" and fun.'s "Take Your Time (Coming Home)," with the former calling for people to "cause a scene" and the latter declaring that "we're through with causing a scene."
Formed in Denton, Texas, in 1997, the Riverboat Gamblers were influenced in part by the Candy Snatchers, whose on-stage exuberance inspired enthusiastic audience reactions. While the Gamblers' earliest material was intentionally silly, the ridiculous lyrics revealing a keen sense of humor, the band played its shows with a startling vigor that propelled its driving melodies. But while these guys might have started out as smart people pulling a dumb joke with their music, these days they're proving you can have fun and still have something to say, as evidenced by the weighty words found on 2012's The Wolf You Feed.
G-Eazy is an up-and-coming rapper born in Oakland but based in New Orleans who is currently riding with fellow NOLA stalwart Lil Wayne on the America's Most Wanted tour. G-Eazy stands out thanks to his Dapper Dan appearance, gravelly voice and self-made production. He broke out in part thanks to his Endless Summer mixtape, which featured a remix of Dion's "Runaround Sue." Must Be Nice, his independently released album from 2012, is a huge step forward in every way for the MC, and out of all the new rappers who have emerged in the past few years, he seems destined to make some serious noise in the coming years. (G-Eazy is also on the bill at America's Most Wanted Tour with Lil Wayne and more this Friday, August 23.)
Peter Frampton's long, luscious locks may now just be a thing for the history books, but without his '70s sex symbol looks people can finally focus on the fact that he's a highly underrated guitar player. Tonight, he'll play alongside fellow six-stringers like the legendary B.B. King, David Hidalgo (of Los Lobos) and Louisiana slide player Sonny Landreth for what he's dubbed Frampton's Guitar Circus.
Victoria Lundy is best known as the theremin player for experimental-rock weirdos the Inactivists. But she's also been a participant in Denver's avant-garde music scene, playing with acts like the Carbon Dioxide Orchestra and Jackson Induced Mutant Laboratory. For the Watt? show, Lundy is set to collaborate with Mark Mosher and Darren Kramer. The former is known nationally for his synthesizer music integrated with visuals; the latter has toured internationally with the likes of Tom Jones and Matchbox Twenty, playing trombone and, in recent years, mastering the integration of that instrument with electronic sound manipulation and composition. Running the gauntlet between analog electronics and fully digital electronic instruments, Watt? will demonstrate how the resulting music can be a visual, tactile and aural experience for both performer and audience.
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