The ten best shows in Denver this weekend
BLKHRTS have crafted an utterly riveting hybrid sound that centers on retro-futuristic production that is both unique and progressive. Live, the crew brings an unbridled energy that's as ferocious as Onyx, as primal as Body Count and as frenzied and unhinged as Bad Brains. On this night, BLKHRTS, one of the most exciting acts to emerge in recent years in any genre, is celebrating the release of its mixtape, Death, Romance and the Color BLK
Stephen Bruner, it's safe to say, is one interesting dude. When he's not doing session work for Snoop Dogg, Eric Benet and Flying Lotus, Bruner plays bass for Suicidal Tendencies. Yeah, that Suicidal Tendencies. When Bruner isn't helping out others in the studio and on the road, he records his own bass-driven, jazz fusion music under the name Thundercat. The music he creates is an overwhelming mixture of bass funk, experimental jazz and electronic-minded rhythms.
Futurebirds came to life in 2008 in Athens, Georgia, a city known for being a long-running haven of inventive and even adventurous pop music. With breezy pop songs that sound like they could've come out of the West Coast, Laurel Canyon scene in the early '70s, Futurebirds color the outer edges of its melodies with more than a hint of psychedelia. This is especially true on the group's latest offering, Baba Yaga. And while the phrase "country rock" gets thrown around freely with this band, think more Gram Parsons than the Eagles. Baba Yaga took the band some seven months to deliver, but the effort was worth it, as the finely crafted songs crackle with the fire for which Futurebirds has become known.
When Every Time I Die debuted in 2001 with Last Night In Town, it forged a sound that had not really been considered by hardcore and metal fans up to that point. Rooted in the pre-internet isolation of Buffalo, New York, the group played aggressive music built on a foundation of classic rock, and it eventually spawned an entire subgenre of imitators. Now on its sixth full-length release, Every Time I Die has endured countless trends in hardcore and metal while remaining true to the riff-rocking intensity that first put the band on the map. Experience it for yourself on this stop of the Allstars Tour, along with Chelsea Grin, Veil of Maya, Terror and many more acts.
"It's been assumed I'm soft or irrelevant/'Cause I refuse to downplay my intelligence." So raps Dessa on "Bullpen," from her debut album, A Badly Broken Code, released in 2010 on the Doomtree imprint. Although her inherent "hardness" has yet to be tested, it's clear that Dessa is an intelligent MC who clearly has something to say. Hailing from Minneapolis, the home of a vibrant underground hip-hop scene, Dessa brashly raps about the struggles she faces being a female rapper, a businesswoman and a published author. (Dessa is also playing Thursday, July 25, at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins.)
Although trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Donald Harrison, both New Orleans natives, were part of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers when the two released 1983's New York Second Line, it didn't take too long for them to form their own group and release five albums as co-leaders. In the early '90s, Blanchard began pursuing a solo career and put out some great recordings under his own name, including his most recent Blue Note effort, Magnetic, and more than fifty film scores. A masterful composer and improviser, Blanchard is one of the top trumpeters in the world.
Although Rodrigo y Gabriela first grabbed America's attention with fiery acoustic covers of Metallica and Led Zeppelin, theirs is no novelty act. Veterans of Mexico's fertile death-metal scene, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero made the move to acoustics to accommodate a lifestyle of traveling and busking in European cities, from Dublin to Copenhagen to Barcelona. Though they left the amps behind, the two fret-ticklers kept their astonishing finger-picking and rhythmic skills. Melding various Latin styles with gypsy music and their beloved hard rock, Rodrigo y Gabriela produce incomparable instrumental rock that is both precisely intricate and rousingly primal.
The String Cheese Incident, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, has taken a few breaks from touring, but over the last few years the Boulder-based sextet shifted back into full gear a few years ago. While the act knows its way around bluegrass, the band also incorporates African rhythms, jazz to classic rock, funk, Americana and electronics into its eclectic sets.
Just because a star was bred in Hollywood doesn't necessarily mean he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Just take Mickey Avalon, the unlikely king of Los Angeles's swanky clubs. He came from beginnings far beyond dubious and well into deranged, a fact he's celebrated in his music. His unique glam-punk take on hip-hop features lyrics forged of the most brutal honesty you've ever been bludgeoned with.
Head for the Hills uses misdirection like a veteran magician on its latest album, Blue Ruin. The album kicks off with "Take Me Back," an easygoing, rambling ballad steeped in traditional bluegrass. The rest of the record, however, is a surreal, heady and innovative fusion of styles. "Never Does" offers a dark and brooding narrative with complementary moody music, while the mandolin work on "Priscilla the Chinchilla" is frenetic enough to fit the profile of a prog-rock band, and "Breakfast Noir" includes jazz cues that feel straight out of a beatnik coffee shop. The lyrics are just as bold, reflecting the band's knack for wordplay. All of these elements make for an innovative mix, one that shows that this quartet isn't bound by its roots in bluegrass tradition. Catch Head for the Hills and much more this at this weekend's Rockygrass Festival in Lyons.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.