The Ten Best Shows in Denver This Weekend
Pierce the Veil plays the Fillmore on Sunday.
Courtesy of the band
There are plenty of good shows this SIA weekend, including Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks tonight (featuring Damien Marley and Major Lazer). Elsewhere, you'll find John Doe at the Lion's Lair and Pierce the Veil at the Fillmore. The rest of our picks follow.John Doe Lion's Lair : 9:00 p.m. January 29; 9:00 p.m. January 30
John Doe is most well-known for his tenure in the influential punk/roots rock band X. That band was known not just for a fiery intensity as a live act but also for its combination of primal rock and roll and thought-provoking lyrics, which had roots in the work of the Beats. Parallel to his songwriting in X, Doe embarked on a solo project in 1990 with the critically acclaimed album Meet John Doe. Doe's richness of tone, both vocal and in musicianship, coupled with an unaffected thoughtfulness, emotional vibrance and poetic imagination is what has made his work outside of a band context stand well apart from anything resembling a standard singer-songwriter effort. With Jesse Dayton.Concrete Mixer IV The Walnut Room : 9:00 p.m. January 30
Musique concrète pioneered the notion of composing directly with sound, often ignoring the common rules of melody, rhythm and the like. "It's the idea that there's these sounds you hear around that are familiar and have their own emotive content, and that you can kind of reduce it to those atoms of emotion without trying to force it into certain [musical] conventions," explains musician/producer Thomas Lundy.
Today those ideas have been integrated into everything from hip-hop to mainstream popforming the basis for niche genres such as noise and ambient. Now you can get back to the core of the art form at Lundy's Concrète Mixer IV, an evening of modern-day musique concrète. The tools have changed, but the sentiment and approach are largely the same as they were in the early days of the style. The six participating artists will use everything from a copper heart rubbed with dry ice to elaborate sampler rigs to explore the inherent musicality of sounds both everyday and alien, in solo performances as well as a series of "rolling collaborations" throughout the night. Generative visuals and related video loops will accompany the music, making for an intriguing synesthetic experience.Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 7:30 p.m. January 30
Having both worked as producers for M.I.A., Diplo and Switch combined forces under the Major Lazer moniker, a name inspired by a fictional Jamaican commando who fought in a secret zombie war of 1984 and lost his arm, replacing it with a futuristic weapon that became his namesake. The act's 2009 album,Guns Don't Kill People...Lasers Do, was recorded at Kingston, Jamaica's Tuff Gong studio. And that's fitting, considering that the resulting songs reflect the pair's interest in dancehall and the culture of Jamaica's club scene. With humorously surrealistic music videos and an enviable guest-vocalist roster, including Amanda Blank and Santigold, Major Lazer creates a world where playful, heroic mythologizing serves as the backdrop, and zombies and vampires figure prominently as cartoonish villains, creating infectious fun that even the bad guys revel in. Major Lazer headlines this year's Winter on the Rocks with Damien Marley opening.Kill Paris Beta : January 30
Corey Baker, who performs as Kill Paris, is an old soul trapped in a young body. Through a series of sporadic moves that have taken him from his home in Indiana to Nashville then Los Angeles and now Boulder, Baker has found his own corner in a rapidly evolving electronic music scene. He grew up listening to rock & roll and punk, and eventually he picked up the guitar and bass. Now, he translates his experience playing in bands to composing dance music that moves rooms small and large all over the world.Straight Outta Luck Hi-dive : 9:00 p.m. January 30
Straight Outta Luck formed in 2009 when Missouri transplant Ryan Jacobs met up with Natalie McFall, a veteran of the punk scenes in Fort Collins and Denver. Although he was initially reluctant to sing, Jacobs became the perfect vocalist for the band's raw, dynamic and urgent songs. McFall and Jacobs teamed up with former Mitya drummer Dan Datema, whom Jacobs had known from the punk scene back in Missouri. Erik Landgren joined the outfit a few years ago, stabilizing the lineup. Landgren and McFall had traveled in the same punk circles for years, and both had been members of Social Trend Killers at different times in that band's history. With American Blackout and The Larimers.Rhett Miller The Soiled Dove Underground : 8:00 p.m. January 30
Old 97's were early progenitors of alt-country, coming up alongside the Jayhawks, Drive-By Truckers and Uncle Tupelo. Fronted by Rhett Miller, the energetic live act kicked up plenty of dust on its studio albums, too, including last year's Most Messed Up. On this tour, we'll get to see Miller in a solo setting, armed with only his acoustic guitar, and the results should be just as absorbing. Whether he's playing stripped-down versions of songs from the extensive Old 97's catalogue or selections from his six solo efforts, Miller has mastered the art of working a crowd and taking folks on a ride.Mates of State Larimer Lounge : January 31
Nick and Jessica. Eminem and Kim. Brad and Jennifer. Jeepers, isn't there one celebrity couple around that can stay together for the long haul? Oh, right, there's San Francisco lovebirds Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, aka Mates of State. They're bigwigs in the indie-rock universe who have been together for nearly a two decades(and married since 2001), making sweet pop music.Pierce the Veil Fillmore Auditorium : 6:30 p.m. January 31
Outliving many of its height-of-MySpace contemporaries, San Diego's Pierce the Veil -- known way back when as Before Today -- has proven that its style of post-hardcore has a life beyond the scene. Lead singer and founding member Vic Fuentes is the band's driving force, delivering a harmonious balance of throaty growls and sinewy screams, with lyrics that are heavy on heartbreak and melodrama. The quartet staked its claim in 2007 on iconic hardcore label Equal Vision with its debut, A Flair for the Dramatic. Eventually, Pierce the Veil moved on to Fearless Records, putting out three albums in the past eight years. The heavily touring band has shared the stage with All Time Low, Bring Me the Horizon and Sleeping With Sirens. This Is a Wasteland, a documentary released in 2013, chronicles the act's epic schedule. The film also served to tide fans over until the release of a long-awaited, yet-to-be-named album, due sometime this year.Pinhead Circus Hi-dive : 9:30 p.m. January 31
Pop punk was a force in underground music in the late 1980s and '90s, even if the genre later produced plenty of high-profile bands. Denver had its own branch of the movement, and local imprints Soda Jerk Records and Suburban Home Records released albums and seveninches from Colorado acts as well as likeminded bands from around the country. Two of the most popular groups in that milieu were Pinhead Circus and The Nobodys (pictured), which will both play the hi-dive on Saturday, January 31. Both bands wrote melodic, catchy songs about life and relationships -- and not just with a sharply irreverent sense of humor, but also with uncommon sensitivity and thoughtfulness. They each went on indefinite hiatus in the early 2000s, though the Nobodys have periodically played live since then. Pop punk is currently enjoying a resurgence, and this is a rare opportunity to catch two of the legends of Denver pop punk on the same bill.RJD2 Bluebird Theater : 9:00 p.m. January 30; January 31
When RJD2 took to the small, technology-overwhelmed stage of the Bluebird in 2012, the DJ/producer was barely recognizable behind a Daft Punk-style robot mask and the sound effects box strapped to his waist like an oversized graphing calculator. Like Girl Talk, the campier, glitchier producer he is often compared to, this is a performance that depends largely upon preparation and timing, though it relies much more heavily on technical DJ skills. Onstage, Ramble John Krohn manipulates four turntables, an impressive stack of vinyl and various effects setups for roughly an hour and a half. Backlit in alternating red, blue and green, the spread is as much a part of the show as its puppet master. With Tnertle, Lily Fangz (1/30) and DJ Chonz, Skydyed (1/31)
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