Another solid weekend of shows in Denver, with some rockabilly at the Skylark, some jazz at Dazzle and some beats at Red Rocks. We particularly recommend twelve shows this weekend: Here they are.The Disco Biscuits Ogden Theatre : 3:00 p.m. September 12; 3:00 p.m. September 13; 3:00 p.m. September 14
Jamtronica pioneers the Disco Biscuits build interesting set lists: They invert portions of jams into each other, surprising audience members again and again while shining a mega-ton of lasers in their faces for an overstimulation extravaganza. The Biscuits will take over the Ogden for three nights.The Heavy Hitters Casselman's Bar & Venue : September 12
Spoke in Wordz cemented his place in the Denver hip-hop scene long ago, and over the last year, he's established himself in the battle-rap scene as well. Now he's bringing representatives of three of the world's biggest battle-rap leagues to compete in Denver. Artists from Canada's King of the Dot, New York's Ultimate Rap League, and Total Slaughter, which was founded by Eminem, will take on Colorado's best battle rappers. Cortez, of Total Slaughter, will battle Spoke in Wordz in the headlining event on Friday at Casselman's, which will also feature such big names as Lotta Zay and Monkey Man. The two-day event, hosted by the 17th and KS 107.5's DJ Chonz, will start with an undercard at Primos Sports Bar in Aurora, where battlers from Utah, Arizona and other states will square off. It all adds up to arguably the biggest battle-rap event in Colorado's history.
The raw, stripped-down simplicity of the duo She Keeps Bees confirms the notion that big things can come in small packages. Relying on little more than drums, gritty minor-chord guitar, and the sultry-to-warbling vocals of Jessica Larrabee, She Keeps Bees is brooding, dark, mysterious, and perfectly chaotic. Shifting from quiet, hushed passages to thrashing outbursts, Larrabee's guitar-playing is full of churning emotion, a perfect foil to her lush vocals and introspective lyrics. Behind her, Andy LaPlant adds the perfect percussive touch, opting for a minimalist approach that allows Larrabee her release.Zammuto Lost Lake Lounge : September 12
Zammuto is a project from Nick Zammuto, who was one half of the experimental electronic band the Books. But as with his old band, Zammuto blends organic sounds with the purely electronic in a seamless whole. The group's recently released, self-titled, debut full-length sounds like it could be folk music made by robots in the first flush of full-consciousness. The subject matter of the album may be, in part, an exorcism of Zammuto's experience of the breakup of his old band, but there is that playfulness and rhythmic inventiveness that has always made Zammuto's musical contributions so inexplicably compelling. Zammuto's second disc, Anchor, was released earlier this month.Cloud Cult eTown Hall : 7:00 p.m. September 12; Bluebird Theater : 8:00 p.m. September 13
The music of Cloud Cult is big, exuberant and packed full of sounds, ideas and influences. With themes as weighty as environmental degradation and as intimate as familial relations, no subject is too big or too small for this cult. At the heart of its songs lies the catchy, if at times overly cute, songwriting of Minnesota's Craig Minowa. Elements of chamber pop, hip-hop, electronic music and old-fashioned rock surround this beating core, where they're blended with a skillful touch into bombastic blasts of joyous pop. Then, cleverly omnivorous arrangements and production turn Minowa's pleasant pop nuggets into deep, intricate and sophisticated songs. The act is still relatively obscure, but it's drawn accolades and favorable comparisons to big-name acts including Radiohead and the Flaming Lips. If the outfit can turn that critical cachet into an equivalent fan base, it could easily be the next breakthrough indie-rock act.Flux Pavilion Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 7:00 p.m. September 12
Where Flux Pavilion goes, foundations are sure to rumble. He's toured the world bringing his massive dubstep sound to all corners of the Earth. "Bass Cannon" is a song, but it's also an apt description for what speakers become once he plugs in. Need a cosign in the form of two of the biggest rappers in the game? Fine- check out "Who Gon Stop Me" from Kanye and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne record, which samples Flux Pavilion's "I Can't Stop." Yeah, that massive bass sound came from the English producer and no, you can't stop him.George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic Gothic Theatre : 8:00 p.m. September 12
Making music since the mid-1950s, George Clinton -- in town tonight at the Gothic towing the Parliament-Funkaledic line -- is an enduring musical force that extends far beyond sound. Clinton is a movement in himself, a colorful cultural noisemaker who has, over the last five decades, taken funk from the white house to the depths of the cosmos and back. Whether you're sixteen or sixty, a George Clinton & P-Funk show will move you, with textured bass-bouncing rhythms and harmonies that ride from dirty to gospel-like. Clinton conducts his orchestra with rainbow hair swings and hand gestures, but his scratchy, happy voice and toothy grin are what keep all eyes and ears on one of the most enduring figures in modern music history.Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys Skylark Lounge : 9:00 p.m. September 12
Rockabilly's endurance continues to defy those who regard the genre's resurrection as more of a fashion statement than a musical movement. While you'll probably see less gingham and grease in local clubs these days, interest in rockabilly's rabble-rousing sounds remains solid. Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys are a fine example of why this music continues to please: The Southern California outfit led by the amiable, appealing Big Sandy (né Rusty Williams) approaches it with a dexterity and musicianship that makes the stuff look easy. While Sandy's sound -- a kind of retrobilly fused with a big-band flair, peppered with occasional excursions into country, swing and even calypso -- is certainly rooted in nostalgia, there's a timeless quality to it. It could be the band's smooth, almost seamless delivery, or the way the tunes make you want to take to the dance floor. Then again, maybe it's just Big Sandy's big ol' smile.Rudy Royston's 303 Band Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge : 7:00 p.m. September 12
Growing up in a musical family in Denver, Rudy Royston got an very early start in music. He was only a toddler when he started playing drums and percussion. Royston went on to study music at three local colleges and graduated with honors from Denver University. After teaching in the public schools for decade and performing with some the Denver's finest jazz talent, Royston moved to the East Coast in 2006 and quickly immersed himself in New York's jazz scene, playing with heavies like Dave Douglas, Ben Allison and Jason Moran. For his two night stand at Dazzle, Royston will be joined by trumpeter Nadje Noorduis, saxophonist Jon Ibragon, pianist Sam Harris, guitarist Nir Felder, and bassists Mimi Jones and Yasushi Nakamura, all of whom play on Royston's steller new album, 303.Goldrush Music Festival Larimer Lounge : September 13; September 14
Clipping., which will play this weekend's Goldrush Music Festival, started as a remix project that hurled sounds heard in noise projects into a hip-hop beat. But Daveed Diggs, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes went on to refine their approach, and currently make some of the most adventurous experimental music going. They join a growing group of hip-hop acts well outside the mainstream, such as Death Grips and cLOUDDEAD. Like Denver transplant Sole, clipping. embraces the methods and aesthetics of popular hip-hop but uses a different palette of baseline sounds -- a tradition that dates back as far as the Bomb Squad. Instead of using noise as a texture or just a weird sound in a beat, clipping. makes it one of the primary compositional elements. Fans of Flying Lotus, Rahzel and Shabazz Palaces will find much to like about the group's latest offering, 2014's CLPPNG, with its mélange of gangsta rap and trippy soundscapes.Tribute to Jim Hall Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge : 7:00 p.m. September 13; 6:00 p.m. September 14
When Jim Hall passed away last December, at the age of 83, the jazz world lost one of its most revered guitarists. Hall's velvety legato phrasing and brilliant musicality influenced numerous guitarists over the past six decades (and most likely will for decades to come). Among them are two with Colorado ties: Longmont-based Dale Bruning, a contemporary of Hall's as well as a good friend; and Bill Frisell, who studied with both of them and recorded with Hall on the 2009 two-disc album Hemispheres. (The first disc is duets; the second uses a quartet format, with Joey Baron and Scott Colley.) For these two nights, Frisell and Bruning, along with Ron Miles, Mark Patterson, Mark Simon and Paul Romaine, will pay tribute to Hall by playing music written by and associated with the legendary guitarist.Yacht Bluebird Theater : 9:00 p.m. September 14
Music journalism is rife with writers quick to say that a band "defies all conventions" or "breaks the mold." It's rarely the case, but sometimes an act comes along that's worthy of the sensational labels. YACHT, a dance-pop duo from Los Angeles via Portland, is the act in question, having existed in a variety of incarnations over the past 12 years while core members Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans act together or alone, branching out into other avenues. No matter the venture, it's all done under the YACHT moniker, a sprawling umbrella that's a multimedia product all its own.
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