There's nothing like experiencing the sweat, thump and catharsis of a great show. But it can be tough to decide which one to go to when you live in Denver, the land of embarrassing musical riches, the land of too many shows and too little time. So which ones are worth checking out? Glad you asked. Because we work for you, we've compiled a list of the best shows this weekend in one easy-to-swallow post, with video and audio.
Like every weekend in our fine city, this Independence Day weekend will make you proud to live in the land of liberty, free to pursue your own happiness, by God, at any show you wish. Lucky for you, there's some great ones to choose from: Monotonix throws down the chaos, Achille Lauro, the Autumn Film and Ideal Fathers rep the local scene, and Umprey's McGee stops by to blow our little prog-jam minds. God bless America.
01. MONOTONIX With Expiation, DJ Tanner, Travis Egedy Rhinoceropolis Sunday, July 4, 8 p.m.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: It's not often a Sunday show makes the first spot on our list, but Monotonix performances are, well, they're epic. Famous for refusing to set up onstage (opting for the floor instead), these hairy Israeli garage-rockers don hot pants and put on a show that's hard to describe as anything but absolute fucking mayhem. We're so into it, we even devoted this week's feature to it.
02. ACHILLE LAURO U.S.A.-THEMED PARTY With 200 Million Years, Iuengliss Skylark Lounge Saturday, July 3, 9:21 p.m.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: As part two of its summer concert series, Hot Congress hosts Achille Lauro, which is without exaggeration, one of the most compelling bands in Denver right now. Packing an absurd amount of textures and rhythms into its recordings, Achille Lauro brings loops, laptops and several synthesizers to a live show that comes impressively close to replicating its multi-layered studio sound.
03. THE AUTUMN FILM With Fierce Bad Rabbit, Andrea Ball Bluebird Theater Friday, July 2, 8:30 p.m. $10
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The Autumn Film traffics in the kind of piano-ballad sincere sound of Meese and The Fray that for a time was becoming a trademark of this town's musical exports. Putting its own stamp on the sound with dried-up, electronic-sounding drums and Al-Attas's soaring, operatic croon, the Autumn Film travels down from Boulder on Friday to remind us of our ex-girlfriends.
LISTEN: The Autumn Film
04. IDEAL FATHERS With The Nervous, Makeout Point, Night of Joy, Wire Faces, I Sank Molly Brown, Dinner With Cannibals, Pep*Squad, My Body Sings Electric, and Thrifty Astronaut Larimer Lounge Saturday, July 3, 3 p.m. $5
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: It's obviously summer when the Larimer starts throwing BBQ parties, where the music starts early in the afternoon and keeps going long after everyone is thoroughly plastered -- and this one will be a good one. Ideal Fathers headlines with its brand of spastic punk-electronica, and with a lineup that features two bands with "joy" in their names and a puny cover charge, you're bound to get a lot of band for your buck.
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05. UMPHREY'S McGEE With Galactic, The Wailers Red Rocks Saturday, July 3, 7 p.m. $36 WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Umphrey's McGee is probably second only to Dweezil in the legacy of Frank Zappa, with its composition-heavy style of classical-influenced prog rock. And like Zappa himself, the band allows plenty of time in concert to let its songs breathe. If because of that tendency the band has been lumped into the jam scene, it's a bit of a mislabeling; improvisation may be a hallmark of jam-bands, but in this case it reads more like jazz.