Weekend best live music bets: Drive-By Truckers, Umphrey's Mcgee and more
Catch Drive-By Truckers tonight at the Ogden Theatre, tomorrow night at the Fox Theatre and Sunday at the Belly Up in Aspen.
Happy Friday! Another great weekend of music awaits you this weekend. Tonight the Drive-By Truckers kick off a three-night run in Colorado with a show at the Ogden Theatre, followed by a gig tomorrow night a the Fox in Boulder and a show at the Belly Up in Aspen on Sunday. At the Fillmore tonight, meanwhile, Umphrey's McGee sets up shop at the Fillmore with Jimkata. And there's plenty more! Los Lobos unplugs at the Boulder Theater, Churchill celebrates the release of its latest EP at the Bluebird, Le Divorce premieres its new video at the hi-dive and Odd Future closes things out at the Fox on Sunday night. Page down for this weekend's best live music bets.
FRIDAY, MARCH 9
The Drive-By Truckers recorded their last two releases -- The Big To-Do and Go-Go Boots -- during the same sessions in 2009, yet the albums sound quite different. The former is raucous, raw and rocks something fierce, while the latter, for the most part, is a more toned-down affair, a record that frontman Patterson Hood says in many ways is the polar opposite side of what the Truckers do as a band. Hood has said that if The Big To-Do was an action-adventure summertime flick (albeit one with some brainy and dark undercurrents), Go-Go Boots is a noir film in the vein of Night of the Hunter. (Read this week's full Drive-By Truckers profile.)
Is any band in America more revered or respected than East Los Angeles roots vatos Los Lobos? The core members of this American musical treasure -- David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Steve Berlin, Louis Perez and Conrad Lozano -- have produced nineteen albums and played everywhere from an Angeleno quinceañera to Farm Aid to the White House. Their sound spans virtually all aspects of American music, from blues, zydeco, soul and kick-you-in-the-head rock and roll to various Latino styles, including cumbia, norteno and Tex-Mex. Critics turn handstands whenever they drop an album, and their fans follow them like Deadheads. It's ironic that one of the most important acts of the late twentieth century is best known for its cover of "La Bamba." Their first truly significant album, 1984's T Bone Burnett-produced Will The Wolf Survive?, asked the question, and these guys answer in the affirmative every time they step onto a stage. Viva Los Lobos.
In terms of bands that traffic in long-form compositions, there are prog bands and there are jam bands, the former being characterized by linear compositions with rigid structures, the latter for its loose, well, jamming. Umphrey's McGee splits the difference between the two quite nicely. And if you haven't seen them live, the guys can play. Cramming changes by the bucketful into every song for a hyperactive sound not unlike that of Frank Zappa (if a little less insistently weird), the band tends to expand sections to allow for plenty of solos, proving its musicianship is just as accomplished on stage as it is in the studio.
Less Than Jake hasn't released a new full-length since 2008's GNV FLA, but it doesn't matter -- the Florida dudes still tour relentlessly, and their fans still come to see them play. Why? Because, in an era of performers constantly questioning their own cool, Less Than Jake prides itself on being uncool. They still sing songs about pizza and parties. They still have a horn section. They still are sort of ska, if ska still existed. And like the grateful Dead of ska, Less Than Jake knows it isn't about records anyway--it's about the live show, which usually involves lots of sweaty dancing and confetti.
On the strength of being named the winner of KTCL's annual Hometown for the Holidays promo in December and armed with a great new video, Churchill has built up a healthy head of steam heading into the new year. Tonight the outfit celebrates the release of its new EP, Change, the follow-up to last year's excellent Happy/Sad. Change is a fitting title for the disc, as the band switches things up a bit, exploring a slightly more upbeat sound on the EP, while delivering the same earnest brand of pop we've come to expect from the band. Tonight's bill also includes Popcult and Rachel James.
SATURDAY, MARCH 10
"I think video is absolutely vital," says Kitty Vincent of Le Divorce, which recently finished production on a new video for "Under the Boxcars," the first single from the band's latest effort, The Sting and the Light. "We are a visual society living in the age of YouTube and Pitchfork. It's much harder to get a reviewer or blogger who doesn't know you personally to take you seriously if you don't have something visual they can post." (Read the full blog and see a sneak peek of Le Divorce's new video.)
2010's The Big To-Do was Drive-By Truckers' most hard-rocking album since 2001's Southern Rock Opera. On To-Do, the Athens, Georgia group told tales of four-day drinking binges, courtroom miseries and bar-room brawls. The Truckers, who formed way back in 1996, have always been considered by many to be the torch-bearers for the alt-country genre, but with The Big To-Do, they surpassed most bands in that watered-down category with memorable stories, characters and songs. And just as quickly as they returned to the bombast of rock, they muffled it again with the release of their current record, Go-Go Boots. Replacing the shimmer of a ride cymbal with the hush of a shaker, Go-Go Boots pays homage to early soul greats like Eddie Hinton. The new approach introduces a new cast of characters sitting morosely in the same bar they brawled in last night, wondering what the hell happened and, like the band itself, what they will do next.
"Showing your work at a Santa Fe gallery is like having your mom and dad home at a party," says artist Vincent Fasano, who with his twin brother Charly (also known as "City Mouse") have been tapped to help curate art shows at the Phoenix Gallery in the basement of 3 Kings Tavern. This month, the brothers Fasano will present their own work alongside that of two other artists, Heretik Art and Faim Worldwide, during Fast Geek Boutique's March Art Show and Live Music Series, which features David Mead (of Ships & Fog) tonight at 8 p.m. "It breaks the ice if there's a [rock] show going on," says Charly when explaining his preference for art shows at a music venue rather than a gallery. "I like my art to be surrounded by punk-rock music," agrees Vincent. "I'd take that over a gallery any day."
Back to Top at Old Curtis Street Bar
- - Watkins Glen: The Band performed by Polytoxic, Grateful Dead performed by Shakedown Street, Allman Brothers performed by Mountain Jam. With John Magnie of the Subdudes and Montu at Quixote's True Blue
SUNDAY, MARCH 11
The last time they were in town, the little hip-hop hellions known as Odd Future had people jumping from second-floor balconies and raising cane long before they took the stage. Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats and the rest of the crew still don't give a fuck, and their gore rhymes are as gory as ever. If you haven't seen OFWGKTA live, the act's stage show is rambunctious and rowdy, yet stylized and controlled. The members mob around their performances like they've been doing it for years, and the masses absolutely eat it up. The future might be odd, but it's also as bright as ever.
It hasn't been that long that Trevor Powers has been playing out live with his band Youth Lagoon -- or even very long since he started posting his early bedroom recordings and the blogosphere started writing about his music. While that's a typical story these days, Powers's music has struck a chord with people outside his circle of immediate friends and college peers for a reason: Youth Lagoon's insouciant, shimmering melodies and emotional delicacy sound like Powers has spent a lot of time listening to the more accessible end of Daniel Johnston and the kind of music that came out of Fisher Price toys from the '70s. Fortunately, the guy can deliver live with the same powerful vulnerability heard on his recordings.
Colorado native Manuel Lopez discovered a fondness for Latin music after he stared playing congas in his early teens, and then found his way to the drum kit. Together with pianist Peter Ellingson and bassist Eduardo "Bijoux" Barbosa, Lopez's trio delves into a variety of repertoire from old Cuban standards to more modern arrangements. The trio plays at Dazzle every Sunday evening.
Compiled by Nick Callaio
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