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Weekend's best live bets: Big Gigantic, Jedi Mind Tricks and more

Catch Big Gigantic tonight at the Boulder Theater and tomorrow night at the Ogden Theatre.
Catch Big Gigantic tonight at the Boulder Theater and tomorrow night at the Ogden Theatre.

Another stacked bill on tap this weekend in the Mile High City with back-to-back dates featuring Big Gigantic at the Boulder Theater tonight and the Ogden Theatre tomorrow, Brad Paisley at the Pepsi Center with the Band Perry, along with several shows from Jedi Mind Tricks, Split Lip Rayfield and Toubab Krewe, all at the Bluebird Theater, Garland Jeffreys at the Lion's Lair, as well as a couple of CD release parties from Lola Black and Forests of Azure and a pair of quality local shows featuring Carbon Choir, Mercuria and the Gem Stars. Page down to get the full rundown on this weekend's best live bets.


FRIDAY, JANUARY 20


BIG GIGANTIC @ BOULDER THEATER

Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken are Big Gigantic, the sweeping Boulder-based duo taking the electronic world by storm. Born from Lalli's own creative and abstract mind, the act came about after years of formal music training in New York, playing with the Motet and utilizing MySpace to spread beats far and wide. Big Gigtantic, it turns out, is both a perfectly fitting moniker for this act and its burgeoning popularity. Last spring, mere minutes after the act posted a new track for free download on ThisSongIsSick.com, the site's server crashed due to the demand. More recently, the group made its new album, Nocturnal, available for complimentary download on its website. Despite the fact that the songs could be had for free, astoundingly, the album somehow managed to climb as high as number two on the iTunes electronic chart within days of being made available. (Read the full profile on the group in this week's paper.)

JEDI MIND TRICKS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER

For the last fifteen years, Jedi Mind Tricks have to be some of the hardest-working cats in indie/underground hip-hop. Now with seven albums under under their belt, the members of Jedi Mind Tricks are also the brains behind lauded projects from Outerspace and Army of the Pharaohs and had a hand in producing albums from Canibus and 7L & Esoteric. Jedi has always been politically charged with a gangsta's edge where the trio sets its sights on everything from the government and religion to the current state of hip-hop and even their own childhoods.

LOLA BLACK CD RELEASE @ GOTHIC THEATRE

The members of Lola Black don't consider themselves a supergroup. It's easy, however, to argue that the band boasts the credentials for such a designation. The sextet's resumé includes stints in groups like Blister 66, Snapstick Dynomite and the Eight Bucks Experiment, each of which made its own waves in Denver's punk and hardcore scenes. But the players in Lola Black insist that they weren't banking on past successes when they got together a little over a year ago. (Read the full Westword profile)

CARBON CHOIR @ THE HI-DIVE

With the 2009 release of High Beams, Carbon Choir capitalized on its promise with a set of introspective, heartfelt songs rimmed with layers of impressionistic, melodic flickers of sound. Even when Joel Van Horne's vocals soar over the top of the instrumentation, his command of tone and the power of his emotional resonance have always been compelling. But this band doesn't weave together abstract music performed with a sense of detachment. A Carbon Choir show is a visceral experience, precisely because these guys play their music not like they're trying to get you to remember some experience of a long time ago, but to get you to experience something new, right here and now.

MERCURIA AND THE GEM STARS @ THE WALNUT ROOM

If you've been to the right places over the past couple of years, chances are you've caught Maria Kohler playing solo or as a collaborator in whatever projects Mike Marchant has been involved with at any given time. And if you heard her, you know that Kohler's soulful voice and presence ineffably enriched the music. With Mercuria and the Gem Stars, Kohler has teamed up with a group of people who somehow combine countrified melodies with a spacious psychedelia and captivating pop overtones in a way that seems refreshingly original. Sure, there's a hint of Mazzy Star in the mix, as well as the more bubbly end of Throwing Muses, but the delicate and unexpectedly feisty emotional power of this band transcends easy comparisons.

Also Tonight:

- The Railbenders at Herman's Hideaway

- Love Hope Strength Fundraiser at 3 Kings Tavern with Cannons, Native Daughters, Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill

- Year of Fear, Reunion Drive, NeverBreak, Fujita Scale, Andrew Wynne Band at Bender's Tavern

- Random Hero, Dead for Denver at Casselman's Bar & Venue

- Tomorrow's Bad Seeds, Pacific Dub at Marquis Theater

- Jahman Brahman, with Good Gravy and Lost Lingo at Quixote's True Blue

- Lionized, With Chella Negro and Shady Elders at the Lion's Lair

 


SATURDAY, JANUARY 21


SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD @ THE BLUEBIRD THEATER

"Get your affairs in order. You have a couple months." Those are words you never want to hear, especially when you're barely entering into the prime of your life at just 37 years young. That's the kind of talk that takes your legs out from under you right where you stand. Faced with that kind of news, most folks do as prescribed and commence making their peace. Kirk Rundstrom did the exact opposite of that. Instead, he hit the road with his band one last time, and his final days were captured on the recent documentary Never Make It Home. Pioneers of the apparent genre of "cowpunk," Split Lip Rayfield continued on even after the loss of Rundstrom in 2006. Known for giving their acoustic songs a visceral heavy metal feel, thrash-grassers everywhere owe their debt to SLP's blend of pastoralism and punky irreverence.

BIG GIGANTIC @ OGDEN THEATRE

Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken are Big Gigantic, the sweeping Boulder-based duo taking the electronic world by storm. Born from Lalli's own creative and abstract mind, the act came about after years of formal music training in New York, playing with the Motet and utilizing MySpace to spread beats far and wide. Big Gigtantic, it turns out, is both a perfectly fitting moniker for this act and its burgeoning popularity. Last spring, mere minutes after the act posted a new track for free download on ThisSongIsSick.com, the site's server crashed due to the demand. More recently, the group made its new album, Nocturnal, available for complimentary download on its website. Despite the fact that the songs could be had for free, astoundingly, the album somehow managed to climb as high as number two on the iTunes electronic chart within days of being made available. (Read the full profile on the group in this week's paper.)

GARLAND JEFFREYS @ THE LION'S LAIR

Garland Jeffreys should be a household name considering some of the shoulders with which he's rubbed during the course of his long career: He met Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker before the Velvet Underground were properly a band, when Jeffreys and Reed were students at Syracuse in the early '60s. He helped write material for the first solo John Cale album. He's toured with The Stones. He has released numerous albums since his self-titled debut solo effort in 1973. His hit song "Wild in the Streets" was covered by Circle Jerks and Hot Water Music, to name a few. His music, always expertly penned pop and rock music informed by a deep jazz, soul and R&B influence, has been imbued by a social consciousness and a concern for the nature of the identities we take on and those assigned to us by biological and cultural facts of our upbringing we can't change.

BRAD PAISLEY @ THE PEPSI CENTER

Brad Paisley is one of country music's greatest living guitar players. Paisley has a knack blending masterful chicken pickin' with just the right amount of the clever humor, which has helped establish him as one of the most entertaining songwriters in the genre. Paisley, however, is at his best when he lets his soft side shine through on charming ballads like "She's Everything" and "We Danced," which showcase a unique lyrical sincerity, and on tracks like "Letter to Me," which brilliantly captures all of the goofiness, ruggedness and sensitivity of being a modern male.

FORESTS OF AZURE CD RELEASE @ TOOEY'S OFF COLFAX

Ed Marshall is a music critic who wrote for The Big Take Over for some years when he was roommates with the magazine's publisher, Jack Rabid. Since the early '90s, Marshall has been in and out of the underground music scene in Denver, a veteran of bands like Man Ray's Bird, Stargazer, Into the Ether and the dance/audio-visual project Fragments of Divine, and has hosted open-mike nights at the Mercury Cafe. For the past two years, Marshall and his wife, Katie, along with guitarists Dave Bernhart and Tom Freeman and percussionist Scott Seeber, have performed together as Forests of Azure, an act whose psychedelic rock and immersive projections recall a harder-edged Sky Cries Mary.

BAG RAIDERS @ THE LARIMER LOUNGE

Hailing from Sydney, Bag Raiders' Jack Glass and Chris Stracey produce tracks that burst with airy euphoria. Like Australian labelmates the Avalanches and Cut Copy, Bag Raiders lay down music that is tactile, a percolating mélange of blissed-out swells and glamorous crests. It's acid house electro-funk roller-disco synth-pop that's retro without being dated, modern without being analytical. It hits all the intimate piano house-meets- festival-banger marks that make for a blog success, while never seeming overly calculated. Headlining the Popscene vs. Modular Records showcase, Bag Raiders provide an uplifting groove alongside the more jackin' head rush of Muscles, Gloves, and Aaron Axelsen.

Also Tonight:

- Doomtree at Summit Music Hall

- Angry Music for Angry People with Holley 750, Little Fyodor, Ozyluth, Killzone, Big Tattoo, Throttlebomb, Barstool Messiah, Chingaso and Bourbon Bush at 3 Kings Tavern

- Shakedown Street at Herman's Hideaway

- Do or Die, DJ X, 20:12, Liquid Assassin, O Starz, Sonny Nuke & DJ Skrizz, Delco Smelly & Rocc and Black Pegasus at Casselman's Bar & Venue

- Forty Fathoms, Victory Heights, IAMTHESHOTGUN, Anchorage and the Burial Plot at Marquis Theater

- Jahman Brahman, with Good Gravy and American Beauty at Quixote's True Blue

- Concert for Cash, with the Blue Canyon Boys and Highland Ramblers at the Oriental Theater

 


SUNDAY, JANUARY 22


TOUBAB KREWE @ THE BLUEBIRD THEATER

Toubab Krewe is neo-griot-funk from Southern freak zone Asheville, North Carolina. Their name admits they're tourists ("Toubab" = white dude) and their sound can be described as "Jampire Weekend." Blending Mali soul and Afrobeat with bluesy desert surf-twang, Caribbean scratch, and zydeco bounce, Toubab Krewe surround it all with occasional floating ambience. And sometimes they do it all in one song, like "NTB." On others, like "Fire," they play a dubby lover's rock. Their hometown-recorded Live at the Orange Peel (2009) is a fan favorite; and for street cred, they recorded "Moose," a fervent spoken-word ode to Hendrix, with the Last Poets' Umar Ben Hassan.



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