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Weekend's best live music bets: Sleigh Bells, Cults, Heartless Bastards and more

Weekend's best live music bets: Sleigh Bells, Cults, Heartless Bastards and more

TGIF! You've worked hard all week, now it's time to coast into weekend. Plenty of great music on tap to help you unwind -- or get wound-up, as the case may be. Tonight at the Ogden, Sleigh Bells assaults the senses, Mojo Nixon kicks off a two-night stand at the Lion's Lair, JJ Grey and Mofro get their groove on with Toots and the Maytals at the Fillmore, and Cults finish off their two-night Colorado run at the Fox Theatre. Tomorrow night, The Heartless Bastards tear it up at the Bluebird, Dyalekt, Low Gravity and Jaded Poets host CD release parties and much, much more. Page down to see your best live music bets.


FRIDAY, APRIL 13

SLEIGH BELLS @ OGDEN THEATRE

Read: Q&A with Derek Miller of Sleigh Bells

Combining the former guitar player from hardcore band Poison the Well with a former Nickelodeon star, Sleigh Bells is the most aggressive, poptastic, ear-drum-splitting glamour-thrash band around. On its debut, Treats, released on M.I.A.'s N.E.E.T. Records, Sleigh Bells offered up songs like "Rill Rill" and "Tell Em" that manage to rock the cranium while melting the heart. This February saw the band's Saturday Night Live debut, perfectly timed with the album Reign of Terror, and the act killed the audience with its hopelessly infectious "Comeback Kid." If you've somehow managed to miss out on the wonder that is Sleigh Bells, take a moment out of your lunch break to view the video for that song. We guarantee that when it ends, you'll be asking yourself if you have time to watch it again.

MOJO NIXON @ LION'S LAIR

Read: Q&A with Mojo Nixon

Mojo Nixon's music and the reptuation of his outrageous stage persona proceed him. The hilariously wrong songs that he wrote with his then-partner in crime, Skid Roper, such as "Elvis Is Everywhere" and "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child" were songs everyone knew, even if they weren't necessarily on the radio. The video for the latter was even banned from MTV. Nixon and Roper parted company in 1989, but Nixon kept recording with artists like Jello Biafra and the Beat Farmers. His most recent release is the humorously profane Whiskey Rebellion, which essentially served as his "unretirement," meaning that he will occasionally play a show when he's not talking politics, NASCAR and country music on XM radio.

J.J. GREY & MOFRO // TOOTS & MAYTALS @ FILLMORE AUDITORIUM

Read: Q&A with JJ Grey

A masterful storyteller in the grand southern tradition, JJ Grey gets his raw material from the piney woods and blackwater swamps of rural north Florida and delivers it with the demonic fire of a Pentecostal preacher. On their first live album (and accompanying DVD), Brighter Days (Alligator), recorded a year ago in Atlanta, Grey and a horn-stoked Mofro tear through their distinctive blend of Skynyrd-esque southern rock, swamp blues, backwoods funk, Memphis soul, and Deep South R&B. Grey sighs wistfully about mosquitoes, rattlers, and gators on the quintessential "Lochloosa" before ripping into developers with both his gritty howl and ferocious electric guitar.

CULTS @ FOX THEATRE

Read: (Review) Cults at Larimer Lounge 8/1/11

Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion met at the House of Blues in San Diego, where Follin's older brother Richie's band, the Willowz, had a show. The two hit it off; both happened to be leaving to study film at the New School, which is where they formed Cults. The group's 2011 debut album, released on the Columbia Records-affiliated imprint In the Name Of, headed by Lily Allen, was well received critically. Its vibrant, gossamer melodies and bright, hopeful vocals struck an immediate chord with those attuned to the soulful innocence that Phil Spector brought out in his girl groups. Though toying with the concept of actual cults, this band and its music are too playful and uplifting to represent any sinister subculture.


ALSO TONIGHT:


- Escape the Fate, with Attack Attack, the World Alive, Mest, Secrets at Summit Music Hall

- K.Flay at Larimer Lounge

- The Infamous Stringdusters with Pert' Near Sandstone at Bluebird Theater

- Perfume Genius with Parenthetical Girls at hi-dive

- The Travelin' McCourys featuring Keller Williams with Head for the Hills at Boulder Theater

- 11th Hour at Baker Street Pub & Grill

- Bad Luck City with Bonnie and the Beard, Elliott Moonshine & the Ghost, Nathan Cahoone at The Walnut Room

- The Black Seeds with Rubblebucket at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom

- Colorado Music Buzz Bandwagon with Color, the Foot, Thanks to Philo, We Were Cosmonauts, What Happened Saturday, Tommy Freed & the Trio at Herman's Hideaway

- Conquer Everest with Driftin' Suns, Coriander, Ben Park Drive and Jimmy Bratcher at Toad Tavern

- David Connelly at Chinook Bar & Grill

- Famous Curve at The End Pub & Grub

- The Gristle Gals at Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

- Josh Blackburn at FuNuGyz

- Tracy Lawrence at Grizzly Rose

- The Mighty Short Bus at Little Bear

- Mr. Steak's '80s Rock Party at 3 Kings Tavern

- Mustard Plug with Left Alone and Potato Pirates at Gothic Theatre

- Nolan McInnis at Platte River Bar & Grill

- Offcolor with the Royalty at Moe's Original BBQ & Bowl

- The Resonatorz at Cactus Jack's Saloon

- Ronnie Shellist Band at Zephyr Lounge

- Roshan Bhartiya and Andy Skellenger at Swallow Hill Music Hall

- Rowdy Shadehouse Funk Band at Herb's

- Sam Holt Band with Robbie Peoples & the Bank Walkers and Jaden Carlson Trio at Cervantes' Other Side

- Sammy Dee Morton at Jordinelli's Sports Bar & Restaurant

- Space in Time With Motodrone and Governors at Old Curtis Street Bar

- SRS3 at Highland Pacific Restaurant and Oyster Bar

- Thumpin at The Buffalo Rose

- The Trainwreckers at Continental Room & Lounge

- Wonderlic at Appaloosa Grill

- Paganfest 2012 With Turisas, Alestorm, Ex Deo, Arkona and Huntress at Marquis Theater

- Reed Foehl (CD release) with the Good Lovelies at Swallow Hill Music Hall

- The Informants with Reckless Red at The Soiled Dove Underground

- The Vindicators at The Bar

- AKA at Jake's Roadhouse

- AOA at G.I. Jodi's Bar & Grill  


SATURDAY, APRIL 14

Read: (Profile) Dyalekt leaves his ego behind on a new release

Born to an Apache father and a Latina mother, Dyalekt -- the MC, producer and self-made cultural sociologist known to his family as Justin Romero, the younger brother of rapper, producer and fellow Diamond Boi Zome -- just issued a new album called Death by Ego. The third in a trio of solo releases, the record represents the culmination of the MC's growth and confidence, as well as the idea of following your own muse and sacrificing any sort of ego-driven agenda.

THE HEARTLESS BASTARDS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER

Read: Q&A with Heartless Bastards

The Black Keys and Heartless Bastards share more than Ohio roots. The Keys were based in Akron for ages, and Bastards front woman Erika Wennerstrom relocated her band to Austin from Cincinnati some years ago, but now both bands' blue-collar rock-and-roll work ethic is paying real dividends after years and years of heavy gigging. After 2009's The Mountain, the Bastards have just released their second great album in a row, The Arrow (Partisan Music); the close companions blend thundering riffs and moody acoustic moments, anchored by Wennerstrom's wounded but wizened vocals.

CROWBAR AND PRONG @ MARQUIS THEATER

Over the course of twenty-five years, nine studio albums (including Carved Into Stone, due April 23) and one live offering, Prong has shared musicians with Swans, Danzig, Ministry, Killing Joke and, uh, Madonna. While copping to backing that last artist is probably a confession best left to the dance floor, consider that bassist Monte Pittman also provided guitar for former Spice Girl Mel C. Singer/whammy-bar enthusiast Tommy Victor is the only constant member. Like a defiant middle finger supported by lesser digits, Victor perfected the fusion of hardcore and thrash attempted by Dirty Rotten Imbeciles in the '80s. He brought enough sludge but didn't get bogged down like Helmet, then added gruff vocals and a manly attitude that lent credibility the Cro-Mags never had. Fans disappointed by 2003's slower Scorpio Rising were probably thrilled that 2007's Power of the Damager returned to the energy and crunch that made Prong the template for dozens of followers, none of whom is the Material Girl.

MOJO NIXON @ LION'S LAIR

Read: Q&A with Mojo Nixon

Mojo Nixon's music and the reptuation of his outrageous stage persona proceed him. The hilariously wrong songs that he wrote with his then-partner in crime, Skid Roper, such as "Elvis Is Everywhere" and "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child" were songs everyone knew, even if they weren't necessarily on the radio. The video for the latter was even banned from MTV. Nixon and Roper parted company in 1989, but Nixon kept recording with artists like Jello Biafra and the Beat Farmers. His most recent release is the humorously profane Whiskey Rebellion, which essentially served as his "unretirement," meaning that he will occasionally play a show when he's not talking politics, NASCAR and country music on XM radio.

LOW GRAVITY (CD RELEASE) @ 3 KINGS TAVERN

Read: Q&A with Low Gravity

Low Gravity (hosting its dual CD release party tomorrow night with Jaded Poet) got together in the summer of 2009 when Jess Ellis -- who used to play in the noteworthy, and unconventionally literary, sludge metal band the Nod, as well as Half of Zero -- started jamming with Austin Williams. Both guitarists had cut their teeth on the splintery groove of bands like Sleep, Kyuss and Yob. Six years ago, Low Gravity would have found plenty of bands locally with which its fluid and heavy riffing would fit next to easily, but these days, that sort of sound isn't as common as it once was. But Low Gravity isn't necessarily looking to fit into a scene, and the band's latest album, the six-song Incarnadine rumbles and menaces like the music of like-minded acts you'd find on the Southern Lord imprint.


ALSO TONIGHT:

- Talib Kweli at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom

- Blood on the Dance Floor with Brokencyde, Deuce, Polkadot Cadaver, William Control, the Bunny the Bear, New Years Day and Haily Rose at Summit Music Hall

- The Travelin' McCourys featuring Keller Williams at Ogden Theatre

- Hanni El Khatib with Sundelles and the Blue Rider at Larimer Lounge

- Rusted Root with Skinny Lister and Mr. Right at Gothic Theatre

- The Black Seeds with Rubblebucket at Fox Theatre

- Antiserum & Ill-Esha with Ishe vs. Dirt Monkey and the Candyman at Cervantes' Other Side

- BoomBox at Belly Up Aspen

- Corey Christiansen at Broadway Music School

- Colorado Music Buzz Bandwagon With EPO, the Conflict Between Drop Point Hero, Resonance, Drakes, Defile the Pure at Herman's Hideaway

- David Booker at Historic El Rancho Restaurant

- Eef & the Blues Express at Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

- Ginger Stewart Benefit with Mountain Holler Bluegrass Band and That Damn Sasquatch at Oriental Theater

- High Gear Daddies with Phanton 88 and the Atomic Drifters at Old Curtis Street Bar

- Holden Young with 8 Foot Orphan at Dickens Opera House

- The Indulgers Trio at The Exchange Tavern

- The Infamous Stringdusters with Pert' Near Sandstone at Aggie Theatre

- Jack Hadley at Zephyr Lounge

- Jet Edison at Eldora Mountain Resort

- Joe Fornothin at Platte River Bar & Grill

- MF Ruckus with Warner Drive, Viretta, Chainsaw Love Affair at Moe's Original BBQ & Bowl

- Reckless Red at Cactus Jack's Saloon

- The Sax Pack featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters, Steve Cole at The Soiled Dove Underground

- Star Destroyer Party with Turner Jackson, Oxknox, DJ Dozen and Big J at Meadowlark

- Synthetic Elements with Hot Cheeze Soup, Bat Wings For Lab Rats, Portobello Road at The Walnut Room

- Thumpin at Herb's

- Toots & the Maytals at Breckenridge Ski Resort

- Wendy Woo at Little Bear

- Mariachi and African Ensembles at Grusin Music Hal

- The Cardinal Grey with Bear Antler, As Tall as Buildings, the Belle Jar at hi-dive

- Glen Phillips at L2 Arts and Culture Center

- S.T.O.I.C. (CD release) with Your Own Medicine, Made Fresh Daily and Dollfac at Toad Tavern

- Ravish Momin's Tarana featuring Trina Basu on violin and percussion and Aakash Mittal on saxophone at D Note

- 69 Times at OK Take 5 Tavern

- AKA at Jake's Roadhouse

- AOA at G.I. Jodi's Bar & Grill

 


SUNDAY, APRIL 15

MANUEL LOPEZ JAZZ TRIO @ DAZZLE RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE 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.


ALSO TONIGHT:

- Sepultura with Death Angel, Krisiun, Havok at Gothic Theatre

- Graham Lindsey with Ugly Valley Boys at 3 Kings Tavern

- Katie Glassman at Little Bear

- Dust Stompers at Jake's Roadhouse

- Q'Diva at Herb's

- Ryan & Angie at Platte River Bar & Grill

- Japanese and Balinese Ensembles at Grusin Music Hall

- JACK Quartet "The Sinking of the Titanic" with Payton MacDonald and Young Voice of Colorado at Newman Center for the Performing Arts

- eTown with The Infamous Stringdusters & Zach Heckendorf at Boulder Theater

- Screaming Females with Dirty Few at Marquis Theater

- Afton Showcase at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom

- Chain Station with Colorado Rain at Quixote's True Blue

- Denver Battle of the Bands at Cervantes' Other Side

- Wizard Rifle with Iron Horse and Space in Time at hi-dive

- Blues Jam with Michael Hornbuckle at Tennyson's Tap

Compiled by Nick Callaio.



Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music



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