Ten Must-See Acts of FoCoMX 2016

This weekend, beginning Friday, April 22, the annual Fort Collins Music eXperiment, or FoCoMX, will take place across numerous venues in downtown Fort Collins. You can find out more information on the event and buy tickets at the FoCoMX website as well as scope the complete lineup. While there are a plethora of fine performers and artists playing the entire event, listed below are ten acts that alone easily make FoCoMx worth attending. The shows listed are all-ages unless otherwise indicated.

Friday, April 22

5:30 p.m.
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, Dome Theater

David Jacoby is a staple of the Fort Collins and Denver experimental music scene. Performing in a full body suit that illustrates his project, Jacoby puts out music that is an underrated mix of glam rock and synth pop. WhiteCatPink is arguably the most fascinating and unusual act of the festival.

The Outfit
8:15 p.m.
Illegal Pete's

Denver's the Outfit is simply a great power-pop band. But the band's lyrics delve much deeper than you might expect from such high-energy, catchy music; the Outfit's performances have the kind of oomph you'd expect from a punk band.

Slow Caves
10:45 p.m.
Hodi's Half Note

Fort Collins-based “synth-punk” band Slow Caves has spent the last two years honing its surf-inflected pop songs into polished gems, and the band just released its latest California-dreaming single.

Saturday, April 23

Ian Cooke
4:30 p.m.

Ian Cooke's combination of pop and classical sensibilities has resulted in some of the most well-crafted music of recent years. It's rare to catch the songwriter at shows these days, much less in Fort Collins.

6 p.m.
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, Dome Theater 

Avant-garde improv band Animal/object uses largely homemade instruments to make a kind of organic and informal jazz that is never the same from show to show, but always fascinating.

Check out five more must-see bands playing the Fort Collins Music Experience.
7:15 p.m.
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery,  Dome Theater

Part performance-art light show and part EDM and industrial, Hyzenborg is a dance band that defies easy categorization. Whether you're into dance music or into seeing something weird, he's got you covered.

7:30 p.m.
Aggie Theatre

Charismatic MC and beat-maker Kalhie Quinones performs as Qbala, and through humor and strikingly honest lyrics, she has established herself as a noteworthy Colorado artist with a gift for vivid storytelling.

Plume Varia
9:30 p.m.
Illegal Pete's

Since forming in 2013, Plume Varia has combined the mature creative sensibilities of Shon and Cherie Cobbs, who decided to form a lush pop band once their kids were well into their teens. Think dream pop, as well as downtempo and ethereal goth, and you'll have some idea what to expect in terms of sound and presentation.

Sound of Ceres
11 p.m.
Illegal Pete's

This Fort Collins-based dream-pop band has been gaining some momentum since debuting in spring 2015 when Karen and Ryan Hover of Candy Claws embarked on a different sound. Delving deeper into dreamlike realms, Sound of Ceres recently released Nostalgia for Infinity, its debut full-length with contributions from members of Apples in Stereo and the Drums. The band's colorful, sonically enveloping live show is not to be missed.

Stella Luce
12 a.m.
Surfside 7

Fort Collins has never been short on artists who push the boundaries of musical forms. Stella Luce comes out of that longstanding tradition as an experimental pop band that threads together electronic music, rock and unconventional string arrangements. For comparison, think Australian instrumental act Dirty Three or Katrina Ford's dark post-punk band Lovelife. It's rare that a band can evoke comparisons to sounds as diverse as Nick Cave, Firewater and Murder by Death and somehow not sound like it's trying too hard.

Fort Collins Music eXperiment or FoCoMX, Friday, April 22, through Saturday April 23, various locations in downtown Fort Collins,, $35.
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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.