Westword Music Showcase

The 36 best songs you might hear on the main stage at this year's Westword Music Showcase

The 20th annual Westword Music Showcase is less than two months away. This year's installment will be on June 21. It's the day Denver music goes on vacation to the Golden Triangle, and I can go from watching a rapper to watching a punk band to watching a band with five stringed instruments in the space of an hour.

Tickets are on sale now. We'll announce the vast majority of the lineup very soon, and we'll spend plenty of time between now and the actual festival telling you about all 300-plus Westword Music Award nominees.

Also, this year's main stage is a pretty good party. It will feature Diplo, 2 Chainz, Cherub, Man Man and King Khan and the Shrines, and in case you're looking for a primer on that, we've put together a playlist of some of our favorite songs by those acts. Further explanation follows.

How about that ankle-breaking turn from "I'm Different" to "Van Helsing Boombox"? Hey, I tried. Let's just say I wouldn't hold my breath on a 2 Chainz/Man Man collaboration album. Still, there is a through line here -- none of these artists is too cool to do silly things in their music in the pursuit of good times. Those are frequently the best kinds of live bands, especially outdoors in the summer.

We were generous in interpretation here, allowing any song to which a main stage artist made substantial contribution. That means a bunch of songs produced by Diplo, like "Gringo" and Usher's "Climax." And there are a few 2 Chainz guest verses, like on "Beez in the Trap" and that incredible turn in "Mercy." Those songs could all conceivably appear on a set list. Less likely to actually appear on stage this June are the songs from King Khan's previous bands, including the Spaceshits and King Khan & BBQ Show. Still, those tracks give you an idea of the colossal energy and talent of the man.

So yeah, on June 21 we'll all get together and demonstrate the remarkable things going on in Colorado music. And there will be some pretty solid party-starting out-of-town guests around as well.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kiernan Maletsky is a former Westword intern.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky