The best concerts in Denver this week

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FRI | ONEREPUBLIC'S DENVER ACOUSTIC CHRISTMAS at OGDEN | 12/20 Over the last few years OneRepublic has made its acoustic Christmas shows an annual event that helps local charities. This year's show, which also features Gungor, is a benefit for Colorado flood relief. VIP ticket includes ticket to the show, autographed OneRepublic photo, Denver Acoustic Christmas show poster, plus an after-party meet and greet with OneRepublic.

See also: All upcoming concerts in our constantly updated Denver concert calendar

FRI | HARD WORKING AMERICANS at BOULDER THEATER | 12/20/13 Hard Working Americans, a supergroup made up of Todd Snider, Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi and Duane Trucks of Col. Bruce Hampton's School of Music, is making its live debut this week at the Boulder Theater. The show, which also serves as the kick off of the band's inaugural tour in support of its self-titled debut album (due out on Tuesday, January 21), is a benefit for the United Way Flood Relief fund sponsored by Boedecker Foundation.

THURS | WILL HOGE at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 12/19/13 In a time when singer-songwriters are as plentiful -- and nearly as indistinguishable -- as the corporate coffee shops lining the streets of tony shopping districts, Will Hoge stands out like a homegrown roaster serving his hand-picked beans in a secondhand mug in some bohemian boutique. Hoge's raspy, soulful voice is as expressive as it is authentic: Every word he sings sounds genuinely heartfelt, like he's lived it, whether he's indulging his Southern-rock roots on cuts such as "Pocketful of Change," doing his best Otis Redding on "When I Get My Wings" or singing with a pained resignation on ballads like "Goodnight/Goodbye." And Hoge's songs are affecting even when he's not doing the singing: Just ask the Eli Young Band, which has made "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," a song Hoge co-wrote, a country staple.

THURS | VINCE HERMAN & FRIENDS at CERVANTES' | 12/19/13 When Leftover Salmon vocalist and overall Papa Bear Vince Herman takes the stage at Cervantes', he'll be billed as "Vince Herman and Friends." Considering he has some of the most musically talented friends on the planet, the show should have the exuberant festival feel that his personality naturally brings to the stage. The last time the outfit came through, it was playing an after-show party following Phish at Dick's. This show should only be a tiny bit less out of control.

THURS | RED FANG at BLACK SHEEP | 12/19/13 If loudness does indeed equal greatness, then Portland's Red Fang could give Spinal Tap a run for its money. But more than volume, the band displays great musicianship, with sizzling guitar leads and complex breakdowns. In a genre becoming saturated with similar ideas and styles, most bands would be well advised to take a cue from Red Fang.

FRI | KBPI LOCALS ONLY XMAS SHOW at SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 12/20/13 Even though Lola Black's lineup includes former members of Blister 66, Snapstick Dynomite and the Eight Bucks Experiment, the band isn't entirely a punk affair. Sure, there's a punk spirit in revved-up cuts like "Hit the Road" and "Take Back," but the rest of the music is more rooted in refined hard rock and metal. Full of catchy hooks and riffs, cuts like "Better Left Unsaid" borrow from both worlds. Frontwoman Lola Black, who sounds like a grittier and more vigorous Gwen Stefani, is not afraid to belt it out when she needs to. Catch Lola Black at the Summit with Tattooed Strings, Flood of Souls, Inelements and Extreme Turbo Smash.

FRI | HOT CONGRESS HOLIDAY SHOWCASE at BLUEBIRD | 12/20/13 It's been a memorable year for Hot Congress Records. With nine releases this year under its belt and three new acts joining the roster, the Denver imprint has plenty to celebrate at its annual holiday showcase. This year's edition features a stacked bill that includes Princess Music, Shady Elders, the Blue Rider and Science Partner, all hosted by Chris Charpentier of the Fine Gentleman's Club.

FRI | PROTOHYPE at BETA NIGHTCLUB | 12/20/13 With a gaggle of features on cuts from some of the biggest names in dubstep and trap, Protohype knows how to send a club into a frenzy of slow churning swag. It's hard to play a set of just trap and expect a club like Beta to take it all in, which is why Protohype offers up a platter of drum and bass, trap and dubstep. Keep an ear out for the Paper Diamond/Protohype banger "Paperhype."

THURS | BURT BACHARACH at PIKES PEAK CENTER | 12/19/13 It's easy to be awed by Burt Bacharach. He's one of the most prolific quality pop songwriters of the past four decades. His melodic tunes have broken into the Billboard Top 40 on 66 occasions, beginning with Marty Robbins's version of "The Story of My Life" in '57, and 28 of them have hit the Top 10. He has nabbed the No. 1 position six times, and his music has won a few Academy Awards, a few Grammys and a Tony. He was also married to everybody's favorite Police Woman, superbabe Angie Dickinson. Not bad for a guy who really wanted to play football and hated taking piano lessons.

THURS | BLACKALICIOUS at AGGIE THEATRE | 12/19/13 Sacramento, California-based hip-hop duo Blackalicious has released three full-length records in the two decades it's been in action: 1999's Nia, 2002's Blazing Arrow, and 2005's The Craft. But don't dismiss Gift of Gab (Timothy Parker) and DJ/producer Chief Xcel (Xavier Mosley) as slackers. Though they might not appear to be a prolific outfit, Gift of Gab crams more rhymes into his three-or-four minute songs than most rappers manage on half an album.

• BACKBEAT'S GREATEST HITS • - The fifty best rap lyrics of all time - The ten biggest concert buzzkills - Five more concert buzzkills - From Phish to Floyd, the ten best light shows

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