Commentary

The best concerts in Denver this weekend

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FRI | BREATHE CAROLINA at SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 2/7/14 Breathe Carolina plays a particular brand of synth pop that has worn so thin, it's practically transparent. Yet in the hands of the group's leader, David Schmitt, the songs, which are tinted with a swirl of screamo, work in curiously refreshing ways. Recalling Jeff Lynne's joyful abuse of pop on the Xanadu soundtrack, the act has crafted a sound that conjures Air after one too many repeated viewings of Napoleon Dynamite. It speaks to the unevolved adolescent heart in everyone, much like the gloriously ridiculous Gil Mantera's Party Dream; as such, you can't take the members of Breathe Carolina or their music too seriously. Some wear irony and kitsch like a badge; these guys twirl it around like glow sticks at a rave, thumbing their noses at anyone who isn't having fun.

FRI & SAT | THE FUNKY METERS at CERVANTES' | 2/7-2/8 Bassist George Porter Jr. and keyboardist Art Neville were part of legendary New Orleans funk group the Meters, who know pretty much everything there is to know about locking in a groove. The group pioneered the New Orleans funk sound in late '60s into the '70s. Since the original Meters broke up in 1977, the members went their separate ways and Neville joined the Neville Brothers and Porter later formed the Funky Meters with guitarist Brian Stoltz and drummer Russell Batiste. Expect some funky good times for the group's two-night stand at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom this weekend.

SAT | NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS at GOTHIC THEATRE | 2/8/14 A Memphis-marinated trio featuring Luther and Cody Dickinson and bassist Chris Chew, the North Mississippi All-Stars hold a deep allegiance to their Delta blues forefathers while remaining open to experimentation. Inspired by the time-honored, hill-country standards of R.L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell (whose steak-bone slide playing was preserved for the Smithsonian in the late '50s by folklorist Alan Lomax), the All-Stars bring looped bottleneck beats, dub-reggae and electric washboard into the mix for a decidedly post-punk brand of thrash-blues-boogie. Hip-hooray, as the hippies all say. And while they indeed run the risk of offending purists and snobs alike, there are enough juke-joint flavorings, call-and-response vocals and gospel overtones on hand to delight the lion's share of folks who appreciate a little funk in their gutbucket. Only a musical segregationist could argue otherwise.

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