The best concerts to see in Denver this week

THURS | DEVOTCHKA at GOTHIC THEATRE | 10/31/13 It just wouldn't be October without DeVotchKa's annual Halloween extravaganza. This year, the beloved Denver act is holding court at the Gothic Theatre on Thursday, October 31, and the Boulder Theater on the following night, Friday, November 1. Shady Elders is slated to open the first night. You, Me & Apollo and Kitty Crimes open the second night.

See also: All of this week's shows in our constantly updated Denver Concert Calendar

WEDS & THURS | DEER TICK at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 10/30-10/31 What began as John McCauley's alt-country solo project emerged as the folk-meets-blues five piece, Deer Tick, in 2004. With two guitars, bass, keys, sax and drums, the band puffs up their Americana sound, even sharing vocal responsibilities on many tracks. Known for their eclectic set lists containing both original songs and covers (they have even performed entire shows under the name of their Nirvana tribute album, Deervana), they are sure to be way more interesting than the phrase "just another indie folk band" would imply.

THURS | RIFF RAFF at VINYL | 10/31/13 If Riff Raff were an artistic movement, he'd be Dadaism. As controversial a rapper as Riff Raff is now, Dada was even more so in the early twentieth century, when practitioners were viewed as the enfant terribles of the art world. Dadaists were distrustful and unsatisfied with reason and logic. As such, their artistic methods included whatever practices had been considered inartistic previously, such as assembling random words or pulling images out of context to form a nonsensical collage, similar to what Riff Raff does in his rapping. Unlike Dadaists, Riff Raff is not acting in protest of conventional rap, though his work is being received in much the same way. Riff is probably not conscious of his Dadaist tendencies, and he thus avoids the great Dada downfall, something for which the Dadaists would certainly love him.

FRI | JOEY BADA$$ at CERVANTES' MASTERPIECE BALLROOM | 11/1/13 Beginning with the powerful single "Survival Tactics," which uses a beat from Styles of Beyond's song of the same name, Joey Bada$$ has carved out a place for himself as the preeminent throwback artist. He's captured the beloved boom-bap sound in a way that few artists have since its mid-'90s heyday. That, combined with a flow that sounds like an updated Jay-Z, or U-God from the Wu-Tang Clan, casts him in a role as one of the last saving graces for rap fans who feel like the genre's best years are far behind it. Since his sophomore mixtape 1999 blew up, the rapper has taken his crew Pro Era with him into the spotlight, which includes talented rappers CJ Fly and the late Capital STEEZ (who died at his own hands late last year) and producers like Kirk Knight and Chuck Strangers. Joey's latest mixtape, Summer Knights, was arguably better than 1999, and it seems likely that his studio debut, B4.Da.$$, will be one of the most anticipated releases of 2014.

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