FRI & SAT | THE BLACK CROWES at OGDEN THEATRE|11/15-11/16 In the late '80s, many young musicians were embracing the myth of the '60s. In 1989, the Black Crowes (due at the Ogden Theatre on Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16) emerged from that cultural backdrop with a bluesy, '70s-hard-rock edge and jangle-inflected improvisational inclinations, presaging virtually every element of the most recent wave of classic-rock revisionism. Their debut album, 1990's Shake Your Money Maker, was a massive success on the strength of the band's take on the Otis Redding staple "Hard to Handle." Famously tumultuous interband dynamics notwithstanding, the Crowes have persevered -- partly because they grew into a great rock-and-roll band, and partly because there is no denying the charisma and wit of frontman Chris Robinson.
FRI | NAS at SOGNAR'S SHREDDED BEATS, CERVANTES | 11/15/13 Though he is a legend in most every rap fan's book, Nas suffers an inescapable qualifier of his own making: the inability to escape the shadow of his legendary debut. This had even led some to label Nas overrated, but the rest of his work is only weak in comparison to his greatest. It's clear that no rapper could have adequately followed Illmatic because the album remains, to this day, hip-hop's greatest, most perfect treasure. And even if he hasn't made another classic album, per se, Nas has earned plenty of other accolades that would make a lesser rapper's career.
FRI | DELTRON 3030 at BOOM FESTIVAL, 1STBANK CENTER | 11/15/13 Deltron 3030 isn't so much a group or an album as it is a mode of thought, and there are few hip-hop albums (or albums of any genre, for that matter) with the cinematic quality of this act's self-titled debut. Dan the Automator created deeply textured and darkly evocative soundscapes, aided by Kid Koala's turntablism, as a backdrop for Teren Delvon Jones (aka Del tha Funkee Homosapien, aka Deltron Zero) to tell the tale of how he becomes Galactic Rhyme Federation Champion. Similar to Dan the Automator's earlier work with Kool Keith, Dr. Octagonecologyst, but more coherent and accessible, this album proved that hip-hop could successfully travel to a place that only geeks had gone before: Silly non sequiturs, outer space fantasy and ridiculous characters all became fair game, and so did the out-crowd that relished them. Deltron 3030 returns to Denver with a new album, Event 2, as part of the Boom Festival, which is being headlined by Excision and features Funtcase, Cookie Monsta and more.
FRI | BLITZEN TRAPPER at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 11/15/13 Songs like "Fletcher," a rambling, electric guitar-infused ballad from Blitzen Trapper's 2011 album, American Goldwing, like much of the act's music, feels like it's part of a larger narrative. Written by the quiet and mysterious frontman Eric Earley, that song like others from the album strike a chord that's almost Odyssean: From the heartbreak to the wild times to the self-reflection feelings, it's as if they're part of a continuous life journey in which a man is trying to make his way home.
FRI | BUTCH WALKER at LARIMER LOUNGE | 11/15/13 Although the two records that Butch Walker made with the Black Widows were collaborative efforts, from songwriting to production, Walker opted for a more personal approach on his new five-song EP, Peachtree Battle. The album is about his father, who passed away in August at the age of 72 and was featured in the new documentary Butch Walker: Out of Focus. Walker is a revered songwriter that seems to write incisive reflective songs as easily as he pens hits, having worked with Pink, Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy and Train.