The Eight Best Shows This Weekend in Denver

There are some punk rock bands playing next to the football stadium this weekend. Perhaps you've heard. There are plenty of options for those not headed to Riot Fest, including the inaugural Cloak & Dagger fest, with an impeccable lineup full of some of dance music's most interesting up-and-coming artists. If you go to Grace Potter & the Nocturnals show at Red Rocks, don't miss irresistible opener Lake Street Dive. Also in town this weekend: Sir Elton John. The rest of our picks follow.

Lotus Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 7:30 p.m. September 19

Genre-defying five-piece dance and jam band Lotus will be playing its annual Red Rocks show on September 19. The set was originally targeted to support of the band's most recent album

Gilded Age

, but after the group debuted a successful new Talking Heads tribute set, featuring Gabriel Otto of Denver's Pan Astral, at Gathering of the Vibes in Connecticut last month, Lotus decided to bring that same set -- called Talking Heads Deconstructed -- to its show in Denver. Otto will sing at Red Rocks as well.

Greenway After Party The Bridge in Riverfront Park

Part of the Greenway Foundation's benefit, After Party on the Bridge features an impressive lineup of Colorado talent, playing in a truly unusual setting on the bridge in Riverfront Park. There will be performances from Paper Bird and Human Agency alongside a pop-up performance by the Wonderbound ballet company and DJ sets by Chuck Lepley.

Riot Fest Sports Authority Field at Mile High : September 19; September 20; September 21

Marijuana Deals Near You

If music festivals are good for one thing it's seeing great new bands. If they're good for anything else it's seeing bands you used to really like play again after a long hiatus. This year's Riot Fest has a great crop of both new and old acts, so for anyone that missed these bands the first time around now's as good a time as any to catch up on what everyone's been carrying on about, like Failure, Glassjaw, Mineral, Face to Face and Hot Snakes. The Cure, The National, Rise Against, Weezer, Wu Tang Clan, Primus, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, Descendents, Die Antwoord, Social Distortion, NOFX, City & Colour, Dropkick Murphys, Buzzcocks, Gogol Bordello are some other acts playing during this three-day fest in the parking lot Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Cloak & Dagger Music Festival City Hall : September 20

The Hundred, one of Denver's most prominent event promoters and show producers, hosts one-day festival called Cloak and Dagger at City Hall and Vinyl, on Saturday, September 20. The lineup looks promising, and given that it's spread across four stages in the Golden Triangle, this new style of show could set a promising precedent for events moving forward. Cashmere Cat and Holy Ghost! are set to headline, and Justin Martin of the Dirtybird crew is on board as well, plus many more international and local acts. Cloak and Dagger is the first of its kind for Denver, although the Great American Techno Festival has preceded it with a similar style of music.

Elton John Pepsi Center : 8:00 p.m. September 20

The musical environment in which Elton John first appeared was not exactly friendly to a piano-playing pop-rock crooner in glittery suits. When John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight) first appeared, he had a tough act -- the whole of the deadly-earnest hippie era -- to follow. He had already ridden out the '60s with some industry success behind the scenes, putting Bernie Taupin's lyrics to music and creating hits for artists like Lulu. With Taupin, he soon put together his own debut album, the self-titled Elton John, which was released in 1970 and featured the single "Your Song." It was a sweeping, genre-less hit, one of pure melodic and lyrical satisfaction. This was pop with a timeless appeal and a kind of reflective, almost bittersweet mood at which John would prove a master. And his follow-up albums -- 1970's

Tumbleweed Connection

, 1973's

Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player

, and

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

-- were equally polished.

Kinfolk Celebration Planet Bluegrass Ranch : September 19; September 20

Planet Bluegrass, the Lyons-based outfit that brings you the enormously popular Telluride Bluegrass, RockyGrass and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, also host Yonder Mountain String Band's two-day Kinfolk Celebration on the fifteen-acre Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons on Friday, September 19 and Saturday, September 20. John Bell (of Widespread Panic) and Jason Carter & Ronnie McCoury, The Travelin' McCourys, The Milk Carton Kids, Head for the Hills, The Haunted Windchimes and others are also on the bill.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 6:30 p.m. September 20

A hippy love child from Vermont, Grace Potter's gone her own way and found substantial success in the process. Her crisp sonorous voice recalls Sheryl Crow, only bluesier. Though first embraced by the roots-jam crowd for the loose folk-funk of their 2005 debut

Nothing But Water

, Potter's never been one to sit still. Her 2007 follow-up

This is Somewhere

, dipped toes in MOR and jazzy songwriter folk, and her eponymous 2010 release teamed her with producer Mark Batson (Alicia Keyes, Béyonce). That album's exploration of polished roots/pop-soul suits Potter's powerful pipes and is their best charting release.

Skylab XX Denver Coliseum : September 20

It's easy for EDM snobs to hate on Tiësto. The Dutch DJ-producer's house and trance records are nuggets of music easily consumed by the masses. They aren't always risky or forward-thinking, but they seem to get the job done and, more important, make a lot of people happy. Tonight, he headlines Skylab XX with Eric Prydz, Seven Lions, Danny Avila, Manufactured Superstars and more also on the bill.

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