The Eighteen Best Shows in Denver This Weekend

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Another huge weekend in Denver, including the second and third sold-out Shakey Graves shows at the Bluebird. Elsewhere, pop god Fleetwood Mac plays the Pepsi Center and doom hero Pallbearer is in town on Sunday. The rest of our picks follow.

Say Anything and Saves The Day Summit Music Hall : December 12

Freddie Mercury be damned. Say Anything frontman Max Bemis's performance two years ago at the Summit Music Hall resembled more than a tribute to Queen's lead singer; it was a show of peacockery that successfully encapsulated the evening's restless atmosphere. Bemis did the mic-stand-over-the-audience thing. He wrapped the mic cord around his neck. He jumped off the drum riser, all David Lee Roth-like. The man knows how to get his swagger on.

Bonnie & the Beard Hi-dive : December 12

Nearly four years ago, Tony LoVerde and Megan Fong were in a car, waiting at a stoplight, when another vehicle slammed into them. They both sustained injuries, but the ensuing recovery period gave them time to concentrate on Bonnie and the Beard, which they'd founded as a duo in the fall of 2009 (they later brought in drummer Alex Ferreira). The two, who share vocal duties in the band, got busy writing songs and honing their sound -- folky, singer-songwriter-based material spiked with dusty desert blues and country. The music eventually morphed into what LoVerde describes as "whiskey-slinging, boot-stomping gypsy rock," as evidenced on the group's 2011 self-titled debut. There's also a carnival feel to some of the tracks on 2012's Cascavel.

Dillon Francis 1STBANK Center : 7:00 p.m. December 12

No one can accuse Dillon Francis of taking himself too seriously. Sure, he might be guilty of prank-calling, re-creating Ghost's pottery wheel scene with 12th Planet on YouTube, or giving away ham at shows, but he's never been one of those self-important EDM producers obsessed with image. Instead, the 26-year-old prefers to obsess over Taco Bell, cats, Tiësto, or whatever absurd bit he's planning next -- and he's definitely got a lot of 'em. When Francis isn't performing or producing, he's uploading videos of arguments with himself to Instagram, trolling Twitter, or creating another of his farcical alter egos, such as German deep house weirdo DJ Hanzel.

Fleetwood Mac Pepsi Center : 8:00 p.m. December 12

The first two albums Fleetwood Mac released after Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Christine McVie, bassist John McVie, and drummer Mick Fleetwood provided the pop soundtrack of the late 1970s. The tender nature of singles like "Landslide," the mysticism of "Rhiannon," and the bold confessional nature of "Go Your Own Way" and "The Chain" struck a chord with anyone with a radio and a pair of working ears. Rumours would go on to be one of the top ten selling albums of all time. It continues to resonate today as much as it did when it was first released in 1977, influencing musicians for generations to come, providing the soundtrack for '90s presidential campaigns, and continuing to set itself upon the lofty perch of various "all-time best album" lists.

How the Grouch Stole Christmas Featuring The Grouch & Eligh Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom : December 12

The Grouch & Eligh incorporate elements of pop and alternative rock in their infectious brand of feel-good hip-hop. They never quite caught on nationally but have a huge fanbase locally and seem to be here all the time.

The Samples 25th Anniversary Fillmore Auditorium : 8:00 p.m. December 12

Throughout the '90s, the Samples enjoyed some commercial and critical success with music in the general vein of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, the Dave Matthews Band and Counting Crows. But the Samples, curiously, didn't enjoy quite the stratospheric popularity of many of their peers, even though their music has arguably aged better. The Samples' perfect mixture of acoustic and electric, along with a diverse songwriting approach, gave their material a certain longevity and timelessness. Tonight, the band celebrates its 25th anniversary with all the original members performing their self-titled debut in its entirety plus other songs.

Skinny Puppy Ogden Theatre : 7:00 p.m. December 12

Formed in 1982, Skinny Puppy is a pioneer of electronic industrial music. The band's dark aesthetic and its visionary amalgamation of rhythm, texture and tone cast an indelible shadow on virtually all industrial music that followed in its wake. Throughout its career, Skinny Puppy has presented an irreverent yet nightmarish reflection of the horrors and absurdities of the modern Western cultural land-scape. The group's landmark album, Remission, from 1984, provided a blueprint for such modern purveyors of the genre as Youth Code and Genessier. Too Dark Park, from 1990, and its supporting tour cemented Skinny Puppy's reputation as a band whose music and performance get under your skin like few others. The group's latest effort, last year's stark and affecting Weapon, is handily its finest effort since 1992's Last Rights.

Alice 105.9's Alice in Winterland Summit Music Hall : December 13

Neon Trees quickly transitioned from a band with "Animal," one radio hit to a sensation that demands our full attention. As the band's fan base grows, so does the strength of its songwriting and the frequency of costume changes. And with so many people looking, the little band with a big sound from Provo, Utah, puts the spotlight on a host of issues, including embracing their Mormonism and sticking to their faith while living life as rock stars on the road.

Animals as Leaders and Devin Townsend Project Gothic Theatre : 8:00 p.m. December 13

Tosin Abasi first made his mark as the guitarist in technical-metal band Reflux. He so impressed the band's label, Prosthetic Records, with his proficiency and creativity that it offered to release a solo album. But Abasi decided he needed firmer grounding in music theory and formal training in his instrument. After graduating from the Atlanta Institute of Music, he formed Animals as Leaders, a name inspired by Daniel Quinn's 1992 novel, Ishmael. Musically, Abasi didn't cast too far afield from his roots, and his instrumental songwriting for Animals is well within the realm of progressive metal. The trio's third album, The Joy of Motion, came out last March.

EOTO Ogden Theatre : 9:00 p.m. December 13

Consisting of former String Cheese Incident members Michael Travis and Jason Hann, the electronic duo EOTO brings, as expected, heavy shades of the jam scene's improvisational ethic to its brand of dance music. In fact, the group stresses that all of its sounds are completely improvised, that none of the material is worked out in advance, and that EOTO uses no prerecorded loops whatsoever.

The Killagans 3 Kings Tavern : December 13

Dave Mansfield is best known for his punk-rock band, the Mansfields, a highlight of the late-'90s punk scene in Colorado. Many of the group's peers were brash and snotty and played great, melodic songs. The Mansfields seemed to have something more -- a sense of theater, you could say, but they didn't beat you over the head with it. For the past few years, Mansfield has fronted The Röxy Suicide, a mostly female synth-glam-punk outfit. You can still hear the influence of the likes of Hanoi Rocks, T. Rex and the Cramps in the Röxy's music, but it's such a fresh take on that sound that it feels like something new. The band's latest tape, Glam-Damaged, is now out on Burger/Wiener Records, and the title track has been championed by radio legend Rodney Bingenheimer on his Sunday-night program on KROQ in Los Angeles.

Mandy Harvey Holiday Concet & CD Release Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge : 9:00 p.m. December 13

After being selected as the top vocalist at Longmont High School in 2006, Mandy Harvey went on to study music at Colorado State University. She began to lose her hearing due to nerve damage in her freshman year, but her limitations -- she's now legally deaf -- never stopped her from singing. Although she can no longer hear the music, she can feel it and is able to sing many tunes from memory. After meeting pianist Mark Sloniker through her former vocal coach, Cynthia Vaughn, she's been performing regularly at Jay's Bistro in Fort Collins. In 2009, Sloniker performed on -- and helped recruit players for -- Harvey's debut, Smile, a collection of sixteen standards that showcase the singer's gorgeous and wispy vocal delivery, which falls somewhere between Blossom Dearie and Melody Gardot. Tonight, Harvey celebrates the release of her third album, All of Me, and also performs holiday tunes.

Murs and Mayday Marquis Theater : December 13

A prolific artist and collaborator, rapper spent a dozen years grinding before scoring a major label deal for 2008's Murs for President. Since then, he's released nearly half a dozen albums, and the flurry of activity is typical of Murs (born Nick Carter), who's always been a hard worker, inspired in part by his single mother. Throughout his career, Murs has proved equally capable of grim street-level reality and heady consciousness -- without resorting to the often preachy elements of "conscious hip-hop." Often, he'll rhapsodize about the banal, like hanging on the porch with homies smoking weed, and like a chameleon, he'll adapt to any situation. He partially credits a nomadic childhood that never found him in the same place for more than a few years at a time.

Papadosio Fillmore Auditorium : 7:30 p.m. December 13

"Livetronica" is the worst name for a musical subgenre since "emo" or "rock 'n' roll." This ridiculous term is meant to denote psychedelic jam-band hippie rock that has been augmented with the technorganic delights of the future. That is, synthesizers, computers, and combinations thereof. Lucky for flagship livetronickers Papadosio, their airtight chops and prog-intricate compositions very quickly steal the spotlight from crappy blog jargon.

Shelvis Blue Christmas Show Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret : 8:00 p.m. December 13

Lori Muha started impersonating Elvis when she was just five years old. As she got older, she created the Shelvis persona and started entering contests -- filled predominantly with men -- and winning. Tonight, Shelvis will swivel her hips with her band the Roustabouts, bringing her special brand of Elvis to Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret for the Blue, Blue Christmas Show.

Shakey Graves Bluebird Theater : 9:00 p.m. December 12 and 9 p.m., Decmeber 13 (with Friends)

Shakey Graves, aka Alejandro Rose-Garcia, is a lot like many young gentlemen you might meet from Austin, Texas: shaggy hair; a soothing, McConaughey-esque accent; and a penchant for picking away at an acoustic guitar. Except that Rose-Garcia is far more talented than most of the boys playing at house shows around the Texas capital. The album behind his current tour, When the War Came, is sure to make him a mainstream name, and the fact that he enlisted the equally talented Esme Patterson (Denver's own) to help write and sing some of his songs is just icing on the cake. Graves has gained so much traction in the past year that he's playing three nights at the Bluebird -- and all three have sold out. They're sure to be memorable shows, particularly when Patterson and Rose-Garcia play "Dearly Departed," one of the best, catchiest songs of the year.

Cannabis Corpse Marquis Theater : 7:00 p.m. December 14

While Cannabis Corpse is a brutal death metal band, its members also clearly like the pot. Just take one look at the band's artwork, or read the song titles and lyrics. The band is part parody, part tribute to smoking weed, and the death metal band Cannibal Corpse. This is a murky, head trip of a merger between the technical, breakneck speed of Florida style death metal, and a passion for all things ganja. But the twist is Cannibal Corpse songs, replaced with marijuana laced tales of buds coming to life and killing people, stoners being smoked alive, lungs being filled with THC, and more stoned macabre subjects. Cannabis Corpse features members of Municipal Waste, Iron Reagan and GWAR and is heavily influenced by and constantly under the influence of THC. Fan favorites include extreme stoner takes on Cannibal Corpse songs such as 'Skull Full of Bong Hits,"(Skull Full of Maggots) "Mummified in Bong Water,"(Mummified in Barbed Wire) "Blunted at Birth,"(Butchered at Birth) and "Addicted to Hash in a Tin,"(Addicted to Vaginal Skin) among others. Brutal yet highlarious.

Pallbearer Bluebird Theater : 7:30 p.m. December 14

Being the torchbearer of the modern American doom-metal movement can be a tough job, especially when you list Kansas as one of your favorite bands. "I think we are just as much a prog-rock band as we are doom metal," says bassist and singer Joseph D. Rowland as he drives the band's van from Lexington, Kentucky, to its home base in Little Rock, Arkansas. "We're huge fans of King Crimson, Yes, Kansas...bands that pushed the envelope. We like telling a story through the music as well as the lyrics." After blowing minds all over the place with its 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction, Pallbearer put its songwriting into overdrive. On sophomore record

Foundations of Burden

, the band got even more comfortable with drawn-out epics (most of the six tunes clock in at around ten minutes), but also eased up on gloomy lyrics and heavy guitars. Becoming complacent isn't in the cards for Pallbearer.

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