The eleven best shows in Denver this weekend

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Summer was underway. It was. But just in case you were waiting to roll down the windows and put away your sweaters, the Ink Monstr pool party series kicks off on Sunday. There are shows for those of us no interested in thigh exposure as well -- Reckless Kelly is in town, as is moe. and Tech N9ne. The rest of our picks follow.

moe. Mishawaka Amphitheatre : Friday, June 13

These jam-band veterans are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, but they're still creating interesting new stuff while refreshing old classics. The outfit doesn't rely on tons of lasers to excite an audience, just group communication and lots of improvisation to keep your ears tuned in to what's coming next.

Rebirth Brass Band Gothic Theatre : Friday, June 13

Before neotraditionalism, before smooth jazz, way before the birth of the cool was a gleam in Miles Davis's appraising eye, hell, even before Louis Armstrong hefted his first trumpet, there were bands like the Rebirth Brass Band in the city of New Orleans. Their raucous horns and slamming bass lines hark back to the time when jazz was for dancers alone, and any observer who would appreciate the stuff as some form of high art would be laughed at by even its practitioners.

Reckless Kelly Grizzly Rose : Friday, June 13

Since the Braun brothers moved to Austin fifteen years ago, their band Reckless Kelly has always been considered a part of the Texas music phenomenon, but they've also always managed to stand slightly apart from that whole thing. To its credit, the band has never used the beer-taco-Mexico-tequila-Texas-Texas-Texas-more-beer lyrical template that most of the so-called Texas music bands wore like a frat pin. From the beginning, Reckless had real songs and, when they didn't have anything new, they'd rev up amazing covers of Led Zeppelin or Elvis Costello to fill the void.

Tech N9NE Aggie Theatre : Friday, June 13

At this point in his career, Tech N9ne needs no introduction to Colorado. The independent and highly successful Kansas City rapper -- who makes his fourth and final stop in the state tonight for this round of his tour -- found a niche for his bizarre hip-hop style in and around the Mile High City early on. Though not directly connected to the Insane Clown Posse's Detroit rap empire, Tech N9ne's similar clownish leanings aren't hurt by the comparisons, either: The artist taps into the Midwestern deviant feel that brings Juggalos out in droves.

Thievery Corporation Red Rocks Amphitheatre : Friday, June 13

In 1995, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton came together to form Thievery Corporation, an outfit that blends electronica with dub, jazz and bossa nova sounds to create a groovy tribal sound with Middle Eastern and Brazilian undertones. The pair's mid-tempo music, which falls somewhere between acid jazz and trip-hop, has appeared on the illustrious Kruder & Dorfmeister's DJ-Kicks series. Additionally, the act has welcomed such guest vocalists as Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction and Iranian-born diva Loulou Ghelichkhani.

Ideal Fathers Sidewinder : Saturday, June 14

Ideal Fathers didn't end its time as a band the way it ended each show -- with great drama, bluster and fiery outbursts of nervous energy. Instead, singer Jesse Hunsaker simply moved to Iowa in 2011 and became a farmer. But he didn't turn his back on the band, which has always combined its intensely kinetic energy with raw emotions and political content, skewering the roots of problems in America and beyond. Adam Rojo's innovative synthesis of noise, post-punk jaggedness and menacing shoegaze guitar was the perfect companion to Mike Perfetti and Mike King's colossal and irresistible rhythms. The band's smart, dark and pointedly surrealistic sense of humor made it an incredibly relevant unit. Ideal Fathers still plays the occasional show, including one this Saturday, June 14, at the Sidewinder Tavern, and the band is still taking a stand against the world's greedmongers and their cronies.

The Chain Gang of 1974 Marquis Theater : Saturday,. June 14

It's been a few years since Kam Mohager (aka the Chain Gang of 1974) has called Denver home, but if cellphone area codes are any sign of geographical allegiance, then he still keeps a little bit of Colorado close to his heart. He returns to the Mile High City to the Marquis. Busy touring far and wide following the success of his 2011 "debut" Wayward Fire, Mohager created his latest effort, Daydream Forever, during a month spent living in a swinging pad in the hills overlooking Malibu and surfing every day.

Joe Purdy Gothic Theatre : Saturday, June 14

To say that Joe Purdy is prolific would be, well, exactly accurate -- the singer-songwriter has released a dozen albums over eight years, all while touring. His workman like approach has paid off in the form of devoted fans, and live shows often become massive group sing-alongs of melancholic road songs. Tapping into the same heartfelt place Cat Stevens once did and fitting in with contemporaries like Ray LaMontagne and James Morrison, Purdy's vocal simplicity has made his work television soundtrack perfection, finding its way on early episodes of LOST and Grey's Anatomy.

O.penVAPE Presents the Ink Monstr Poolside Summer Series EXDO Event Center : Sunday, June 15

It has been said that the only thing Colorado's near-perfect landscape is missing is an ocean. O.penVAPE's Ink Monstr Poolside Summer Series seeks to remedy that by transforming the Exdo Events Center into a sandy oasis complete with an above-ground pool, an adult-sized Slip 'N Slide and, yes, more than a hundred tons of sand.

"I'm trying to bring the beach to Colorado, basically -- bring it right into the city," says Ink Monstr's Reed Silberman about the six-party series.

Enjoy tunes from live local DJs and relax poolside on a deck built just for the occasion, or catch some rays on on the faux beach with hundreds of your closest friends. As in years past, live tattooing, screen-printing, a photo booth, a dunk tank and lawn games will provide additional fun in the sun.

Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge : Sunday, June 15

Guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Scott Amendola teamed up in the mid '90s as part of T.J. Kirk, an outfit that played the music of Thelonious Monk, James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Amendola, who also appears on a few of Hunter's mid-'90s Blue Note recordings, has worked with a number of musicians since then, including the Nels Cline Singers. In 2012, the two teamed up again to record the duo album Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead, and last year they released Pucker, an album featuring Amendola's songs.

Xavier Rudd Ogden Theatre : Sunday, June 15

Australian-born performer Xavier Rudd takes the multi-instrumentalist label far beyond its usual connotation. In addition to creating music with his voice and an acoustic guitar, he employs didgeridoos, djembes, cymbals, stomp boxes and slide guitars. This is perhaps why Rudd's music is best experienced live and what has made him a Bonnaroo staple.

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