Good morning! Here we are again. Weekend's over. Bummed? So are we. Luckily, there's another full slate of music to look forward to this week. As always, the choices are plentiful. From folk and metal to indie rock and jam, whatever your flavor, there are plenty of options. Mumford & Sons kick off a trio of Colorado dates tomorrow, the first two at Red Rocks, followed by a slot this weekend at Jazz Aspen Snowmass, while Phish closes out the summer concert season at Dick's Sporting Goods Park with three back-to-back shows. And there's a whole bunch more on tap. Continue reading for a full rundown of the week's best shows.
5. DATSIK @ OGDEN THEATRE | THURSDAY, 8/30 The merging of hardcore hip-hop with heavy bass lines and melodic keyboards was an inevitable one, but you would never have guessed that it would have been birthed in Canada. Datsik, known in his hometown of British Columbia as Troy Beetles, fuses the heaviest elements of rap and dubstep to create a unique sound that translates into the equivalent of standing in the middle of an epic man verses machine battlefield. With heavy distortion and intergalactic samples, Datsik delivers a show similar to Excision, a fellow Canadian who helped boost his status by collaborating on various tracks. Drawing on legendary rap influences such as Wu-Tang Clan, as well as injecting a rock flavor from the likes of Korn, Datsik is making good on the promise held by his first studio release, issued this past April on Steve Aoki's Dim Mak Records imprint.
4. KING TUFF @ MOE'S | TUESDAY, 8/28 Kyle Thomas got his start making music while living in Brattleboro, Vermont. That's where he wrote a great deal of his latest album, a self-titled affair released on Sub Pop earlier this summer. His most high-profile projects thus far have been the psych-folk band Feathers and his stoner-rock band Witch with J Mascis. Both groups are a testament to Thomas's versatility. These days, Thomas is making music as King Tuff; his first album under that name was issued in 2008, and even it contains material that's considerably different from what's on his new record. The new batch of hook-laden tunes are as much power pop as garage rock. Live, Thomas and his bandmates play with a fervent conviction that's increasingly rare these days. A bit of a character, Thomas ought to throw out some good one-liners between songs at Moe's.
3. SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS @ LARIMER LOUNGE | FRIDAY, 8/31 Named after a legendary school for pickpockets, School of Seven Bells came together when Benjamin Curtis met the Deheza twins, Alejandra and Claudia, of On!Air!Library! while his old band, Secret Machines, was on tour opening for Interpol in 2007. The trio struck up a friendship and musical partnership, which yielded several full-length albums. Fans of M83 and Ladytron will appreciate the breezy and sonically rich, electro-inflected dream pop that this group crafts so well. Rooted in lyrics written ahead of the music itself, School's songs have an uncommonly cohesive structure and informal narrative -- not unlike a short experimental film. Although Claudia dropped out of the band in 2010, the remaining members have seemingly enriched rather than stripped down the core sound of expansive melodies.
2. PURITY RING @ LARIMER LOUNGE | WEDNESDAY, 8/29 Megan James and Corin Roddick started off in the Montreal experimental-pop band Born Gold. Around two years ago, while on tour with that outfit, Roddick started further exploring his interest in electronic music and formed Purity Ring. (All the downtime on the road gives you plenty of opportunity to either drive your bandmates crazy or be productive in one of the few ways available to you.) Roddick recruited James as his singer for the project, and the result was a series of songs that the duo released before signing to the respected 4AD imprint, which released Purity Ring's debut full-length, Shrines, this summer. Sonically reminiscent of other modern experimental electronic-pop bands, like Ryat, Class Actress and Hideous Men, Purity Ring likewise taps into older sounds and melds them with modern aesthetics.
1. MUMFORD & SONS @ RED ROCKS | TUES-WEDS, 8/28-8/29 If artists like England's Mumford and Sons continue to produce some of the best music of the genre, the term "Americana" may eventually have to be replaced. Using classic American folk-rock ingredients like banjo, dobro and good old-fashioned misery, the band has become an increasingly growing musical phenomenon. Their debut album, Sigh No More, released in the States in 2010, flows from loud and raucous on songs like "Little Lion Man" to slow and tragic on cuts like "White Blank Page." The band pulls in to Red Rocks for a pair of back-to-back sold out dates on Tuesday, August 28 with Dawes and Slow Club and Wednesday, August 29 with Dawes and Nathaniel Rateliff, followed by an appearance at this coming weekend's Jazz Aspen Snowmass.
Continue reading to see the other noteworthy shows this week, and be sure to visit our massive concert calendar for a complete rundown.
PHISH @ DICK'S | FRI-SUN, 8/31-9/2 Love them or loathe them, Phish is a band that commands respect. Since forming in the early '80s in Vermont, the quartet has essentially reached nearly mythical status on the strength of its inexhaustible and always unique live shows, which has earned a legion of fans whose fandom is among the most unconditionally devoted and enthusiastic in all of music, rivaled only perhaps by Insane Clown Posse's nation of Juggalos. The fans are so invested in the band and attuned to its music that if the band performs a themed set, they can decipher the theme almost immediately within a few songs and tell you the significance. For the second consecutive year, the band closes out the summer concert season with a three-night stand at Dick's beginning Friday night.
FLOBOTS @ TWIST & SHOUT | TUESDAY, 8/28 After releasing two albums on the Universal Republic, the breakout 2007 debut, Fight With Tools, and its 2010 follow-up, Survival Story, Flobots return with a brand new fourteen-track record on Shanachie, The Circle in the Square. In honor of the album's release and in advance of an extensive cross-country tour that kicks off next month in Missoula, Montana, the homegrown quintet stops by Twist & Shout for an intimate in-store performance.
EYEHATEGOD @ MARQUIS THEATER | WEDNESDAY, 8/29 Eyehategod has been together since 1988, and, except for a revolving cast of bass players, it's still the same lineup. Combining hardcore, punk, blues and metal, this crushingly heavy New Orleans sludge-metal act sounds something like Black Flag meets Black Sabbath, chopped and screwed. And after almost a quarter century of innovating, the five-man band is finally getting the respect it deserves as a musical force that has influenced artists all over the world.
JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | TUES, 8/28 After five years riding shotgun with the Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell veered off on his own behind the wheel of his own rig. Isbell, who joined the Truckers in time for 2002's Southern Rock Opera tour, always seemed slightly out of step with the other Truckers. While songs like "The Day John Henry Died" fit rather seamlessly alongside those of Hood and Mike Cooley, others he penned -- including "Goddamn Lonely Love," "Danko/Manuel" and "Outfit," which effectively conjured the spirit of "Simple Man" for the iTunes generation -- stood out as being far less gritty and raucous, and decidedly more conscious and incisive. In the eyes of fans, Isbell had steadily emerged as a talented songsmith that deserved a vehicle of his own, to steer as he saw fit. And Isbell eventually reached the same conclusion, and he's seen a lot of road since.
MC CHRIS @ MARQUIS THEATER | THURSDAY, 8/30 Whereas most rappers make a name for themselves by slaying competitors in freestyle rhyme battles, MC Chris came up through strange circumstances: voicing a cartoon spider. Fans of the Cartoon Network's cult favorite Adult Swim series should know Chris from his hyper-obnoxious voice as Hesh on Sealab 2021 and various characters on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, including Sir Loin and Little Brittle. In one Aqua Teen episode, he made his hilarious mark by voicing the infamous MC Pee Pants, a gigantic diaper-wearing, gangster-rapping spider that rhymed "candy" with "Jessica Tandy." MC Chris's rhymes about ninjas, Pikachu and Dungeons & Dragons have rendered him godfather of the newest (and most poorly named) subgenre of rap: nerdcore.
MUTEMATH @ COMFORT DENTAL | THURSDAY, 8/30 Originally something of a long-distance songwriting partnership, Mutemath eventually based itself in keyboardist Paul Meany's home town of New Orleans. Artists from that town seem to be able to pull off eclectic without seeming like musical dilettantes, and Mutemath is no exception. Its popularity with fans of jam bands and improvisational music is somewhat curious, considering that much of Mutemath's material is an amalgamation of electronic pop and atmospheric rock, with threads of R&B running through it. But the musicianship is impeccable, and the songs have a flowing groove underlining their melodies, suggesting some jazz training among the group's members. Despite getting boosts into the mainstream from high-profile opening slots like this one opening for Linkin Park and Incubus, Mutemath's high-energy show speaks for itself -- beyond its imaginative yet radio-friendly songwriting.
PRONG @ GOTHIC THEATRE | MONDAY, 8/27 Singer/whammy-bar enthusiast Tommy Victor is the only constant member of Prong (sharing a bill Monday with Static-X, Davey Suicide and 9 Electric). Like a defiant middle finger supported by lesser digits, Victor perfected the fusion of hardcore and thrash attempted by Dirty Rotten Imbeciles in the '80s. He brought enough sludge but didn't get bogged down like Helmet, then added gruff vocals and a manly attitude that lent credibility the Cro-Mags never had.
MERLE HAGGARD @ BELLY UP IN ASPEN | TUESDAY, 8/28 Seventy-five-year-old country legend Merle Haggard is still making crowds giddy with cuts like "The Fightin' Side of Me" and "Mama Tried," when most men his age can barely open a car door. He released an album, Working In Tennessee, last fall and shows no signs of slowing down the touring grind, even if lung cancer tried to stop him in his tracks a few years back. Haggard kicks off a pair of Colorado dates on Tuesday night in Aspen at the Belly Up, followed by a show that Wednesday night in Pueblo at the Colorado State Fair.
Visit our concert calendar for a complete rundown of this week's shows.