The five best concerts in Colorado this weekend

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See also: - Dave Gonzalez of Paladins fame on the Stone River Boys and playing country soul - Review: The Reverend Horton Heat at the Odgen, 1/28/12 - Kappa Cell takes over the Lion's Lair with its dark, dystopian hysteria

Welcome to the weekend! As per usual, there's a gajillion shows to choose from. We have them all listed in our concert calendar, which, as you know, is the most comprehensive database you're going to find this side of anywhere. Seriously, it's massive. Take a look at the thing. It's overwhelming even for us. And since you've been working your butt off all week, we're guessing that you haven't had a chance to cull through the listings to find your weekend's best bets. That's why you have us. We've done all the heavy lifting for you, and put together a list of the five best concerts in Colorado this weekend -- we'd say Denver, but, as you'll see, a few of these are outside the city limits -- followed by a list of a few others that are worth checking out.

05. STONE RIVER BOYS @ EL DIABLO | SUN, 8/12/12 Starting in the '80s, guitarist Dave Gonzalez released a number of albums with the Southern California-based roots rockabilly trio the Paladins before later founding the western soul group the Hacienda Brothers in 2003 with Chris Gaffney. After Gaffney was diagnosed with liver cancer in early 2008, Gonzalez recruited a group of Austin musicians, including Mike Barfield, onetime leader of the Hollister, to do a benefit tour for Gaffney. After Gaffney passed away later that year, the band kept touring and eventually dubbed themselves the Stone River Boys. That outfit extends the direction of the Hacienda Brothers and delves into country soul. We spoke with Gonzalez about the group, as well as its forthcoming album. Check out the full interview here, and if you can't make it out to El Diablo's Rockabilly and Ribs, be sure to catch the Stone River Boys on Saturday at Central City Roots Ruckus.

04. THE REVEREND HORTON HEAT @ LARIMER LOUNGE | FRI, 8/10/12 Used to be that fire out of a tailpipe and the crystalline splatter of broken bottles in the street meant that the Rev was in town and parking his extra long Caddy on your lawn. But, hey, everybody gets old. So after some jazz-tinkering side work, Jim Heath and his trusty rhythm section have returned in a Horton of somewhat less Heat, if still full of satisfying guitar-made flavor. Shucks, that's alright. Hair grease and cuffed jeans will still rule the night.

03. BLIND PILOT @ CHAUTAUQUA AUDITORIUM | SAT, 8/11/12 Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski know something about getting back to basics. Before they put together their brilliant debut full-length, 3 Rounds and a Sound, the two men who make up Portland-based Blind Pilot conducted a strictly human-powered tour of their home coast. The same austere spirit that had the two young musicians pedaling and sweating from gig to gig informs the bittersweet acoustic indie pop of 3 Sounds. The record's eleven tracks are imbued with simplicity and sincerity that is arresting, immediate and effective. Most songs are realized with just Dobrowski's delicate drumming and Nebeker's guitar and voice, and this stripped-down approach draws attention to every stitch, wrinkle and blemish. Fortunately, the songwriting -- insightful, honest and sweetly melodic -- thrives under scrutiny, richly rewarding an attentive listener. A six-piece for the last few years, Blind Pilot released the equally compelling We Are the Tide last year.

02. ALABAMA SHAKES @ FOX THEATRE | FRI, 8/10/12 The FMQB Triple A Conference has taken over Boulder's Hill for the past couple of days, and there's one night left. Tonight, you can expect a stacked lineup that includes Husky on the Hill stage, along with Good Old War and Alabama Shakes at the Fox. The latter, fresh off a two-night run with Neil Young at Red Rocks, is a must-see. A number of bands are returning to a Southern-rock sound these days, but much of the music they're making is too derivative to be interesting. Alabama Shakes bucks that trend. The group's members, who met in high school and forged the kind of personal bond that shines through in the music, don't sound like they went back and mined their parents' record collections in an effort to emulate some bygone glory days. Instead, singer and guitarist Brittany Howard sings with an impassioned believability that sounds like she has experienced more of life than her young years could hope to contain. Her earthy vocals and the band's solid, vibrant musicianship are both remarkable for their emotional depth. The band's 2012 album, Boys & Girls, captures a taste of that soul-driven rock, but it's best experienced live.

01. BOHEMIAN NIGHTS @ DOWNTOWN FORT COLLINS | 8/10/12 - 8/12/12 Okay, hands down, best bang for your buck this weekend is happening in Fort Collins. It's the eighth annual edition of Bohemian Nights at New West. This free, three-day festival, which kicks off tonight in downtown FoCo and runs through Sunday, features a trio of headliners: Alison Krauss and Union Station with Jerry Douglas, Gypsy Kings and Michael Franti & Spearhead, along with a massive local lineup of nearly a hundred acts, including Slim Cessna's Auto Club, DeVotchKa, Signal Path, Fierce Bad Rabbit, and tons more. For the price of a tank of gasoline, you can take in some of the best music on the Front Range.

Page down for the word on a few more great shows.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III @ DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS | FRI, 8/10/12 For forty very odd years, Loudon Wainwright III's lacerating wit, unflinching candor and impish glee have combined to skewer everything in sight, from the near and dear to the feared -- which, as it now turns out, is the Grim Reaper. LW3's favorite protagonist has always been himself, making self-deprecation a highly twisted art form. His latest, Older Than My Old Man Now, is a morbid laugh riot about "death 'n' decay," physical infirmities, geriatric medication, fractured families, regrets, confusion and fleeting time, and was apparently triggered by the 65-year-old III lapping II, who died at 63. Accompanying Loudon are all four Wainwright offspring and guests like Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who duets on "Double Lifetime," a desperate but jaunty plea for another go-round since "I wasted my first one." Wainwright is cheerfully sardonic throughout most of the album, cleverly peppering the tunes with wry humor. But there's also inevitable poignancy at work, bittersweet and haunting, as he pokes at a lifetime of uncomfortable truths.

LOS LONELY BOYS @ ARVADA CENTER | FRI, 8/10/12 Although Los Lonely Boys were heavily influenced by growing up in a family of musicians, they're no Partridge Family. Moving with their dad and stepmom around the country -- from living out of a tent in California to performing with their dad in smoky Nashville bars -- in search of that big musical break, they cultivated a distinct roots-rock sound that takes cues from influences as diverse as Jimi Hendrix and Los Lobos, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Willie Nelson.

THE MAGIC BEANS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | FRI, 8/10/12 Nestled in the hills of Nederland, you'll find the Magic Beans, an outfit that is growing strong roots in the ever blossoming jam scene in Colorado with a sturdy base of jazz, rock, bluegrass and electronica. While the group's song catalog isn't that extensive quite yet, the group offers up some in-depth jams that easily tell a story with a blend of several different styles. Although composition is obviously important to the band, the act is just as focused on honing their live performances so the fans have something special to look forward to in each show -- that is, in addition to the rides to the shows themselves. That sense of community isn't limited to the other bands; it carries over to the fans. For most of their shows, the Beans captain a party bus full of raging bodies.

THE KAPPA CELL @ LION'S LAIR | SAT, 8/11/12 The Kappa Cell is made up of Don White -- a guy best known for his stints in experimental metal band New Ancient Astronauts, outsider progressive outfit Action Friend and mutant funk phenoms the Good Grime Sound System -- and James Jewkes and Reid Felecos, a pair of fellow explorers of the otherworldly vistas of analog, electronic spaces. Reminiscent at times of Walter/Wendy Carlos's early work, the Kappa Cell captures the dystopian feel of Thomas Disch's Camp Concentration and the sense of claustrophobic hysteria in J.G. Ballard's High Rise while making music that's still darkly entrancing and expansive. And there's a visceral quality to the act in the live setting that takes the sound beyond merely ambient: The rich detail with which these guys color their songs is cinematic in scope and as atmospheric as a mid-morning fog -- simultaneously bright and mysterious.

SUBLIME WITH ROME @ RED ROCKS | SUN, 8/12/12 Long Beach ska/punk/reggae trio Sublime had close to a stellar decade-long run with hits like "What I Got" and "Santeria" until the death of frontman Brad Nowell in 1996. Surviving members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh formed Long Beach Dub Allstars a year later and kept the group going until 2002. Three years ago, the two recruited singer Rome Ramirez and resurrected the Sublime name, and last year the group the released Yours Truly on Fueled By Ramen.

Check out our newly revamped concert calendar for a complete listing of all of tonight's shows. Page down for rundown of tomorrow night's best bets.

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