The Five Best Shows in Denver This Week

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

This week's best shows include Paul Collins (formerly of the Nerves) at the hi-dive with his new-ish band, the Beat. That should be a great one -- same with Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake on Thursday. The rest of our picks follow.

See also: 50 Ways to Support Your DIY Music Community

Cruel Hand Marquis Theater : 7:00 p.m. January 12

While Portland, Maine's Cruel Hand has been identified with that strangely durable neo-hardcore style of the last decade, the band's sound stretches a little further, encapsulating the diverse energy and heaviness of Metallica and Bouncing Souls. Vocalist Chris Linkovich leads Cruel Hand with a Black Flag-era Henry Rollins' authority, projecting his scream-talk with an exercised control over jutting guitars and plenty of tempo-fluctuating breakdowns.

Zola Jesus Bluebird Theater : 8:00 p.m. January 13

Though often relegated to the arty crowd rather than pop-oriented audiences, Nika Rosa Danilova's Zola Jesus project has the power to appeal to a wide range of people. Her operatic chants are deep and imposing, but when Danilova's vocal lines get swept up into the beat, her radio-friendliness really shines. She's put out five grand full-length albums, making a small dent in the Billboard charts with 2010's Conatus and last year's Taiga, but Zola Jesus is still a well-kept secret. The intensity of Danilova's art is amplified through her live performances, which find her booming voice melting with the mysterious atmosphere she creates through backing instrumentation and minimal lighting. The Wisconsin native may be on a slow rise to the mainstream, but it's a steady one. Danilova's expertly calculated literary and soulful creation could be the kind of pop act the world has been waiting for.

Paul Collins Beat hi-dive : 5:00 p.m. January 14

Paul Collins may not be a household name, but his tenure in power-pop band the Nerves had a significant impact. That band's self-titled EP had only four songs, but one of them, "Hanging on the Telephone," became a hit for Blondie. When the Nerves split, in 1978, Collins formed the Beat, and bandmate Peter Case started the Plimsouls, whose "A Million Miles Away" featured prominently in the 1983 cult film

Valley Girl

. Collins's group, meanwhile, enjoyed moderate success with its high-energy tunefulness before dissolving in 1989. Collins has since re-formed a version of the Beat, and in 2011, the Broadway-musical production of Green Day's American Idiot introduced a new audience to Collins's songwriting by including a version of his song "Walking Out on Love." This is your chance to catch the pop legend in a small club.

Bonnie and the Beard (with Miner) Larimer Lounge : January 14

Bonnie And The Beard has a wayward traveler-feel about its sound -- if Vaudville Americana were a genre, the local trio would be at the top of it. The band's stomping, clanging rhythms are complimented by a duet of male and female vocals and a little banjo, tambourine and keyboards between.

Reel Big Fish & Less Than Jake Ogden Theatre : 7:30 p.m. January 15

Third-wave ska was last in vogue when people still thought Y2K was a threat, but the passage of a decade hasn't changed the fact that many of those bands still make an awfully accessible and enjoyable racket on stage. See: well vetted Huntington Beach six-piece Reel Big Fish whose 2012 Candy Coated Fury aptly encapsulates the group's sarcastic, semi-seething lyrics, which are wrapped up in fun, bouncy tunes. Co-headliners Less Than Jake still sing songs about pizza and parties, still has a horn section and is still sort of ska.

- 50 Photos That Prove Red Rocks Is the Most Beautiful Venue on the Planet
- Photos: Musicians Buying (Legal) Weed in Denver
- The Ten Most Underrated Guitarists in the History of Rock
- 50 Ways to Support Your DIY Music Community

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.