The Seven Best Concerts in Denver This Week

Future Islands, touring on the strength of an album that has demonstrated to a much broader audience what the DIY crowd has known all along (namely that Future Islands are awesome), will be in town on Wednesday. There are a few other good ones, including MC Frontalot at Larimer Lounge and Crab Lab at Rhinoceropolis. The rest of our picks for the week follow.

MC Frontalot Larimer Lounge : August 25 There is definitely a niche audience for MC Frontalot who has been in the game since the early '00s. The Brooklyn-based lyricist's songs circle around self-deprecation and Internet tales, told through the MC's uber-intellectual wordplay. This non-traditional hip-hopper puts on an awkwardly engaging live show, one that will surprise and entertain even newbies to his hardcore leet speak.

Crab Lab Rhinoceropolis : August 26 Clearly the product of creativity in isolation, protected from the influence and the imagination-eroding effects of the outside world, Crab Lab -- playing Tuesday, August 26, at Rhinoceropolis -- is the perfect name for what Katie Taylor is doing. There isn't a single sound, technique or aesthetic that runs completely through the experiments in this project, and Taylor's music is more an analog to an emotional state than an assemblage of arranged notes. What structure does exist is organic -- like a heartbeat, or one's circadian rhythms. The appeal of this to someone not already into experimental music is that it's beautifully hypnotic, capturing a mood and an interior experience more accurately than any pop song could.

John Legend Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 7:30 p.m. August 26 Neo soul master John Legend just oozes cool. Besides his outstanding solo work, the guy has played with Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and Kanye West, won nine Grammy Awards and gives more money to charity than he spends on himself. Plus, Legend's music is of such a consistently high quality that it almost restores one's faith in the musical tastes of the masses.

Melissa Etheridge The Paramount Theatre : 8:00 p.m. August 26 If you are only concentrating on sexuality when it comes to Melissa Etheridge, you're missing a big boat of riffs and one of the most dynamic female rock voices of the past 30 years. Mixing equal parts Janis Joplin and Robert Plant, Etheridge has been making meaty rock since 1988's breakthrough eponymous debut. A string of singles with razor-sharp hooks like "Come to My Window" and "I'm the Only One" from 1993's coming-out party Yes I Am cemented her as a commercial and pop-culture force to be reckoned with. Her personal life may have taken center stage the past decade, but all the while Etheridge was making quality records, with her trademark guitar playing staying ever fiery and massive. Tonight's show is part of her This is ME Solo tour.

Colbie Caillat Denver Botanic Gardens : 7:00 p.m. August 27 Colbie Caillat will be the first person to tell you how lucky she is. Just a few years back, the beach bum from California enjoyed writing songs and recording them in-studio as a hobby. But she never dreamed they would grow a Myspace fan base so large that a record label would be calling her up. And yet that's what happened. At the age of 21, Caillat released her first record, Coco, and subsequently went on tour with The Goo Goo Dolls. It was her first tour ever, taking her from city to city and playing for crowds of anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 attendees. Before that she'd only played about five acoustic shows in Malibu, so it was quite a change of pace.

Future Islands Gothic Theatre : 8:00 p.m. August 27 Though the music of Future Islands has by no means ever been exclusive, the group's network-television debut on Late Night With David Letterman earlier this year sort of felt like your parents discovering your favorite band. But it was a long time coming, and well-deserved for a trio that has been kicking around its solemn electro-soul in several incarnations for nearly a decade, the better part of that time under the Future Islands moniker. The band was formed in North Carolina; a move to Baltimore and a connection to the city's Wham City collective and its strong, DIY-minded music and performance-art scenes first brought frontman Sam Herring's voice to the tuned-in masses. Like those of a lost balladeer from the '80s, Herring's heart-on-his-sleeve wails are carried into the future by Gerrit Welmers's keyboard/programmer melodies and the Peter Hook-like melancholy of William Cashion's bass lines. On record, Future Islands has a genre-less, ageless quality that is equal parts danceable and slow-dance-inducing. Live, Herring's energy engages fans who want to feel all of the feels, whether it's their first time seeing Future Islands or their fifth.

Ziggy Marley Chautauqua Auditorium : 8:00 p.m. August 28 Yes, Ziggy Marley was only 12 when his dad passed away in 1981, but he has still managed to continue his father's legacy over the years, creating inspiring reggae music with catchy hooks and good vibes.

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