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.