The ten best concerts in Denver this weekend

SHAMROCK & ROLL @ VIEWHOUSE | SAT, 3/16/13 With St. Paddy's Day happening this weekend, there's a ton to do. If you're looking for something holiday-centric, you obviously have plenty of options. But you really can't do much better than our free show, Shamrock & Roll, at the Viewhouse tomorrow afternoon from 2-8 p.m. featuring Bop Skizzum, Rachel & the Kings, Calder's Revolvers and Monroe Monroe. Official Nuggets DJ Bedz will also be behind the decks. It's going to be an absolute blast. Don't miss it.

See also: - Calder's Revolvers on being a competitive ping pong club that plays music - Thanks to a new EP, Take to the Oars is set to make waves - Singer Brian Hagman on the story behind Il Cattivo's Damages

9. KEGGS & EGGS @ LODO'S | FRI, 3/15/13 In addition to being a Denver institution at this point, Keggs & Eggs has become a signifier of spring and annual monument to daytime drinking. No matter who's playing KTCL's free St. Patrick's Day shindig, the lines start forming in LoDo just after midnight. In past years, Kegg's & Eggs has featured New Found Glory, Saosin and innerpartysystem, among others. This year's lineup includes Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls, ZZ Ward and the Nuns of Brixton.

8. BEST OF THE WEST @ HERMAN'S HIDEAWAY | FRI, 3/15/13 As we're nearing the end of the latest edition of the Best of the West showcase, the stakes are high and the competition is fierce. This weekend's semi-final round features Calder's Revolvers, James and the Devil, Clara Finn, Highline and Kid Kosmo, all competing for a chance to advance. The winner from this show will compete against the winner from the next round on Saturday, March 30 (Gang Forward, SF1, Places, Joefornothin, Robert Harrison and the Outsiders) for a chance at the title.

7. ALLEGAEON @ MARQUIS THEATER | FRI, 3/15/13 Formed in 2008, Allegaeon and its tuneful, technical death metal quickly caught the attention of Metal Blade. The Fort Collins band signed with the respected and influential heavy metal imprint in 2009 and released its full-length debut, Fragments of Form and Function the following year and immediately became popular with fans of death metal. For the 2012 follow-up, Formshifter, the band challenged itself and produced an album that not only contained much more sophisticated music but the lyrics hint at Edgar Cayce's mystical dream visions of Atlantis and abstract if pointed social critiques. Maybe Allegaeon has smoothed out some of its rough edges, but the result is a more focused approach in both the songwriting and live performance. This bill also features fellow local heavyweights Vale Of Pnath, Dissonance In Design, Suns Of Sorath and Artemesis.

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6. G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE @ BOULDER THEATER | FRI, 3/15/13 Back in the summer of 1994, college radio stations every so often played a song that sounded old yet kind of new. It started with a drumbeat, followed by a guitar and bass riff. Then came a voice, a lazy drawl somewhere between rap and song. This was the era before Shazam and even Internet music downloads. But it didn't take detective skills to figure out the song was called "Blues Music," because those were the two words uttered most often. Nearly two decades later, G. Love & Special Sauce continue to kick out their hip-hop, rock 'n' roll, funk and blues. (G Love & Special Sauce is also at the Ogden Theatre on Saturday, March 16.)

5. HOODIE ALLEN @ OGDEN THEATRE | FRI, 3/15/13 With the groundwork for Allen's feel-good, lighthearted brand of hip-hop firmly established by Mac Miller before him, this could very well be the next generation of mainstream hip-hop. It cannot be overstated to what extent the crowd loved his last show in Denver. There was one breathing point during the show, an acoustic rendition of "Lucky Man" about halfway through the show, but that was it. It was energy on top of energy on top of energy and, amazingly, it was never too much! (Hoodie Allen is also at the Fox Theatre on Saturday, March 16.)

4. THE ENGLISH BEAT @ GOTHIC THEATRE | FRI, 3/15/13 Any '80s-era ska-revival fan worth his or her checkered glad rags remembers the English Beat's cheerful way with a politically charged song -- whether it called for peace, love, unity or Margaret Thatcher's head on a plate. Birmingham's premier roughriders even managed to make Andy Williams seem cool, covering his sappy "Can't Get Used to Losing You." But three albums into it, the Beat sadly dispersed: Co-frontmen Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger pursued soul-tinged horizons with General Public, while ace reedsman Saxa, a first-wave alum of Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker, formed International Beat with rocksteady drummer Everett Moreton, and the rest of the lads minced about as Fine Young Cannibals. Hardly reunited, the Beat goes on with lone original member Wakeling now toasting Smokey Robinson's "Tears of a Clown" and that all-knowing "Mirror in the Bathroom" plus a crack staff of lethal grinders. Even after three decades of rankin' full stop, the ska's still the limit.

3. TAKE TO THE OARS (CD RELEASE) @ HI-DIVE | SAT, 3/16/13 Take to the Oars has been playing together for about four years, but the band's history dates back to 2005, when it was called Vonnegut, after frontman Ryan Gombeski's favorite author. Gombeski says people were reading too much into the band's name, almost to the extent that they were missing the point of the music, and so the group changed its name to Take to the Oars, which is a reference to a Latin proverb. The band is set to release its new EP, The Bow and the Stern, this weekend, but the show also marks the outfit's last performance with Mike Trujillo, who's leaving the band to pursue new projects. The EP's title is a reference to the front and back of a boat; symbolically, it also represents the beginning and end of this particular chapter for the band, which at present includes drummer Chris Weaver and bassist JP Manza along with Gombeski and Trujillo.

2. IL CATTIVO (VINLY RELEASE) @ MARQUIS | SAT, 3/16/13 Il Cattivo is a band that's made up of various veterans of the punk and hard-rock scene in Denver. When Matthew Bellinger got back to Denver after a stint in Phoenix spent reassessing his life, he hit up one of his favorite lyricists and frontmen, Brian Hagman of Black Lamb, to start making music again. Bellinger also discovered that his former bandmate in Ghost Buffalo, the versatile and powerful drummer Jed Kopp, was available to play. The three then got together with bassist Matty Clark and guitarist Holland Rock-Garden, and the result was an outfit that managed to be punk, metal and psychedelic without any of those restrictive genre trappings. At the end of 2011, Clark and Rock-Garden left the band, and former Burn Sand Burn bassist Matthew Cavanaugh stepped in, alongside gifted Black Acid Devil guitarist Arj Narayan. The band's second, and latest, album, the exhilarating and harrowing How to Assess Your Damages, came out in a digital version earlier this year but will be available on vinyl for this show.

1. ROSS ETHERTON & CHARIOTS OF JUDAH @ HI-DIVE | 3/15 While not a full blown Red Cloud reunion, this is about as close as you're going to get to one -- with former Backbeat scribe Jason Heller sitting in with Ross Etherton & the Chariots of Judah and playing some Red Cloud songs --- until the dudes actually decide to put the band back together for one more go. One of the most affecting live rock bands to ever take the stage in this town, Red Cloud played with reckless abandon and has been sorely missed since the members parted ways.

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