Welcome to the weekend, y'all. Breathe easy. You made it. Good Friday to you. And, oh, what a good Friday it is. Another stacked weekend of music awaits you. Just like the Broncos win streak continues, so does the steady stream of solid shows, whether you're hankering for some old-school punk or old school hip-hop or feeling like getting your jazz on, we've got you covered. If you're an insatiable completist, we've got all of this weekend's shows listed in our concert calendar. If you'd prefer a more curated approach, as always, we've singled out the best shows this weekend. Keep reading to get a full rundown of the ten best concerts this weekend.
See also: - Fat Mike of NOFX on pornography, punk-rock parenting - John Scofield on jamming with Medeski, Martin & Wood - Todd Snider on how he thinks of acoustics and mandolins when he thinks of Colorado - Sole on the perils of perpetually pushing boundaries - Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp on making people think twice - Man Mantis on how his mom helped him craft his first mask - Never Shout Never's Christofer Drew on "green crack," his favorite strain of marijuana
10. MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS @ AGGIE THEATER | FRI, 12/7/12 If you missed the show last night at the Ogden in which he and crew just crushed it (read our review to see what you missed), you've got another chance to catch Macklemore & Ryan Lewis tonight at the Aggie in Fort Collins. The Seattle-based rapper's latest album, The Heist, is currently resting at number 37 on iTunes, but when it was first released, the record both topped that chart and held down the number-two spot on Billboard on the strength of its first-week sales. While chart rankings are hardly meaningful these days, what makes this feat impressive is the fact that the XXL freshman and Westword Music Showcase alum issued the album entirely on his own. Besides being a highly capable MC, Macklemore brings a certain genuineness and relatability to his music that's easy to embrace, whether he's playfully espousing the virtues of thrifting or poignantly taking a stand for same-sex marriage.
9. MONROE MONROE (EP RELEASE) @ HI-DIVE | SAT, 12/8/12 Interiors, the fourth EP from Monroe Monroe, is a more refined effort than previous offerings, both sonically and in terms of the songwriting. On "Everything You Give," the descending-guitar-riff intro and the way it then winds through the song is reminiscent of Comsat Angels' melancholic compositions, only infused with more upbeat energy. The clipped rhythms of guitar and drums over the wash of dark tones in "The Salesman" recall something Duran Duran might have done had it followed the natural progression out of "Planet Earth." On "Sleepy Rose," Frank Abbatecola's Ian McCulloch-esque vocals lock in well with the song's sweeping and urgent pace. As much as Monroe Monroe has honed its sound, the band's expansive energy is still in place, as is its ability to craft dynamic, anthemic melodies. (My Body Sings Electric, Common Anomaly and Swing Hero are also on Saturday night's bill.)
8. PUNCH BROTHERS @ BOULDER THEATER | SUN, 12/9/12 Built solely on the intricacies of a well-trained string section, Punch Brothers are equal parts bluegrass and modern classical music. Chris Thile -- known also as a member of acoustic band Nickel Creek -- leads the quintet with his gentle and powerful voice. But it's his expert mandolin playing that blends gorgeously with the fiddle, banjo, guitar and upright bass of his counterparts. Whether the band is tackling a forty-minute suite like Thile's four-part epic "The Blind Leaving the Blind" or covering an array of songs from Radiohead's deep discography, Punch Brothers' diversity is where their talent burns brightest. (In addition to this sold-out show, the Punch Brothers are also slated to perform at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen on Saturday, December 8.)
7. NEVER SHOUT NEVER @ FOX THEATRE | SAT, 12/8/12 Christofer Drew is covered in tattoos. But that's just the most visible way the freshly minted 21-year-old expresses himself. Since quitting high school to pursue Never Shout Never, the intimate singer has kept his personal life as open as his skin, changing his influences and his punk-friendly folk overtones as often as the telling, transparent lyrics that funnel them. His five-year-old Joplin, Missouri, rock band began as his stage name blew up on MySpace and earned a staunchly loyal following. There's a reason Drew's fans are legion (and they are -- just Google the man and prepare for awe): Drew has a knack for tackling love, religion, drugs and politics across scores of clean, lean melodies filled with earnest, youth-spawned emotion.
6. SOULIVE @ CERVANTES' | FRI & SAT, 12/7-12/8 Soulive takes a broad range of influences, from Duke Ellington and Earth, Wind & Fire to the Roots and Stevie Wonder, and blends them into a sound that is so thunderously intense live, it's hard to believe there are only three primary players in the band. Keyboardist Neal Evans handles the low end on a Hammond B-3 with his left hand while juggling harmonic and solo duties with his right; seeing his stunning ambidexterity is worth the price of admission alone. Evans's playing style mingles old-school R&B, funk and traditional jazz for a deeply melodic sound that translates well to hip-hop and jazz crowds alike. Brother Alan's hip-hop stylized grooves anchor the trio, and together the Evans brothers make up one of the tightest rhythm sections on the funk/soul/jazz circuit. Eric Krasno rounds out the lineup on guitar. A true virtuoso, Krasno has the chops of Joe Pass, the brilliant warmth of John Scofield and the single-note linearity of Grant Green. No wonder Dave Matthews refers to Soulive as "the greatest band in the world." (Both bills also feature the Kyle Hollingsworth Band.)
5. SOLE @ HI-DIVE | FRI, 12/7/12 For an artist whose career has been built espousing the virtues of DIY self-reliance, it's been a long time since Sole (born Tim Holland) has done a record all by himself with no producers or label people listening over his shoulder. And while Sole confides that this was nerve-racking at times as he worked on his new record, in the end, he says, it gave him space to unleash a verbal barrage that touches on geo-politics, revolutionary ideals and personal growth, among other topics. A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing is an appropriate title for his new album because Sole seems to leave no stone unturned in his quest to deconstruct the myriad cultural and political ills infecting modern civilization. (Wheelchair Sports Camp, Man Mantis and Sky Rider are also on Friday night's bill)
4. TODD SNIDER (ROOTSFEST) @ PARAMOUNT THEATRE | SAT, 12/8/12 There's something about Todd Snider's rambling, incisive, irreverent lyrics that have struck a chord with a wide audience. A Portland native, Snider eventually made his way to Memphis, where he often played a bar called the Daily Planet -- hence the name of his 1994 debut full-length, Songs for the Daily Planet. For that album, Snider wrote a track called "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues," which, fittingly, fell somewhere between folk, country and blues and punctured some of the pomposity of the music milieu of that particular era. Live, Snider is part comedic storyteller and part troubadour, and he makes no bones about his anti-establishment stance. Needless to say, the title of his latest record, Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables, speaks for itself.
3. MEDESKI, SCOFIELD, MARTIN & WOOD @ OGDEN THEATRE | FRI, 12/7/12 With 1998's A Go Go, guitarist John Scofield tapped into a whole new demographic by enlisting Medeski, Martin & Wood to play on the disc. While Scofield, who played with Miles Davis, was a respected jazzer and had delved into fusion, with A Go Go, he fully embraced the jazz-funk idiom. And chances are good that he didn't have folks doing the noodle dance at his shows until he teamed up with MMW. But it was a successful collaboration on both ends and they went on to record 2009's Out Louder and last year's In Case The World Changes Its Mind. (Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood are also slated to perform a sold-out show at the Boulder Theater on Saturday, December 8.)
2. PUBLIC ENEMY @ OGDEN THEATRE | SAT, 12/8/12 The Hip Hop Gods Classic Tourfest Revue: That's how this show is billed -- and rightly so. Besides being headlined by the inimitable, incredible rhyme animal, Public Enemy number one, this lineup is made up of a veritable murderers row of seminal MCs, including X-Clan, Monie Love, Schoolly D, Leaders of the New School and Poor Righteous Teachers' Wise Intelligent, among others. Yeah. Gods among gods. Hell, just seeing PE -- who, without question, paved the way for the hip-hop kingpins of today with its fierce brand of politically-charged rap -- would be more than enough in itself, if you ask us. But this show presents an embarrassment of riches if you're an old school hip-hop fan.
1. NOFX @ FILLMORE | FRI, 12/7/12 NOFX was started in Los Angeles in 1983 by Michael "Fat Mike" Burkett and Eric Melvin. The band was born of the same West Coast scene that produced some of the most important punk bands of all time, from Black Flag and the Circle Jerks to the Minutemen and the Descendents. Although the sound that NOFX helped pioneer was more pop-oriented, the band certainly didn't lose any of the sharp, irreverent sense of humor that permeated the music of many of those legendary L.A. hardcore bands. Decidedly independent, NOFX has never signed to a major label, unlike many of its peers, and has succeeded on its own terms, releasing albums through Burkett's Fat Wreck Chords imprint. The band's catchy songs and juvenile but smartly iconoclastic lyrics have been an inspiration for a generation of punk musicians, who have helped carry on not just the sound, but the cultural and political foundations of punk to the mainstream without selling out.
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.