Welcome to the weekend! The weather has finally cooled off a bit, but the shows haven't. Whatever your inclinations are this next couple of days, there are a plethora of options, from Devin Townsend Project tonight at the Summit Music Hall to Deltron 3030 tomorrow night at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom. We of course have all these shows and more listed in our massive concert calendar. Head over there if you're feeling industrious. Or if you'd rather we do the legwork for you, keep reading to get the full rundown of the ten best concerts this weekend.
See also: - The ten best jazz shows in Colorado this month - Alex Botwin's electronica is a Paper Diamond in the rough - Del The Funky Homosapien on putting more thought into his Deltron lyrics - Tyler Despres of Science Partner on how a good melody should be like a nursery rhyme - David Torn on his textural guitar approach and the need to orchestrate and fill in spaces
10. DAVID TORN @ THE WALNUT ROOM | SAT, 9/15 Known for his innovative, textural approach to guitar playing, David Torn has released a number of albums under his own name and under the Splattercell moniker. He's also used his talents for film scoring and collaborated with a diverse set of artists including David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Sting and John Legend. Torn's musical palette undoubtedly has many colors, and when describing his forward-thinking trio, Sun of Goldfinger, which also features saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Ches Smith, he says, "It's three really crazy guys trying to make something simultaneously beautiful and horrific."
9. CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD @ FOX THEATRE | SAT, 9/15 While the Black Crowes could lay down some mean Stones-inspired southern rock, the band could also delve into extended psyched out jams. It didn't take frontman Chris Robinson long to form his own group after the Crowes announced they were going on "indefinite hiatus" in 2010 after two decades together. The Chris Robinson Brotherhood opts for more of the jam route, which is quite evident on the band's brand new album, Big Moon Ritual. Crowes fans and Deadheads alike will most likely dig the CRB.
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8. SCIENCE PARTNER @ LARIMER LOUNGE | FRI, 9/14 Although Tyler Despres originally formed Science Partner in 2008 as an outlet for his acoustic material outside of his work with Dualistics, the project developed into a full-fledged band. Despres already had a knack for writing moving songs on his own, but on Science Partner's eleven-track full-length debut, Rocky Mountain News (whose release is being celebrated tonight), he and the group are more in indie-rock mode, save for the gorgeous ballads "Little Sound," "Eagle Eyes," "Paradigm" and "Beautiful Bean (for Carl Sagan)." Those tracks also feature some of the album's many three-part harmonies with remarkable vocalists Jess DeNicola and Maria Kohler. The dance-y "Child Stars," which name-drops Miley Cyrus, is one of the catchiest tracks on the disc, with "Bee Is a Bee" coming in at a close second.
7. NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS @ OGDEN THEATRE | SAT, 9/15 A Memphis-marinated trio featuring Luther and Cody Dickinson (the musical progeny of legendary Muscle Shoals producer Jim Dickinson on guitar and drums, respectively), and bassist Chris Chew, the Allstars hold a deep allegiance to their Delta blues forefathers while remaining open to experimentation. Inspired by the time-honored, hill-country standards of R.L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell, the Allstars bring looped bottleneck beats, dub-reggae and electric washboard into the mix for a decidedly post-punk brand of thrash-blues-boogie. (North Mississippi Allstars are also appearing on Friday, September 14 at the Fox Theatre and Sunday, September 16 at the Belly Up in Aspen.)
6. DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | FRI, 9/14 If you didn't know any better, just from the name, you'd be excused for thinking this band was some sort of cheese dick, overly sensitive, tepid tripe you'd find in a nondescript coffee house in the 'burbs. After all, the Devin Townsend Project isn't the most metal of monikers. What's more, sans his world-class wig -- seriously, the locks this dude used to rock deserve their own wing in the Skulletsonian -- Devin Townsend looks far less like a metal crazed maniac these days and more like a rank and file member of mundane mainstream. Well, looks can be deceiving, as they say. Townsend still fucking rips like he did in Strapping Young Lad, only now his chops are even more refined and his range has broadened, making his playing seem all the more menacingly majestic and impressive.
5. UMPHREY'S MCGEE @ RED ROCKS | FRI, 9/14 In terms of bands that traffic in long-form compositions, there are prog bands and there are jam bands, the former being characterized by linear compositions with rigid structures, the latter for its loose, well, jamming. Umphrey's McGee splits the difference between those categories nicely, though the act sometimes tends to lean more toward the prog side, cramming changes by the bucketful into every song for a hyperactive sound not unlike that of Frank Zappa (if a little less insistently weird). Live, the band tends to expand sections to allow for plenty of solos, but its musicianship is just as accomplished on stage as it is in the studio. (Umphrey's McGee is also slated to appear at the Boulder Theater on Saturday, September 15.)
4. THE HIVES (KTCL'S BIG GIG) @ RED ROCKS | SUN, 9/16 The Hives were supposedly formed by some mysterious figure named "Randy Fitzsimmons" in 1993, when the band's members were still in high school. It seems unlikely that someone with that name is the mastermind, Svengali or Swedish Malcolm McLaren of the group. Whoever the Fitzsimmons character really is, he's credited with songwriting and various other creative aspects of the Hives, who themselves were part of that wave of garage rock that bubbled up toward the end of the '90s. Wearing matching black-and-white suits, and with their dance moves down cold, the bandmembers are led by frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist, who has plenty of classic swagger and charisma coupled with a sense of the tongue-in-cheek. Live, the Hives (sharing a bill at KTCL's Big Gig with Silversun Pickups, 3OH!3 and the Wombats) put on an unforgettable show that transcends all gimmickry.
3. SLIM CESSNA'S AUTO CLUB @ LARIMER LOUNGE | SAT&SUN, 9/15-9/16 One of the most gripping live acts around these parts for the past two decades, Slim Cessna's Auto Club generally kicks up dust with equal fervor on its studio recordings. With Unentitled, the followup to 2008's Cipher, the band doesn't steer too far from its tried-and-true formula of dark country and gothic Americana while injecting most of the tracks with a decent amount of the vigor from its live shows. This weekend, Slim, Munly and company set up shop at the Larimer Lounge for a two-show run, on Saturday evening with Land Lines and Blake Brown, and on Sunday, the outfit headlines one of the Lounge's afternoon BBQ shows with Champagne Charlie, Casey James Prestwood & the Burning Angels and more.
2. PAPER DIAMOND @ THE OGDEN THEATRE | FRI, 9/14 Alex B is no stranger to the electronic scene. The producer has been making music since he was nineteen. A member of Pnuma Trio, he first started making music on his own as Paper Diamond when that act ended. Paper Diamond, which is signed to the Pretty Lights Music imprint, became increasingly popular without him even really trying to put it out there. "I hadn't even thought of a moniker or an idea of what I was specifically going for," he recalls. "So when the name hit me and the concept and it was actually something I considered running with, I just dove into it. I had already considered making a more dance-oriented record. So it just kind of worked everything together, and it was a nice outlet for me to come out with something new." And people clearly seem to like it.
1. DELTRON 3030 @ CERVANTES' | SAT, 9/16 The self-titled, sci-fi-infused concept album born of the collaboration of Del The Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala way back in the year 2000 has maintained a devout, cult-like following of hip-hop heads. With Del unraveling tales of intergalactic rap battles atop some of Automator's most distinctive production work, the futuristic allegory has aged better than all but the most classic of hip-hop records. A dozen years later, the three -- who never toured together for the album's original release -- are hitting the road, performing a mix of tunes from the original as well as new material from a forthcoming sequel. Denver is one of only a handful of cities across the country to score a tour stop, so if you miss this show, it could be another decade before you have the chance to see them again.
Keep reading for a few words on a few other noteworthy shows, and be sure to visit our concert calendar for a complete rundown of this weekend's shows.
BRIAN BLADE'S MAMA ROSA @ DAZZLE | SAT & SUN, 9/15-9/16 Having established himself as an in-demand drummer in both jazz and rock circles by working with everyone from Wayne Shorter and Bill Frisell to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Brian Blade is also a strong leader in his own right -- namely, with his Fellowship Band. But 2009's Mama Rosa marked Blades' foray of being a singer-songwriter, wherein he plays guitar and sings with a similar understated approach that he uses on the drum kit. For this pair of shows, he's joined by drummer Steve Nestor, vocalist Kelly Jones, bassist Chris Thomas and guitarist Goffrey Moore.
STOIC DISSENTION @ AQUALUNG'S COMMUNITY SPACE | SUN, 9/16 Stoic Dissention appears to have found a way to fuse black metal and doom in a way that does justice to both, tapping into the dark and primal spirit that flows through the work of bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and Thorr's Hammer. Some retailers might file such music under the broad designation of "transcendental metal," and that fits the measured and inexorable force underlying Stoic Dissention's guitar progressions and rhythms, which surge and flow like lava. Zachary Salmans's voice has a feral-cat quality that seems far more unsettling than cartoonish, as is often the case with death-metal singers. With newer material like Fastidium Vita, Stoic Dissention (due at Aqualung's Community Space at 4315 Delaware Street on Sunday, September 16) is weaving together its core sound with neo-folk in fascinating new ways.
REPTAR @ THE BLUEBIRD THEATRE | FRI, 9/14 Reptar is one of the rare acts that's followed a traditional path in its brief lifespan, and one of the rare acts for whom that's worked. Over the past three years, Reptar has grown from playing small yet enthusiastically attended underground shows at DIY venues to creating sizable buzz in front of ever-more sizable crowds at South by Southwest, Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza. Brit tastemaker magazine NME ranked Reptar fourth in its list of best new bands last year. This is a path that has worked for any number of indie bands in the past, but in today's landscape it seems less common, and tougher.
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