The Twelve Best Concerts in Denver This Week

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It's another big week for live music in Denver. Be sure to catch Esme Patterson at the Bluebird on Wednesday, and head back the next night for Minneapolis rapper P.O.S. The rest of our picks follow.

See also: 50 Ways to Support Your DIY Music Community

Battlecross Marquis Theater : 7:00 p.m. December 15

Michigan-based based Battlecross, which describes itself as "blue collar thrash metal," has only released three long players in the eleven years since the act was founded. But the last two discs,

Pursuit of Honor


War of Will

, both released on Metal Blade, both display the band's technical proficiency.

Peter Yarrow First Congregational Church : 7:30 p.m. December 15

Over the years, fans of all ages have enjoyed Peter, Paul and Mary's folk hits, from "If I Had a Hammer" to "Puff, the Magic Dragon." Even after the passing of Mary Travers in 2009, the world continues to celebrate the group's fifty-plus years in music.

In response to those still-adoring legions, Peter Yarrow will promote the new book Peter, Paul and Mary: Fifty Years in Music and Life, tonight in Boulder. "Peter, Paul and Mary still have a huge following even after all these years," says Donna Spurlock of Charlesbridge Publishing. "People are still really into their music and into their activism."

3BallMTY Larimer Lounge : 8:00 p.m. December 16

What do you get when you combine three chamacos from Monterrey with a love for EDM and their Mexican patria? DJ crew 3BallMTY. Pronounced Tribal Monterrey, Erick Rincon, Sergio Lavala (Sheeqo Beat), and Alberto Presenda (DJ Otto) have been breaking beats since 2009. Two years ago the "Latino electronica" trio won the Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Augustana Bluebird Theater : 8:00 p.m. December 16

Throughout the past ten years, singer Dan Layus has been the only constant member of Augustana through a number of lineup changes. For some bands, this is is one of the toughest roads to travel, especially once more die-hard fans get involved. For Layus, however, it's been a chance to prove what he can do when left to his own devices.

So You Think You Can Dance 1STBANK Center : 8:00 p.m. December 16

Reality shows indulge wannabe wishes all the time, and that's why So You Think You Can Dance is so aptly named. But only a lucky, nimble-footed few actually get beyond the dancing-in-front-of-the-mirror stage and make it to the little screen to compete and be scrutinized in mid-foxtrot by millions of viewers across the nation. But you can imagine that if you really, really practice hard, you can be just like them. Not.

Whatever. Tonight you can catch the magic live (and maybe take home a few pointers) when the Fox series' splashy road edition leaps into the metro area with the top ten finalists from season eleven performing their best routines. "I am thrilled with the spectacular, fresh talent we have discovered this season," says SYTYCD co-founder and judge Nigel Lythgoe, a former dancer himself. "These dancers have inspired the choreographers to create remarkable dance numbers each week."

Blackalicious Aggie Theatre : December 16

There are easier ways to make a hip-hop living than the one chosen by Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab, the duo behind Blackalicious. These longtime partners, who've been together since the early '90s, have plenty of charisma, and if they employed obvious samples and slung the usual crime rhymes, they'd probably be mainstream stars by now.

Esme Patterson Bluebird Theater : 8:00 p.m. December 17

When Esme Patterson was learning to play Townes Van Zandt's song "Loretta," she says she started singing the words and got angry. "I started thinking about how one-sided and subjective a lot of 'love songs' are, and how a lot of women immortalized in songs might tell a different side of the story if anyone ever asked." Fueled by this epiphany, Patterson started writing songs for Woman to Woman, an album of response songs to Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Elvis Costello's "Alison," Van Zandt's "Loretta," the Beach Boys' "Caroline, No," The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," the Band's "Evangeline" and Leadbelly's "Irene."

Downtown Festival of Lights McNichols Building : 5:30 p.m. December 18

Every year, the Colorado Hebrew Chorale's annual Festival of Lights illuminates the traditions of Hanukkah for people of all faiths. This year's celebration lands on the third night of the holiday, and the BYO menorah party's repertoire of both conventional and modern hymns will range from a doo-wop version of "I Have a Little Dreidel" to Peter, Paul and Mary's "Light One Candle" to "Rock of Ages" -- or "Ma'oz Tzur" in Hebrew.

"It's a holiday that we are hoping to shine the light upon and open the door to people who may not have been familiar with it or think it is the Jewish Christmas -- which it isn't," says chorale founder Carol Kozak Ward. The celebration centers around the lighting of menorahs, and this year the group has teamed up with Stories on Stage to add kid-friendly, interactive tales of Hanukkah.

LA Riots Beta : December 18

Sitting at the top of the remix game, Jon Pegnato and Daniel LeDisko of LA Riots are definitely the crowned kings. Signed to A-Trak's Fool's Gold imprint and endorsed by forefathers MSTRKRFT, the DJ and production duo stretch and mold club bangers by taking the pop out of Ciara and Tings Tings tracks and pumping them up with harder-hitting beats and bass. But the remixing has gone both ways, with fellow mashers Crookers taking LA Riots' original track "The Drop" and giving it a new and dirty treatment. Remixing is still the twosome's specialty, though, and they've worked on songs for Weezer, Kylie Minogue, Justice and VHS or Beta, to name a few.

Michael McDonald The Paramount Theatre : 8:00 p.m. December 18

From classic rock to quiet-storm ballads to blue-eyed soul numbers, Michael McDonald carved out his niche thanks to his inimitable and high-reaching voice. As a vocalist for the Doobie Brothers, he struck AM gold with "Takin' It to the Streets" and "What a Fool Believes." As a solo artist, hits such as "I Keep Forgettin'" and "Sweet Freedom" kept his husky, soulful voice on the charts. His backing vocals sweetened the mix for everyone from Steely Dan (the immortal "Peg," among others) to Christopher Cross ("Ride Like the Wind"), and duets with Patti LaBelle and James Ingram displayed his abilities as an emotive sparring partner.

P.O.S. Bluebird Theater : 8:00 p.m. December 18

Combining hip-hop and heavy music can prove disastrous (Limp Bizkit, anyone?). Minneapolis rapper P.O.S. (aka Stefon Alexander), however, proves that when a punk discovers hip-hop, the results can be amazing. Combining four-on-the-floor-style house beats with the exuberance of his punk-rock past, P.O.S. exists in a world where it's okay to bump Fugazi out of your hooptie.

Waka Flocka Flame Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom : 8:00 p.m. December 18

Waka Flocka Flame is an artist known just as much for his antics on stage as off. The rapper (born Juaquin Malphurs) hit the scene in 2009 with a monster single, "O Let's Do It," which not only spawned a new era of down-south bounce rap, but also ushered a young man with little rap experience under his belt to the forefront of the new-school hip-hop class. While the New York-born, Georgia-bred MC does have a penchant for violent lyrics -- his name, "Flocka Flame," bestowed upon him by his mentor Gucci Mane, is an onomatopoeic throw to a "street-sweeping" automatic weapon when it's aimed to fire -- there is a cutting eloquence amid the madness.

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