1. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Wheel With with Tauntaun, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, Bad Weather California, Houses, Bela Karoli, and Ian Cooke Bluebird Theater Saturday, December 12. Show starts at 8pm. $10.50-$12.00
Why you should go: It says a lot that the seventh band listed on this show's lineup earned the final night's headlining gig at this year's UMS. Bela Karoli are all the baroque comfort you might need on a winter night. Houses have provoked me to say more embarrassing things than any other band in Denver. And on, through the excellent Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Bad Weather California and your most random bill inclusion of the year with metal act Tauntaun. Then there's the show's leading man, Nathaniel Rateliff, who is currently working on blowing the hell up. No idea how this many good bands wound up in one place, but we're not complaining.
2. Hot Congress Vol. 1 Release Party With Achille Lauro, Vitamins, Fissure Mystic and Action Packed Thrill Ride Oriental Theater Saturday, December 12. Show at 8pm. $5
Why you should go: Hot Congress is at the start of something good here. Here is a bunch of bands who maybe weren't exactly lighting up the radar, by choice or otherwise, doing some form like Voltron shit. They've made a compilation filled with thrillers and they're celebrating this weekend with four of the featured bands. Fissure Mystic should be pretty awe-inspiring live, Action Packed Thrill Ride and Vitamins are reliably kick-ass regardless of the circumstance, and Achille Lauro will close the night out by seeing if they can't top Astrophagus for Denver's best answer to Radiohead.
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3. Railbenders With Shurman Bluebird Theater Friday, December 11. Show starts at 9pm. $20.25-$25.00
Why you should go: Did you watch that video? In case you don't know them, Railbenders are no-bullshit country. And as you can see above, they're just the thing if you're looking to put an arm around a stranger's shoulder and clink Coors (who sponsors the Railbenders). Damn straight we're a cow town, and proud of it.