Weekend's best live bets: Five Finger Death Punch, Myke Charles, SP Double and more

See Also: - Myke Charles has talent and charisma to spare - SP Double has come a long way, and it shows - Q&A with Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch - Q&A with Joe Queer of the Queers

Welcome to the weekend! You've worked hard, and now it's time to treat yourself to some live music. Good news: There's plenty of it to be found over the next three days in the Mile High City, from the return of Five Finger Death Punch, featuring former Denver native Ivan Moody, to a pair of release parties from local hip-hop cats, Myke Charles, celebrating the release of his new video at Suite Two Hundred, and SP Double, headlining a stacked local bill at the Gothic with Mr. Midas, Morning Star and Dope City. There's a bunch of choice imports to choose from this weekend as well, including Liars, Brandi Carlile, Owl City and a whole bunch more. Page down for the full rundown on the weekend's best live music bets.



See Also: Q&A with Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch

Extreme-metal purists can say what they will about Five Finger Death Punch. There's a reason that former Denverite Ivan Moody and company have managed to steadily work their way up to headlining arenas and tours such as this week's Trespass America Festival: Their hard-edged, melodic brand of metalcore, kindred to that of acts like co-headliner Killswitch Engage, is powered by equal amounts of scorned vitriol and reflective emotion. As a result, the music resonates deeply with the masses, particularly on tracks like "Over It and Under It," in which Moody does an admirable job of channeling the frustration of having to endure the relentless scrutiny and judgment of detractors. At the same time, on tracks like "The Devil's Own," Moody displays a relatable sense of loss and regret with lines like "It's because of you I'm broken/It's because of you I'm dead inside."


See Also: Liars at the Bluebird Theater - 7/24/10

Out of all the bands that emerged on the New York scene of the late '90s and early 2000s, few pushed the envelope as far as Liars. With their 2001 debut album, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, Liars made some of the most dense, dynamic and forbidding post-punk of the time. But even with their early success, these guys never really let themselves get comfortable, and with each album, they explored different sounds, instrumentation and ideas. Their latest effort, WIXW, sounds like they picked up where another band with similar artistic ambitions left off -- like what Wire might have done after 154 if it had continued on the same creative trajectory.


See Also: Rapper Myke Charles has talent and charisma to spare

"People know my face and name from Sing Off, and it still makes me blush so hard," says Myke Charles with a bashful laugh, his face reddening. "It's not easy when people come up to me and talk to me about the show, because, in person, I am actually kind of shy." Shy is not exactly a word you'd associate with the MC, born Michael Charles Hudson. The handsome young rapper has charisma to spare, and, on stage, he's a commanding presence with impeccable rhymes, but that wasn't always the case. Charles's poise came with a lot of hard work. His story as a writer began in Aurora, where he lived with his mom until he left Smoky Hill High School and moved in with his father and stepmother. (Continue reading full profile)


See Also: Q&A with Joe Queer of the Queers

The Queers (sharing a bill tonight with Screeching Weasel and the Nobodys) have been around forever, or so it seems. Any snot-nosed kid who's ever dipped into the punk scene, even if it was only for a summer, has probably elbowed a few faces in the pit at a Queers show, or at least bought (and later sold) an album from the act's lengthy discography. The Queers don't go away; instead, they get passed on year after year to younger generations. The punk scene is changing, however, and with every decade, it evolves into a hungrier moneymaking beast. Bands like the Queers, who started out when punk still meant "miscreant," are becoming endangered, and guys like Joe King, aka Joe Queer, come from a dying breed of musicians who are still in it to have fun.


Pat McCullough, organizer of the annual Colorado Irish Festival, is well aware of what people want from the cultural extravaganza each year. "We're going to have all the nine yards there," he confirms. "Music, dance and piping, and all the booths and artisans and vendors, and the Denver Gaels -- they host the tournament for teams from around the country, so men's and women's and kids' teams will be out there playing Irish hurling and Irish football. So you have all that going on, but I think it would be fair to say that the music is probably the main driver, because we have a really great lineup this year." That lineup includes the Young Dubliners, the Fighting Jamesons (a first Colorado appearance), the Brazen Heads and the Elders. The Ward Irish Music Archives will step up this year with a brand-new exhibit: The Irish in Film. (Ward was responsible for the awesome Irish in Rock exhibit a few years back.) And there will be the requisite cultural village, dance performances and much more. The festival, which fills Clement Park at 7306 West Bowles in Littleton, runs today from 5 to 10 p.m., tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.


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.

Check out our newly revamped concert calendar for a complete listing of all of tonight's shows. Page down for rundown of tomorrow night's best bets.



See Also: SP Double has come a long way, and it shows

SP Double (aka Adrian Perlman) has endured his share of personal travails. Loyalty Honor Respect, his long-awaited new album, is the unfiltered story of his life. Executive-produced by Grammy-winning producer/mentor Focus, the album features SP Double's finest work to date, and finds the MC shining with lyrics that are incisive, confrontational, confessional, heartfelt and, above all, memorable, over beats that absolutely bang. Such luminaries as Royce da 5'9, Joe Budden, Chino XL, Big Pooh, Crooked I, C.Ray and Statik Selektah are featured -- but even among those impressive guests, it's clear that the MC is at the top of his game. His distinctive internal rhyming-scheme style, influenced by MCs like Kool G Rap, is sharper than ever. (This all-local bill also includes Mr. Midas, Morning Star and Dope City.)


After recording two well-received records with the biggest producers in the business, Rick Rubin and T-Bone Burnett, Brandi Carlile turned to a knob-twiddler with decidedly fewer bonafides on the other side of the board: herself. The result, Bear Creek, is the best album of the singer's career. Carlile's voice is more self-assured than it's been in the past, and the songwriting -- highlights include "A Promise to Keep" and the Dixie Chicks-esque "Hard Way Home" -- is as compelling as it's ever been, straddling the strong side of the adult/country line.


While punk's ethos and aesthetic left a culture-shifting legacy, the women of this global music scene have often been left out of the historical picture. Punk pioneer, feminist and Chicana activist Alice Bag began telling her part of that story with the release of last year's autobiography, Violence Girl; she'll stop by Wax Trax Records, 638 East 13th Avenue, at 3 p.m. today as part of her self-booked tour across the U.S. Growing up in a Spanish-speaking household in east Los Angeles in the late '60s, Bag endured discrimination by English-only teachers, an experience that helped fuel her work as the explosive frontwoman of '70s Hollywood proto-punks the Bags. "In the general sense, the Latino community could be overlooked as part of the West Coast punk rock movement -- but Alice is an archivist," says Wax Trax's Dave Wilkinson. Bag will be at Wax Trax to read from her book, sign autographs, answer audience questions and, Wilkinson hopes, play some music from her decades-long career (which she's done on previous stops).


If you never saw Greg Hill's previous band, Six Months to Live, that wouldn't be surprising, because not nearly enough people did. Hill is a gifted songwriter with a genius for power pop; he's also a character, something that's in short supply in Denver (think a cross between Don DeLillo and Lester Bangs). The Babysitters (due this Saturday, July 14, at the Walnut Room) aren't as bombastic as Six Months to Live, but it's still Greg Hill, and his caustic and startlingly clever humor is on full display. For this show, the trio of Hill, Maureen Hearty and bassist Eric Allen (of Apples in Stereo fame) are putting out an album called Have a Seat. If you go, ask Hill why he cut off the Broncos song.


Electric bassist Victor Wooten seems to suffer from attention deficit disorder, or so you'd think as you watch him juggling basses, snatching from a gleaming row of four-strings as the moment strikes him. His sound runs the gamut from jazz and bluegrass to rock and funk to classical and rap. Having played since he was three, Wooten is a master of the flying fingerwork that produces guitar-like solos, a technique that has garnered five Grammy awards and multiple Bass Player of the Year accolades for him.


From a New Orleans tradition as old as the bordellos of Storyville, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band continues to reinvent Dixieland jazz with ace musicianship, dynamic interplay and horns aplenty: two trumpets, two saxophones and a sousaphone that fattens the bottom end like a wedge of mud pie. Rounding out the fabled "second-line sound" with a drummer and a guitarist, the Crescent City's most relentless touring act has been serving up the jazz, funk and soul for thirty five years.


Jason Horodyski got a bit of a step up early on, playing shows with Ian Cooke and Emily Frembgen. From the onset, his literary approach to songwriting shone through, and the subtly resonant clarity of his songs spoke to a spare style that gave the melodies and textures space to communicate to listeners -- and between performers -- in a deep but gentle manner. Over the last handful of years, Horodyski has worked with talented collaborators including former Des Tours bassist Adan Hernandez, genius multi-instrumentalist and singer Robin Walker of Cougar Pants and Chris Bullock, who gave the Nicotine Fits soul with his keyboard work. All three contributed to the latest Maudlin Magpie release, the poignantly evocative Two Maple Keys.

Check out our newly revamped concert calendar for a complete listing of all of tonight's shows. Page down for rundown of tomorrow night's best bets.



The brainchild of young pop composer and producer Adam Young, Owl City seemingly came out of nowhere in 2009 and quickly became a phenomenon. Foisted to the forefront solely on the strength of a strong word of mouth following, the Minnesota-based outfit produces endlessly catchy synth-pop songs that have an open tab with Erasure and the modern french electro popsters, Air. Every song on Owl City's sophomore release, Ocean Eyes, which included the quadruple platinum hit "Fireflies," is an exercise in feel good fluffiness with hooks aplenty.

Check out our newly revamped concert calendar for a complete listing of all of tonight's shows.

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Stacy Ward

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