Concerts

Weekend's best live bets: Global Dance Festival, The UMS, Dirty Projectors, Kenny Chesney, Lucinda Williams and more

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FRIDAY, JULY 20

DIRTY PROJECTORS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER

David Longstreth was living in western Colorado when he befriended the Love Letter Band's Chris Adolf. The future Bad Weather California frontman put out Longstreth's debut album, The Graceful Fallen Mango, on his This Heart Plays Records imprint. Since then, Longstreth has released music under the name Dirty Projectors, with numerous collaborators. In 2007, the Projectors reworked and transformed a handful of early Black Flag songs for Rise Above, and 2009's Bitte Orca, inspired by the film Wings of Desire, found them fully embracing non-Western rhythms and incorporating them into an experimental-pop format. The group's latest, Swing Lo Magellan, was made with yet another lineup from the rotating cast. Placing vocals more deftly in the cradle of multiple, complementary rhythms, Dirty Projectors continues to expand pop's sonic possibilities.

GLOBAL DANCE FESTIVAL @ RED ROCKS

Global Dance Festival is the biggest dance-music event of the year. What was launched more than a dozen years ago by KTCL as Rave on the Rocks and later came to be known as the Weekend of E has since evolved into a three-day electronic festival. Ha Hau, the founder and owner of Triad Dragons and Global Dance Music, has helped establish the template for how these sorts of electronic festivals are produced. The focus of Global Dance Festival, as it is now known, the thing that's made it a such dominant force, both in Colorado and nationally, is providing the best dance music in the world to EDM fans.

GHOSTS OF GLACIERS @ MOUTH HOUSE

Post-rock has enjoyed a certain popularity of late, and it's easy to see why music that loosely fits that designation often gets put under of the umbrella of instrumental rock. Ghosts of Glaciers -- due this Friday, July 20, at Mouth House (2858 California Street) -- doesn't bother to observe the distinction, either. Unlike certain lesser post-rock artists who basically learned to make streaming sounds with a delay pedal and a guitar of choice, there are real chops being displayed by this band's members. Ben Brandhorst is the outfit's secret weapon, with the dynamism to do polyrhythms, and not just the standard sort; he'll throw in a tasteful blast beat in just the right place and render the song especially visceral. Steven Jackson and Michael Rouse play off each other in intertwining circles, putting out introspective melodies and driving, intricate passages. Ghosts of Glaciersf full-length debut, available at this show, is a vital fusion of post-rock and metal's edge.

BIG K.R.I.T. @ AGGIE THEATRE

Big K.R.I.T., the Mississippian with the silken rap voice and candy-coated production, will roar into the Mile High City with fresh material (his long-awaited album, Live From the Underground, was just released last month) and a smoldering intensity. Fighting the dredges of mainstream music with all his might, K.R.I.T. held off on releasing a full-length project, opting instead to drop several free mixtapes dedicated to the underground. Widely respected and regarded as one of hip-hop's rising stars, K.R.I.T. has built a staunch following among rap heads enamored of his Southern charm and honest lyrics. His sound is unique, and his perspective offers a pleasant diversion in the rap climate.

LIL' ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS @ TOAD TAVERN

A befezed slide guitarist of roaring verve, Lil' Ed Williams mastered Chicago blues under the wing of his uncle J.B. Hutto, and has since become one of the music's essential showmen over the past quarter-century. Full Tilt, his band's 2008 release on Alligator, brings his raw holler and badboy fretwork into the age of compression, but without any excess slickness or fuss.

RECKLESS KELLY

If Reckless Kelly were a transmission, it would be a five-speed. The Austin quintet's Wicked Twisted Road captures its music in all gears, from the quiet, low-gear country folk of the title track to lilting second-gear love-song ballads, from drunk-and-stumble alt-country Irish travelogues to off-the-speedometer Allman Brothers rumblers and nasty white-boy overdrive blues-rockers. Songwriting has always been a Reckless forte, and frontman Willie Braun and his co-writing friends and relatives have once again hit the lyrical bull's-eye with lines like these: "My first love was a wicked twisted road/Hit the million-mile mark at seventeen years old" (from "Wicked"). The album takes the long view of the band's catalogue, showcasing the wide range of styles employed in both its recorded work and its live presentations; tracks like "Sixgun" and "Wretched Again" illustrate the increasingly loud and hard-rocking direction the group is taking on stage. Call it alt-country if you want, but most of it is way too muscular to fit neatly into that niche.

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.

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