Are you ready? This is a weekend to remember. Tonight for the first time ever, the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre will add to its renown by hosting the first ever wintertime concert with Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks with Atmosphere, Common, Grieves and Budo and Get Cryphy. And that's just the tip of the, ahem, iceberg. There's a ton of other shows this weekend, including Blackalicious, the Descendents, Reverend Horton Heat, RJD2, Leo Kottke, Ghost, Agent Orange, the Jayhawks, as well as CD release shows from Hindershot, In the Whale and Erik Deutsch Band and more. Page down for the full rundown.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27
ATMOSPHERE @ RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATER Sean Daley is family man. He's got a cat, a wife, two children and a house, and he just took his first family vacation, to a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. The music world, of course, knows Daley better as Slug from the Minneapolis-based rap group Atmosphere, an act he co-founded with Anthony "Ant" Davis in the mid-'90s. Pioneers of indie hip-hop, Daley and Davis have released more than a dozen records on their own through Rhymesayers, the imprint they co-founded in 1995 (read more in the full interview).
BLACKALICIOUS @ THE FILLMORE See Blackalicious at the Fillmore for just $10 tonight. You read that right. You can see Blackalicious at the Fillmore this Friday, January 27, for just ten bucks (well, plus the applicable service fees). Tickets are on-sale right now at LiveNation.com or you can pick them up directly at the Fillmore box office. Oh, we should also let you know that this is also the 13th Annual Transworld Snowboard Riders Poll Awards Show, in which the winners from the 2011 poll will be announced. That means there will be a ton of the dudes who've been nominated on hand if you're into that sort of thing.
GHOST @ MARQUIS THEATER Ghost is a metal band from Sweden that might also be considered a bit of a performance art troupe. With one member dressed as the Satanic counterpart to the Pope and the other five as hooded, essentially faceless acolytes, all decked out in reverse Christian symbolism, Ghost is the kind of band where individual ego has been subsumed for something more collective and symbolic.
RJD2 @ BLUEBIRD THEATER Performing with and producing for artists like EL-P, Aesop Rock, and Aceyalone, RJD2 has paved an unprecedented path for himself since the 2002 debut of his instrumental hip-hop album, Deadringer. He's shown his creativity in a variety of outlets, whether it be the soundtrack to a skate video, a brief graffiti career, or founding the sustainable record label RJ's Electrical Connections.
LEO KOTTKE @ BOULDER THEATER Leo Kottke is a legendary and beloved master of finger picking guitar and a gifted raconteur. He got his start with John Fahey's Takoma Records in the late '60s, and he's been releasing noteworthy albums of some of the most inventive and interesting acoustic music ever recorded. Whether playing intricate folk leads or jazz inflected blues, Kottke is ever the master craftsman with a creative imagination to match. Kottke has overcome physically debilitating damage to his hearing and especially his tendons from his unique style of playing guitar, and his career was nearly ended but he switched up his playing style and continues strong to this day.
VINCE NEIL @ THE GRIZZLY ROSE Vince Neil was custom made for Friday nights. Doubt it? Put a quarter in the jukebox and throw on any Motley Crue song -- take your pick, "Kickstart My Heart," "Girls, Girls, Girls" "Shout at the Devil," "Looks That Kill" -- and then watch the joint, doesn't matter where you're at, completely transform before your eyes from a mild-mannered local tavern at the end of the week into a bonafied bacchanalian bonanza. Before you know it, you'll be pounding your fist and pounding beers in equal measure.
AGENT ORANGE @ LARIMER LOUNGE Though birthed in the dysfunctional cradle of the Southern California hardcore scene, Agent Orange never stuck to convention. Although the group's debut, Living in Darkness, contained the instant punk-rock classic "Bloodstains," the outfit's influential sound is equal parts hardcore, power pop and surf rock. At heart, though, as evidenced by its ferociously fun live shows, Agent Orange is really nothing less than an outstandingly entertaining rock-and-roll band. The group's influence can be still be heard in many of the punk bands that followed in its wake. Touring consistently since the early '80s, Fullerton's favorite sons make a great case for sticking with what you do best.
JAYHAWKS @ OGDEN THEATRE Formed in 1985, the Jayhawks were early progenitors of the alt-country movement and paved the way for acts like Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and Son Volt. While co-founder Mark Olson has pretty much been out of the fold since 1995 when he left the band to be with his wife Victoria Williams after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Since then, he's released a few solo albums as well teaming back up with co-founder Gary Louris for a few tours. Olson is now back with the Jayhawks and on the band's latest effort, Mockingbird Time.
ANTHONY B. @ CERVANTES OTHER SIDE Reggae legend Anthony B. has been singing revolutionary and political-leaning songs since he emerged onto the scene with his 1996 debut, Real Revolutionary. Shying away from songs that were degrading to women (against the popular tide of music), Anthony B. chose instead to focus on his Afrocentric pride, using the influence of Peter Tosh and his thoughtful lyrics to further his Rastafari style. With searing vocals and melodic storytelling, the Jamaican recording artist is a wealth of charismatic sound.
HINDERSHOT (CD RELEASE) @ 3 KINGS TAVERN Stuart Confer can't pin down exactly where the inspiration for the tunes on his band's latest EP, Curse Us All, comes from. Confer, the lead guitarist, singer and songwriter for Hindershot says the creative impetus for the four tracks came from his own mental "ether," the stream-of-consciousness that also birthed the material for the band's freshman release, 2011's It's Only Blood (read the full interview with Confer).
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28
DESCENDENTS @ FILLMORE AUDITORIUM With the release of 1981's Fat EP, the Descendents became one of a steadily growing stream of hardcore bands from Southern California. And, as was the case with many of those early acts, their music was a youthful catharsis informed by a wickedly absurdist sense of humor. Until Napalm Death wrote the under-two-seconds "You Suffer," the Descendents had one of the shortest, sharpest punk songs out there (the eleven-second "Wienerschnitzel"). They also had a more decidedly melodic bent to their songwriting, which proved influential on the wave of pop punk that came out of the late '80s and the '90s. Having survived lineup changes and other vicissitudes of fortune, the foursome still manages to make songs about girls and love lost sound less like hackneyed premises and more like anthems to the broken, yearning adolescent heart within us all.
REVEREND HORTON HEAT @ OGDEN THEATRE Used to be that the fire out of a tailpipe and the crystalline splatter of broken bottles in the street meant that the Rev was in town and parking his extra long Caddy on your lawn. But hey, everybody gets old. So after some jazz-tinkering side work, Jim Heath and his trusty rhythm section have returned in a Horton of somewhat less Heat, if one still full of satisfying guit-ar-done flavor. Shucks, that's alright. Hair grease and cuffed jeans will still rule the night.
IN THE WHALE (CD RELEASE) @ HI-DIVE In the Whale started out in Greeley as a side project of What About Pluto? and Trailer 77, but guitarist Nate Valdez and drummer Eric Riley wanted to do something more raw as an outlet for sublimated frustration and angst. A former counselor of juvenile delinquents, Valdez undoubtedly had plenty of fuel for that fire, as did Riley, who'd discovered that the life of a music major offered more rote learning than inspiration. Rather than stay in Greeley, the two moved to Denver and pursued In the Whale in earnest, and have since made an impression on audiences with the raucous delivery of their fuzzy, blues-tinged, lo-fi power pop.
ERIK DEUTSCH BAND (CD RELEASE) @ DAZZLE RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE Since studying music at the University of Colorado and moving to Brooklyn after living in the area for a decade, keyboardist Erik Deutsch has gone on to play with Norah Jones, Trevor Dunn, Erin McKeown and did a three-year stint with Charlie Hunter. Prior to that, while living in Colorado, Deutsch played in Fat Mama, studied with Art Lande and also performed with Ron Miles -- two musicians he lists as major influences. The keyboardist gets extra funky and groovy on his brand new album, Demonio Teclado, his follow-up to 2010's Hush Money.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29
CARL VERHEYEN @ THE WALNUT ROOM Hailed as one of the top ten guitarists in the world by Guitar Player magazine, Carl Verheyen has more than 1,000 credits as a session player, was a member of Supertramp and also has eleven CDs and two live DVDs under his belt. Verheyen will be performing and conducting a "Tone Workshop & Clinic" with a meet-and-greet afterward. If you've never experienced Verheyen live, or been present at one of his jaw-dropping clinics, then this is a rare and must-see event.
ERIK DEUTSCH BAND @ DAZZLE RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE Since studying music at the University of Colorado and moving to Brooklyn after living in the area for a decade, keyboardist Erik Deutsch has gone on to play with Norah Jones, Trevor Dunn, Erin McKeown and did a three-year stint with Charlie Hunter. Prior to that, while living in Colorado, Deutsch played in Fat Mama, studied with Art Lande and also performed with Ron Miles -- two musicians he lists as major influences. The keyboardist gets extra funky and groovy on his brand new album, Demonio Teclado, his follow-up to 2010's Hush Money.
Compiled by Nick Callaio.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.