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Weekend's best live bets: Rick Ross, Big Head Todd, Danielle Ate the Sandwich and more

Welcome to the weekend! Whoo freaking hoo! Another stacked one on tap. Tons of options no matter your flavor. We've got Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, Tyga and more at KS 107.5's Summer Jam, Big Head Todd and the Monsters's annual sojourn to Red Rocks, a parade of imports, including Destroyer, Sarah Jaffe, Dirt Nasty, Cobra Starship, Lemonade, Nickelback, plus four local CD release parties featuring Patrick Dethlefs, the Say So, Glowing House and Danielle Ate the Sandwich. Page down for the full rundown on this weekend's best live bets.



Rick Ross exploded onto the scene as a huge presence, both in stature and lyrics. His deep, gruff voice chronicled ghetto life in Miami with lurid details of the cocaine game and the ways of a hustler. Having amassed crazy amounts of success with hits like "Hustlin'" and collaborative joints like "Stay Schemin'" and "I'm On One," the Maybach Music Group boss is easily one of the most popular rappers in the game, commanding any stage he graces. As he heads up a cast of other high-profile spitters at this year's KS-107.5 Summer Jam, expect the Bawse to absolutely set it off.


See Also: Patrick Dethlefs Q&A

While it's true that nearly every corner of folk-inspired music has been explored ad infinitum, Patrick Dethlefs doesn't sound like he's trying to be Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Richard Thompson or Nick Drake.Maybe he worked his way through those influences early on, learned what he could and forged ahead to craft music through which he speaks for himself. Still in his early twenties, Dethlefs sings with the authority and emotional richness of someone a decade older. His EP with Eye & the Arrow earlier this year was brimming with promise, and his new album, Fall & Rise, with its luminous melodies, emotional intimacy and hushed grace, is the kind of debut upon which careers are launched.


See Also: The Say So feature profile

Even in their small talk, these guys -- Fisher, Beeble, drummer Robbie Spradling and singer Sean Palmer -- spend as much time in their heads as in their hearts. The same translates to the textured, soaring melodies of their first full-length album, The Romantic, which regularly shifts between ambitious storytelling and emotional drama at the turn of a phrase, with hooks pinned to cerebral insights.


In the early '90s, when he began his pop-culture career, Dirt Nasty was better known as Simon Rex -- a super-tan MTV VJ and the occasional star of screwball comedies and prime-time teen shows. Around 2007, Rex went in a new direction: He adopted the Dirt Nasty moniker and became a purveyor of cocaine-laced sex raps. Alongside Mickey Avalon, Beardo and Andre Legacy, his white-boy rhyme act was legitimized, and Rex found a niche market audience for his over-the-top fucked-upedness. With three albums and several tours on his résumé, Rex continues to ride the Dirt Nasty train, but, smartly, into more radio-friendly territories. The actor-turned-rapper is also a former porn star -- but through the glazed-over eyes of Dirt Nasty, Rex has cleverly transformed the skeletons in his closet into an appealing form of wasted entertainment.

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.



Big Head Todd released a Robert Johnson tribute album last February, but it's another Johnson -- Jack -- who owes the bulk of his success to Todd Park Mohr and company. The imposing Korean frontman proved that it was possible to be a collegiate smooth-jam fave without having to send his guitar into elongated fits of acid-soaked noodling. Along with the Samples and Dave Matthews, Big Head Todd epitomized the safer, fleece-vested sector of the '90s groove-tune scene, leaving the serious degenerates to tour with the Dead and Phish. While the chances of ever seeing Big Head Todd in the intimate local venues the band started off in the '80s are rare, seeing the guys at Red Rocks with Barenaked Ladies ain't too bad either.


See Also: Q&A with Dan Bejar of Destroyer

If you're looking for the perfect soundtrack for that Miami Vice-themed party you're planning, Destroyer's newest release, Kaputt, should do the trick. Whereas main Destroyer (and wild-card New Pornographer) Dan Bejar's previous catalogue is full of ramshackle chamber pop and folky mopes, Kaputt could very well be an ushering moment in the new romantic/yacht-rock revival, sounding like it was recorded on a ship floating slowly through a neon-shrouded harbor in the middle of a serious wine-spritzer binge. While Destroyer's scattershot subject matter remains as cryptic as ever: Bejar has upped the smooth factor in his songs, seeming more relaxed and focused than ever atop lush beds of chorus-laden guitar, drum machines and straight-faced sexy sax solos.


See Also: Cobra Starship feature profile

The words to "Pleasure Ryland," a song on Cobra Starship's 2007 disc ¡Viva La Cobra!, are very different from the ones initially warbled by the tune's co-author and namesake, guitarist Ryland Blackinton -- and that's fine by him, since the originals weren't intended for public consumption. "I have a little bit of a potty mouth," Blackinton confesses, "and I think, when you're on tour, sometimes you say things that would make a sailor blush, and they don't mean anything. In this case, I was writing the song, and I had all the parts done, but I felt like it would be cool if there was a Vocoder part -- like a real West Coast hip-hop Vocoder-sounding part. And I'm not sure why, but the first thing that came to mind was, 'Lick my balls and play with my asshole.'" After a laugh, he adds, "We obviously had to change it." (Read more in the full profile: Cobra Starship Took Flight Before Gabe Saporta even had a band together)


See Also: Glowing House Q&A

Jess Parsons and Steve Varney connected instantly before a songwriting class at the University of Colorado Denver. The initial draw was the fact that, aside from being musicians, they were both songwriters, too. Over the course of a week they had off from school during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, they talked about their music and played their music for each other. At the beginning of 2009, Parsons and Varney -- who share vocal duties and are both vocal teachers -- released their indie-folk debut, The Annual Demise of Every Aspen, under the Glowing House moniker; they were married a year later. After hearing producer Jamie Mefford's work on Gregory Alan Isakov's albums, they recruited Mefford to produce their second effort, Days Run Out, which also features guest spots from DeVotchKa's Jeanie Schroder and Air Dubai/Petals of Spain trumpeter Wesley Watkins.


Hailing from the same Texas city as Midlake and Centro-matic, Denton-based singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe has toured with the two hometown bands. After releasing two EPs and 2010's full-length Suburban Nature, Jaffe started working on The Body Wins the day she bought a bass and a drum set at a pawnshop. While her previous releases were steeped in indie folk, The Body Wins shows a much more energetic side of her, one that likes to dance and listen to hip-­hop.

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.



Lemonade started in San Francisco and then moved to New York, but you'd never know it from listening to the band's music. With its synthesis of '80s club music, the trio recalls the sound of bands coming out of Miami -- if those bands were clued into Afro-Cuban rhythms without being too obvious about it. Think hazy melodies that might go well with soft focus and fog-enshrouded waterfront scenes. The dreaded "chillwave" term probably applies to this band, and if that's something that rankles, then avoid it. But if you're open to retro-electro, introspective music set to inventive textural beats, look no further.


See Also: Video: Danielle Ate the Sandwich's "Faith in a Man" is a Bonnie-Without-Clyde crime caper

While Danielle Ate the Sandwich (aka Danielle Anderson) says a lot of her music is bright, dreamy and whimsical, her latest effort, Like a King (which she'll celebrate the release of tonight), is a bit heavier. But there are still some bright moments and she's still playing ukulele and writing songs about kind of fruity things. She just finished the video for "Faith in a Man," a black-and-white Bonnie-minus-Clyde 1930s heist plot.


While there are plenty of folks who love to hate Canada's Nickelback, the band doesn't have any problem selling albums and packing arenas around the world. With the release of last year's Here and Now, which debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 and selling 227,000 copies in its first week, the act has seven albums under its belt over the course of seventeen-year history. Touring in support of the disc, Nickelback is bringing along Bush, Seether and My Darkest Days.

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

Compiled by Stacy Ward

Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music

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