Weekend's best live music bets: Gotye, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, SP Double, fun. and more

Welcome to the end of the work week! Unsurprisingly, your musical options are plentiful this weekend: Gotye packs the Ogden tonight for a sold-out show with Kimbra, Fun. is at the Fox Theatre, John Scofield returns to Colorado after the successful three night stand with Phil Lesh not too long ago, Bell Biv Devoe dials back the clock at the Buell Temple Theatre, SP Double celebrates the release of his new record Loyalty Honor Respect at Cervantes' and much more. Page down for the weekend's best live music bets.


GOTYE @ OGDEN THEATRE The most startling aspect of Gotye's sound is its sincerity. This is -- as others have noted both about him and to him -- very Phil Collins of him, quite broodingly Sting and earnestly Peter Gabriel. A fact that fewer tend to point out is that this isn't Gotye's first rodeo. Three full-length albums into a career that began in 2001, the 31-year-old Belgian singer won international success with last year's radio-saturating single "Somebody That I Used to Know," which means that most of his new fans have yet to be sold on either its new-album companions or old-album predecessors. On 2011's Making Mirrors, Gotye has more to say and less to prove than he does on that isolated crooner: Artfully mining both his quirks and his influences, the album explores, experiments and dabbles, offering twelve tracks of nostalgic soul, smooth electronica and dimensions of rock both eerie and acerbic.

SLIM CESSNA'S AUTO CLUB 20TH ANNIVERSARY @ LION'S LAIR In Slim Cessna's Auto Club "Last Song About Satan," Cessna opens the tune with a bit about sitting next to Satan at the Lions Lair. So it's fitting that two decades after starting out at the Lions Lair, the Auto Club, who has since moved onto bigger venues, is returning to the 100-person bar to celebrating twenty years together for a three-night stand.

FUN. @ FOX THEATRE When the Format broke up in 2008, frontman Nate Ruess regrouped and formed Fun. with the help of Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff, venturing firmly into the realm of pop rock with the act's debut album, Aim and Ignite. That release garnered acclaim, but the group really hit the big time with Some Nights, which came out this past February. The anthemic single "We Are Young" reached the top of Billboard's Hot 100 list and landed a slew of mainstream placements: The cast of Glee, for instance, covered the song, and Chevy used it in a Super Bowl commercial. Fans at the Ogden will no doubt be eagerly anticipating the live rendition of that track as they experience the, er, Fun. for themselves.

JOHN SCOFIELD TRIO @ KING ACADEMIC & PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Ask any guitar player if he recognizes the name John Scofield, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a single six-stringer who doesn't. Based on his work with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in the '70s to collaborations with modern music pioneers Medeski, Martin and Wood in the 21st century, Scofield's street cred is well assured. Add to that a reputation as a living legend of jazz as a solo artist, composer and bandleader, and it's fair to say that Scofield's reputation occupies the rarefied stratosphere of the true greats of modern music. Last February, Scofield was at 1STBANK Center with Phil Lesh & Friends. This time around, as part of the CU Denver Guitar Festival, he's with his own trio, which includes longtime band mates Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart.

JC BROOKS & THE UPTOWN SOUND @ LARIMER LOUNGE Although JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound got a good-sized dose of notoriety with the soul-soaked cover of Wilco's "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," the Chicago-based band also digs into a fair amount of heavy groove of its own. Sure, the self-described post-punk soul is known for its energetic live shows, the act's latest effort, Want More, is not as hard-hittingly funky as albums from other contemporary soul acts like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings or Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, and it's mellower than the band's stage presentation.


- Shpongle Presents The Masquerade with Phutureprimitive at Boulder Theater

- Nit Grit with Antennae and Gladkill at Summit Music Hall

- Katchafire with Common Kings, K'Nova, Policulture and BloodPreshah at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom

- Coup Stick with Dirty Lightning, One Way To Hell, A Day Dream Suicide at Gothic Theatre

- Method Man & Redman at Aggie Theatre

- Sam Bush Band at Quixote's True Blue

- Beats Noir at Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

- The Brown Stripes at FuNuGyz

- Carry Me Ohio with Jillian and the Gentle Americans, Matty Graziano at Moe's Original BBQ & Bowl

- Comeback Kid at Marquis Theater

- Dave Connelly at Platte River Bar & Grill

- Gretchen Troop Band at Boulder Outlook Hotel

- Hazel Miller at Stargazers Theatre and Event Center

- Hellhand with Pitch Invasion, Rebel Steele at Old Curtis Street Bar

- Jack Tar & the Gophers at Cactus Jack's Saloon

- JC & the Water Walkers at The Eagle Grill

- Johnny O at Zephyr Lounge

- Kenny Perkin at The End Pub & Grub

- Liza Oxnard at Appaloosa Grill

- Pro-Leisure at Highland Pacific Restaurant and Oyster Bar

- Lee Ritenour at The Soiled Dove Underground

- Sammy Dee at Jake's Roadhouse

- The Sessh with Ape Tit at The Walnut Room

- Turnpike Troubadors at Grizzly Rose

- Bela Fleck & the Flecktones at Vilar Center for the Arts

- The Alash Ensemble at Swallow Hill Music Hall

- AOA at Herb's


SLIM CESSNA'S AUTO CLUB 20TH ANNIVERSARY @ LION'S LAIR In Slim Cessna's Auto Club "Last Song About Satan," Cessna opens the tune with a bit about sitting next to Satan at the Lions Lair. So it's fitting that two decades after starting out at the Lions Lair, the Auto Club, who has since moved onto bigger venues, is returning to the 100-person bar to celebrating twenty years together for a three-night stand.

BELL BIV DEVOE @ TEMPLE BUELL THEATRE Never trust a big butt and a smile. Ah, yes, these sage words of Bell Biv Devoe have served us well into adulthood. Those few nuggets of wisdom undoubtedly saved us from a world of heartache and subsequent therapy. And don't even get us started on Teddy Riley of Blackstreet (or Guy, if you're old-school like that), without whom, of course, there would be no New Jack Swing.

METHOD MAN & REDMAN @ CERVANTES Method Man and Redman are seriously one of the greatest rap collaborations ever. They smoke, dance, rap and pretty much kill shit every time they touch the stage. The classics are timeless and still rock the house, no matter how often they play in Denver. Be sure to check the duo out tonight as they will most definitely get you high.

THE SKELETON SHOW @ BENDER'S TAVERN The Skeleton Show (due at Bender's Tavern on Saturday, April 7) exemplifies the free-spirited fire of '60s garage bands who sat on the cusp of psychedelia and waded deep into that dirty musical water more than half the time. With a raw live performance in which some bandmembers come dangerously close to hurting themselves --- and sometimes do -- the Skeleton Show isn't just copping someone else's cool. Lots of people have re-rediscovered Nuggets, surf, and stripped-down rock and roll in the past half decade and more. These guys look and sound like they're living it.

GOOD OLE WAR @ BLUEBIRD THEATER There was nothing simple about Days Away, the epic, progressive rock band that was a fixture on the post-hardcore circuit throughout the naughts. But when the group broke up in 2008, singer/guitarist Keith Goodwin and drummer Tim Arnold announced a total about-face: Good Old War. Influenced by far more basic artists like Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel, the folksy trio is as stripped down and stark as Days Away was melodramatic and atmospheric. To its credit, though, the threesome's 2010 self-titled disc fleshes out its skeletal folk framework with piano, accordion and Goodwin's sense of drama and grandeur. Even played out on a humbler and quieter scale, his moody Americana feels accomplished, immaculately crafted and larger than life -- even if now there's a whole lot of empty space up there on stage.


- Bela Fleck & the Flecktones at Boulder Theater

- Passafire with Slaughterhouse Rootz at Marquis Theater

- Adventure Club with Cry Wolf at Fox Theatre

- Soundronauts with Elementary, My Dear Watson, Locoboco, Hawk Attack and Grace's at Fox Theatre

- Protest the Hero with Periphery at Summit Music Hall

- Skyfox with Places, Pull the Alarm at Gothic Theatre

- Soap at Cervantes' Other Side

- Bare Wires with Shaky Molars at Moe's Original BBQ & Bowl

- Bell Biv Devoe with Blackstreet and Teddy Riley at Temple Buell Theatre

- Ben Haugland (CD release) at Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

- Brian Hornbuckle Band at Platte River Bar & Grill

- Buffalo Rebellion at Appaloosa Grill

- The Dendrites at 3 Kings Tavern

- Eric Lane at Zephyr Lounge

- The Flash Mob with Tick, Thermopolis, Also Shiny at The Walnut Room

- Ginga at Mercury Cafe

- Josh Blackburn at McCabe's Bistro

- Melvin Seals & JGB at Quixote's True Blue

- Mid Life Crisis at Cactus Jack's Saloon

- The Mighty High Band at Highland Pacific Restaurant and Oyster Bar

- Mojomama at Boulder Outlook Hotel

- Nolan McInnis at Historic El Rancho Restaurant

- Ricky Earl Band at Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

- Ronnie Raygun at Baker Street Pub & Grill

- Something Underground at Little Bear

- The Switch at Jake's Roadhouse

- Tommy Castro Band at Toad Tavern

- Lionel Young Band at Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts

- Owen Kortz Trio at Swallow Hill Music Hall

- AOA at Herb's



SP Double first got his start in the mid '90s rocking mikes under the tutelage of Illustrate and later Dent. Eventually coming into his own, he went on to work with a litany of local MCs, including several members of what is now Prime Element (as Heavy Hitters) and the Fresh Breath Committee, a supergroup of sorts that first came together under the Boostwell banner, after meeting at battles that SP would host at his tatoo shop. SP later linked up with Kid Vishis, Royce da 5'9, Chino XL and Focus, all of whom appear on his new album Loyalty Honor Respect, his finest work to date. Executive-produced by Focus, Loyalty finds SP shining with lyrics that are incisive, confrontational, confessional, heartfelt and, above all, memorable, over beats that absolutely bang. Even among those impressive features, it's clear that SP is at the top of his game. His distinctive internal rhyming-scheme style is sharper than ever. (Read the full SP Double profile.)

BELA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES @ OGDEN THEATRE Former Flecktone sax man Jeff Coffin jumped ship for the Dave Matthews Band a while back, thereby opening the door for the current reunion tour with founding harmonica player Howard Levy. A dramatic reinvention like this is probably for the best, since their last few albums have seen them disappearing down the rabbit hole of their own virtuosity, and their oily new-age jazz fusion is almost always stronger when they keep the themes simple.

ACID MOTHER TEMPLES @ LARIMER LOUNGE Kawabata Makoto, the founder of Acid Mothers Temple, started his career in music in the late 1970s. Whether he experienced Flower Travellin' Band's motes of resonating distortion or the dark, haunted droning of Les Rallizes Denudes firsthand is anyone's guess. But since founding Acid Mothers in 1995, Kawabata has forged a path into inner and outer space with his most high-profile project. The alchemical combination of Stockhausen-esque, avant-garde electronica and transcendent, incendiary, prog-warped blues defies convenient categorization. In fact, Kawabata eschews the term "psychedelic" in favor of "trip music," because he wants the music to take the audience on a trip into an altered state of consciousness, where the mundane dissolves in a wave of mind-expanding sound.

"LATIN QUARTER" WITH THE MANUEL LOPEZ JAZZ TRIO @ DAZZLE RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE Colorado native Manuel Lopez discovered a fondness for Latin music after he stared playing congas in his early teens, and then found his way to the drum kit. Together with pianist Peter Ellingson and bassist Eduardo "Bijoux" Barbosa, Lopez's trio delves into a variety of repertoire from old Cuban standards to more modern arrangements. The trio plays at Dazzle every Sunday evening.


- Amazon Eyeshadow at Herb's

- Ed Nicol's Big Band at Mercury Cafe

- JV3 at Platte River Bar & Grill

- Lovebettie with The Beautiful View at Lion's Lair

- Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real at Belly Up Aspen

- Scotty Brown at Jake's Roadhouse

- South By South Africa with Tori Pater & Eric Martinez at Quixote's True Blue

- Calder Quartet at Lincoln Center

- Porcelain Raft with Candy Claws and Knight School at hi-dive

- Blues Jam with Michael Hornbuckle at Tennyson's Tap

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