The Ten Best Shows in Colorado This Week

Categories: Best Concerts

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Steve Truesdell for the Riverfront Times. More here.
Pearl Jam plays the Pepsi Center this week.
The undisputed heavyweight champion of grunge, Pearl Jam, makes a stop in Denver this week. There will be some pop punk in Colorado Springs and some jazz in Golden. And more! The rest of our picks follow.

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Some of Denver's Most Challenging Music Finds a New Audience at DU

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Concrete Mixer at The Newman Center for the Performing Arts, University of Denver
This edition of Concrete Mixer found a rare showing and audience at Newman Center for the Performing Arts for the Convocation for the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. Past editions of this event featuring live musique concrète have been held at The Walnut Room because of the superb sound quality of that room. The Newman Center, designed for various kinds of performance, measured up as well. The audience was mostly students though the show was free and open to the general public. DU is certainly no stranger to experimental music on campus, but it is certainly rare for this sort of performance to happen at a university in general.

See also: Seven of Denver's Most Underrated Bands

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Ten Musical Projects Ikey Owens Made Great

Categories: Lists

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David James Swanson
Ikey Owens on October 11 in Mexico City, performing with Jack White. More photos here.
When Isaiah "Ikey" Owens passed away last week, the musician and producer left behind a massive legacy. Most recently the Long Beach, California native was on tour playing keyboards and piano with Jack White -- but he was also a member and founder of Free Moral Agents and was known for his role in seminal rock group the Mars Volta. Beyond his big time projects, Owens had also produced and played on dozens of records in his career, including maintaining a strong Denver connection that had him producing and playing on Rubedo's first two records, as well as being an active member of the band (Owens and Rubedo also formed Double Ply Translucent Caterpillar, a group that featured a rotating cast of musicians and most notably played at the Denver Art Museum for Nick Cave's Soundsuit performance last year.) He had also worked on Holophrase's 2012 album and had just finished up tracks for Wheelchair Sport Camp's forthcoming record, as well as a gear collaboration with local pedal makers Mantic Conceptual.

But still, there was so much more -- Owens had been an integral part of the third wave ska revival in the '90s, worked with hip-hop, noise and R&B artists, toured the world with pivotal rock acts, all while continuing to play with and produce up-and-coming bands. His resume is pages long, but we've compiled just ten of the pieces of music you may not know Ikey Owens contributed to for your listening pleasure.

See also: Denver Musicians Pay Tribute to Ikey Owens: "His Voice Screamed Through the Keyboard"

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A Wonderfully Strange Night at Hamsterdam With Gordon Gano and a Fuzzy Hat

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Animal/Object at Hamsterdam
Saturday was a night of firsts at Hamsterdam. It was the first live show from Hippies Wearing Muzzles, the mostly modular synth project from Lee Evans, better known as the bass player in Kissing Party. It was probably the first cross-country performance art, found sound and lattice poem collaboration show at Hamsterdam or in Denver generally for a good long time. It was also the first time Animal/Object played this venue with the usual crew of Kurt Bauer, Steve Gordon, Gordon Pryor and David Mead. But this outing the avant-improv outfit was joined by part-time violin player, Gordon Gano -- a founding member of Violent Femmes.

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Rock 'N' Roll Marathon 2014 Map and Band Schedule

Categories: Best Concerts

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The Rock 'N Roll Marathon route for 2014, with band stages marked.
The Rock 'N' Roll Marathon returns to Denver this weekend with a new route. You can see it in the map above or in much more detail on the marathon's web site.

As usual, there will be a slew of local bands along the course -- this year, there are nineteen stages spread throughout Denver's major parks and core neighborhoods. The Finish Line Festival in Civic Center Park will feature headliners the Wild Feathers, playing from 10:45 a.m. to noon. Bonnie and the Beard and the Patrick Dune Band also have sets at the festival. There's a complete rundown of the festivities on the web site; a complete schedule of artists is below.

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The Thirteen Best Shows in Denver This Weekend

Categories: Best Concerts

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Brandon Marshall. Full slideshow here.
The Pretty Reckless return to the Fillmore Auditorium tonight.
The Rock and Roll Marathon will prevent you from driving anywhere in downtown Denver tomorrow, with a roster of athletes stuffed with several hundred extras who couldn't run the canceled Boulder marathon a few weeks ago. Embrace it and cheer them on near one of the several stages, where bands including the Wild Feathers and Bonnie and the Beard will perform.

Elsewhere: The Pretty Reckless will play its second show at the Fillmore this year, the great Patty Griffin stops by the Oriental and plenty more. The complete list of our picks follows.

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Good Things Happen to People Who Write Songs About Peyton Manning

Categories: VIDEO

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From the "She Loves Peyton Manning More Than Me" music video.
John Stevens Jr started writing songs at age 15 to try and process the death of a friend. He's been playing music in Indiana for 30 years, but it wasn't until he sat down at his kitchen table early this year with the intent to make his friends laugh that he found that little breakthrough so many artists never achieve.

The song is a simple ditty called "She Loves Peyton Manning More Than Me." He uploaded the home video to YouTube two weeks before the Super Bowl, and I bet you can already guess how it got from there to, say, a music blog in Denver, Colorado.

See also: After Suffering Marijuana-Induced Psychosis, the Mad Fanatic Got High on the Denver Broncos


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The Top 10 Power Ballads of All Time

Categories: Commentary

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Photo by Helge Øverås via Wikimedia Commons
If we're being completely honest, power ballads are responsible for some of the most resonant music-listening experiences in the entire world. They're a beautiful blend of sentiment and obviousness, a band willfully becoming emotionally available. Everybody makes fun of the power ballad, because sometimes it's hard to admit we gave over our souls so easily. We've all made fun of a lot of the songs on this list, but we've also had private, don't-look-at-me emotional moments with each of them. This is the foundational argument against anyone who maintains that pop music makes evil people; this is proof to any aliens that the human race is not beyond salvation.

This is the top ten power ballads of all time.

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Snoop Dogg Lends a Verse to Mike Dunafon's Campaign Song, Plans Yes We Cannabis Festival

Categories: Music News

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Eric Gruneisen
Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon has a story made for viral success: The former rugby player runs an anomaly of a town surrounded on all sides by Denver with his strip-club-owner wife, Debbie Matthews, not so subtly at his side. Now he's running for governor as an independent candidate on a platform that basically boils down to one giant "FREE CANDY" sign.

Key among his beliefs is that you should be able to smoke as much weed as you like. That's been a popular message, one that's earned him endorsements from the likes of Wyclef Jean and, now, Snoop Dogg.

See also: All Hail Mike Dunafon and Debbie Matthews, King and Queen of Glendale

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The Ten Best Concerts of the Summer

Categories: Best Concerts

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Aaron Thackeray
Red Rocks hosted the last concerts of its regular concert series a little over a week ago, signaling the official end of the summer concert season in Colorado. This week on the Backbeat blog, we're looking back at some of our favorite shows of 2014's warmest months. Note that we didn't include any festivals and that, as always, these things are of course subject to various whims and coincidences. Let us know your favorites in the comments!

See also: 50 Photos That Prove Red Rocks Is the Most Beautiful Venue on the Planet

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