Lykke Li, Tech N9Ne, Lucinda Williams, City and Colour and a slew of CD release shows
There's an astounding number of great shows to pick from this weekend in the Mile High City: Lykke Li at the Ogden, Tech N9Ne kicks off his two-night Denver run with an intimate show tonight at the Summit Music Hall, followed by an appearance at the Fillmore, North Mississippi Allstars pull in to the Bluebird tonight for a pair of shows at the Bluebird, as does Big Sean, tonight at the Fox and tomorrow at the Summit. Tomorrow night, Lucinda Williams sets up shop at the Paramount, and there's a slew of local CD release shows. Page down for a complete rundown.
Catch Lykke Li tonight at the Ogden
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11
There is no one box to check for Lykke Li: Part pop star, part soul singer and partially just her own weird and appealing self, the Swedish performer can place her palpable voice into any fold and command the instruments around it. Only two full albums into a relatively newborn career, the singer weaves lush and wire-like vocals among synthesized beats, organs and acoustic guitars. Melancholic youth is a prominent theme in her lyrics, making her an obvious choice for a contributor to the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack in 2009. Li has also worked with the likes of Kanye West, Robyn and Kings of Leon on a diverse array of collaborations. Why such exposure hasn't lead to a wider appeal is perplexing, considering that Li is also the bearer of magazine-cover good looks, and that live, she has a magnetic on-stage persona that channels Stevie Nicks with a Siouxie Sioux darkness. Tickets ($28.50/$32). Doors at 8 p.m. Show at 9 p.m. (16+)
A fiercely independent artist with a diverse, dedicated and ever expanding cult following, Tech N9NE has a hustle that simply cannot be knocked. Currently in the midst of tour in support of his latest album, All 6's and 7's, the rapper has staked his rightful place among the top entertainers in the industry the old-fashioned way, by consistently churning out mind-bending music filled with hardcore lyrics, featuring an impressive list of guests like T-Pain, Weezy, B.o.B., and then taking it straight to the masses. In addition to his date at the Fillmore on Saturday, November 12, Tech will be at the Summit Music Hall the night before for his "Lost in the Dark Experiment" set, which evidently has never been seen before. Doors are at 7 p.m. Show is all ages. ($33.50)
A Memphis-marinated trio featuring Luther and Cody Dickinson (the musical progeny of legendary Muscle Shoals producer Jim Dickinson on guitar and drums, respectively), and bassist Chris Chew, the Allstars hold a deep allegiance to their Delta blues forefathers while remaining open to experimentation. Inspired by the time-honored, hill-country standards of R.L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell (whose steak-bone slide playing was preserved for the Smithsonian in the late '50s by folklorist Alan Lomax), the Allstars bring looped bottleneck beats, dub-reggae and electric washboard into the mix for a decidedly post-punk brand of thrash-blues-boogie. Hip-hooray, as the hippies all say. And while they indeed run the risk of offending purists and snobs alike, there are enough juke-joint flavorings, call-and-response vocals and gospel overtones on hand to delight the lion's share of folks who appreciate a little funk in their gutbucket. Doors at 8 p.m. Show (16+) at 9 p.m. ($25.75-$28.00; two-day pass $48)
It's not surprising that Jake Smith, who fronts the White Buffalo, was influenced by hard-drinking, hard-living singer-songwriters like Waylon Jennings and Townes Van Zandt. With his throaty and raw delivery, it's easy to understand that Smith himself has lived hard himself and has seen a few things in his travels. Show at 7 p.m. ($15)
Signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label, Big Sean legitimately poses this question: "Who came first, Big Sean or Drake?" No kidding. If you don't know Big Sean from "My Last," his single with Chris Brown, let's just say the similarities are uncanny. Whoever came first, the Finally Famous MC brings his sing-song rap stylings to the the Summit Music Hall just before the hype for the holiday season begins.