Weekend's best live bets: Lenny Kravitz, Widespread Panic and more

Categories: Concerts

Catch Lenny Kravitz tonight at the Buell Theatre.
Ah, yes, we've reached the end of another glorious week in the Rockies, which can only mean another dope weekend of music in the Mile High City. Lenny Kravitz kicks things off tonight with a show at the Buell Theatre, Widespread Panic pulls into the Fillmore for a three-night stand, TaunTaun returns from its hiatus to rock the living hell out of 3 Kings Tavern as part of an all-star local lineup that includes Lion Sized, Speedwolf and Git Some to benefit Kings co-owner Jim Norris, In Flames brings the heat to the Summit, Achille Lauro drops its new disc at the hi-dive and so much more. Page down for the full rundown.


Lenny Kravitz is an artist who's erroneously been dismissed over the course of his career as merely a retro mining musician who's greatest attribute is mimicking the best moments of music's past. But like Prince, one of his obvious influences from the very beginning, Kravitz has proved to be a singular talent, a multi-instrumentalist with a knack for absorbing a myriad of influences, from funk to soul to classic rock, and then presented them in a vibrant way that feels instantly familiar without seeming hackneyed. His inherent musicality is also often overshadowed by his songwriting. Black and White America, his latest effort, is a turbo-charged funk-steeped juggernaut, some of his sharpest songs to date.

Billed as the Wood Tour, Widespread Panic's eleven-date, four-city trek marks the band's first-ever fully acoustic tour. This will be the final set of shows before the band goes on hiatus for the remainder of 2012, following what was Panic's 25th anniversary year in 2011. After three shows in Denver at the Fillmore, the band follows up with three more shows in Aspen at the Belly Up. (FYI: The Fillmore dates are sold out.)

The mighty men of TaunTaun are indeed reconvening to play a show tonight, but whatever you do, don't call it a come back. "I don't want to call it a reunion," says Ian O'Dougherty, "because we never broke up. This is just for Jim." The Jim in question, of course, is Jim Norris of 3 Kings Tavern, who, as you might recall, was recently hospitalized for a spider bite that left him with a pile of hospital bills. To help ease the burden, a number of Rev's friends, including John Baxter of ZetaKaye House, have organized a series of benefits, including this one. Tauntaun tells us they have a special surprise for the show. "We've got something you're going to want to see," teases O'Dougherty (read: TaunTaun feature profile).

Originally formed as a side project of Ceremonial Oath, In Flames quickly became a full-time endeavor. While retaining some of the sharp edges of its founders' death-metal leanings, the band successfully joined melodic hooks, vocal and otherwise, with nervy aggressiveness and sharp dynamic shifts. In 1995, the core members recruited Anders Fridén as lead vocalist in time to write and record the classic 1996 album, The Jester Race. In subsequent years, In Flames went through several lineup changes, including the departure of its founders, and it's since become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed metal bands around. Touring in support of its latest album, 2011's Sounds of a Playground Fading, In Flames still proves itself on stage every night, even after two decades (read: interview with Daniel Svensson of In Flames).

Achille Lauro's new full-length release came partly from a sense of smugness. According to Matt Close, the band's sample master, rhythm guitarist and lead singer, Flight or Fight came as the quartet recorded material for what was originally envisioned as the latest in a series of singles. When the group realized they had enough material for a full record, they pushed forward to complete the nine-track release, which will also be cut into vinyl as part of the release (read: full interview with Matt Close and review of Flight or Fight).

As a pop band, you could do a lot worse than having your first-ever show be opening for Amy Winehouse and then getting tapped to serve as the opening act for her European summer tour. But that's essentially what happened to the Asteroids Galaxy Tour after Winehouse heard the band's demo in 2009 -- an admirable feat for an act that was largely a studio project led by primary songwriter and producer Lars Iversen and singer Mette Lindberg. The outfit released some singles before getting the urge to form a live band, and the soul- and jazz-flavored pop that is the hallmark of its sound proved easily translatable to the stage. The septet is currently traveling in support of its latest album, Out of Frequency, and, thanks to the early endorsement from Winehouse, this Tour is now self-propelled.

Although singer Dallas Taylor is no heathen, his band Maylene & the Sons of Disaster represents a rather unholy enterprise, and thank God for that. Taylor once pledged allegiance to Underoath, a Christian metal-core act with a sizable following. But he split during the 2003 Warped Tour under reportedly ugly circumstances -- and when he re-emerged the following year, it was as the frontman of a very different group. Maylene, named for '30s-vintage crime matron Maylene "Ma" Barker, finds Taylor and his cohorts in the guise of rustic ruffians armed with songs that regularly perform shotgun weddings between stoner rock and old-school metallic boogie.

By the time he was sixteen and attending New York's High School of Music and Art, jazz guitarist Bobby Broom was already playing with Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker alumni Al Haig and Walter Bishop Jr. Broom has also played alongside jazz luminaries like Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell, Charles Earland, Kenny Garrett and Marcus Miller. Broom has released several recordings as a leader, including 2009's Bobby Broom Plays for Monk . Tonight Broom teams up with jazz organist Chris Foreman, who was influenced early on by Jack McDuff, Groove Holmes and Jimmy Smith, and drummer Greg Rockingham.

Spatula was a band you often heard about between 2004 and 2005, if you did not actually see it. The band was musical, but more to the point, it was always a ridiculous spectacle with simple but effective props, elaborate homemade costumes, fake gore, live births, simulated environments and general, fun-loving mayhem. Everyone who saw Spatula left with a strong and fond impression, and maybe a little something on them for their trouble. After close to two years together, the band came to an end after an infamous show, outlined below, playing atop a bus during First Friday on Tennyson Street and Santa Fe Drive (read: interview with all five members of Spatula).

Also Tonight:

- AOA at Herb's

- Best of the West Battle of the Bands with Matt Nasi Band, Anesthesia Blvd, Petals of Spain, Thanks to Philo and King Stan Band

- Buffalo Rebellion at Appaloosa Grill

- Dyrty Byrds with Your Babies Daddy at Cervantes' Other Side

- The Farewell Drifters with the Gromit and the Maykit at Moe's Original BBQ and Bowl

- Bonnie Lowdermilk at The Rib House

- Cupid's Dead at Firehouse Tavern

- Delta Sonics at Lincoln's Roads House

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