Weekend's best live music bets: Phil Lesh and Friends, Young the Giant and more
Eric Gruneisen Phil Lesh plays two more nights at 1STBANK Center this weekend.
Welcome to the weekend! You made it! While we're assuming we'll be seeing you at Artopia tomorrow night, if for some reason we don't, there's a pretty diverse lineup of music on tap otherwise for the next three days, including two more nights of Phil Lesh at 1STBANK Center, two nights of Future Birds at the Larimer, DeVotchKa with the Colorado Symphony at Boettcher Concert Hall, Young the Giant at the Ogden, Wale at the Summit Music Hall and more. Page down to have a look at your best bets for live music this weekend.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17
PHIL LESH & FRIENDS @ 1ST BANK CENTER
After coming through town a few times in the last few years with Furthur, former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and friends return to the 1STBANK Center for a three-night run. This time around, Lesh is in fine company with two outstanding guitarists in tow -- jazzer John Scofield and Gov't Mule's Warren Haynes -- as well as singer/guitarist Jackie Green and drummer Joe Russo of Benevento/Russo Duo fame.
WALE @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL
Wale has come a long way from the enthusiastic bounce-rap style that introduced him to the masses. A determined new signee to Maybach Music Group, the Washington, D.C., native sharpened his vernacular and defined his appeal with the release of his widely respected 2011 album, Ambition. He struck gold with the single "Lotus Flower Bomb," with R&B crooner-of-the-moment Miguel, and has inspired a new class of rap to rise from the underground. Wale's lyrics, combined with a keen ear for proper beats, set him apart from everyone else in the game. Ambitious, indeed.
BIRDSEED COLLECTIVE SHOWCASE @ UNIT E
Nelson Echeverry may have cut his teeth on some strain of punk rock when he was a teenager, but when he connected with the merry band of indie-pop pranksters in the Haircut, his natural inclination for Fall-esque guitar experimentation jelled perfectly with Magee Headley's spirited vocal delivery. Even with Doris Brown, Micah Bontrager and Courtney Rodgers effortlessly and expertly switching roles on keys, drums and bass, the Haircut -- due at Unit E (1201 Sante Fe Drive) -- often sounds raw, but never without ebullient charm and sonic cohesion. Though only really around since last summer, the Haircut has quickly become the kind of secret band that bursts onto the scene seemingly fully formed, with instantly and surprisingly compelling songs and stage presence to match. More bands should be this good this soon, and the Haircut is just getting started.
LAURA GIBSON @ HI-DIVE
Laura Gibson's smoky warble and elegant, jazzy phrasing will probably have you thinking Feist in fairly short order, but the Oregon indie-folk singer-songwriter has her own mesmerizing vibe going on - more the soundtrack to a sepia-toned Dust Bowl documentary than a contemporary Parisian café (or iPod commercial). Her unruffled songs - typically fashioned out of gently picked nylon-string guitar, dollops of piano, vibraphone, saw, and strings, and the occasional shuffling percussion - have a simultaneously soothing and mournful quality, like lullabies for the dying or peaceful transmissions from the afterlife.
FURTUREBIRDS @ LARIMER LOUNGE
Last year was fairly epic for Athens, Georgia's Futurebirds with the release of two EPs and hitting the road with acts like Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers and Grace Potter. Between going in and out of the studio working on the follow-up to 2010's Hampton's Lullaby, the band brings its high energy countrified rock to five Colorado cities, starting with two nights at the Larimer Lounge, the to the Fox Theater in Boulder, the Aggie Theatre in Ft. Collins, down to the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs and finishing with a two-night stand at Vail's Sandbar.