The 25 best concerts this winter/spring
15. CYPRESS HILL @ RED ROCKS | SAT, 4/20/13
Colorado is a pretty progressive state when it comes to smoking marijuana. There are hundreds of dispensaries centers that will sell the kush to anyone with the appropriate credentials. Still, it was pretty audacious for the members of Cypress Hill to light up a monumental bong on-stage and what looked like the joint from Pineapple Express at Mile High Music Festival a few years ago -- two and a half years before it was even legal in this state. So it's only fitting (and obvious) that Cypress Hill was one of the acts tapped to perform at the inaugural 420 on the Rocks concert with fellow aficionados Slightly Stoopid.
14. FURTHUR @ 1STBANK CENTER | FRI-SUN, 2/22-2/24
Break out the tie-dye hoodie and slip a pair of socks on with those Birkenstocks: Furthur is coming back to town. Like bottles of wine, guitarist Bob Weir and bass master Phil Lesh seem to get better and better with age. Since the end of the Grateful Dead proper in 1995, the two have kept the band's music going strong through various musical projects, and Furthur is the best of the bunch. (Furthur is also due at the Ogden Theatre on Thursday, February 21.)
13. RUSKO @ OGDEN THEATRE | FRI, 4/12/13
Born in Leeds, England as Christopher Mercer, Rusko has become one of the most sought-after dubstep producers in recent years. He inherited a love of music from his mother, a folk and country singer who performed in a band called Ventura Highway. She stopped being an active musician when he was still an infant, but being around guitars his entire life left a mark on Rusko, who learned how to play at a young age and who used two small tape recorders to record songs, radio shows and other sounds to fuel his creativity. Rusko later attended the University of Leeds in the college of music, and that's when he focused his efforts on beat-making.
12. RAILROAD EARTH @ OGDEN THEATRE | FRI-SUN, 1/18-1/20
The music of Railroad Earth isn't easy to classify, although most people will be happy to label it "jam band" and move on. Still reading? Good, because while there's definitely some "jamming" going on in the live show, this is not some guitar-noodling Phish knock-off. Bluegrass lies at the heart of Railroad Earth, but it's a wide-ranging, omnivorous strain of bluegrass that isn't afraid to ditch tradition and have some fun. As a result, you get all the banjo, fiddle and mandolin you'd expect, fused with electric guitars and drums and prone to weird tangents that might touch on anything from Celtic to jazz. It's a frequently surprising and relentlessly upbeat sound that's at its very best live, regardless of what you call it. (Railroad kicks off its three-night stand at the Ogden this Friday, January 18)
11. DISCO BISCUITS @ 1STBANK CENTER | SAT, 1/26/13
Fresh off their Mayan Holidaze run in Mexico, the Disco Biscuits brings their Winter Inferno to Colorado for three nights of laserific goodness (the outfit is also due at the Boulder Theater on Thursday, January 24, and at the Ogden Theatre on Friday, January 26). Nearing its second decade of existence, the Philadelphia-based act has finally settled in the role as one of the most sought after jam bands still touring. When the quintet, who is known for improvised renditions of their own complex songs, steps on stage, you never know if the journey is going to find the group exploring the depths of its creativity or wandering its seemingly endless catalog of studio gems. Adding Colorado's GRiZ and Michal Menert to the culminating third night of Winter Inferno, the Biscuits are set to kick 2013 off right with the most rabid fan base the group has ever seen.