The 25 best concerts this winter/spring
5. MACKLEMORE/WINTER ON THE ROCKS @ RED ROCKS | FRI, 2/1/13
Winter on the Rocks is slated to return to Red Rocks for its second year. While the inaugural edition of the frozen fiesta featured Atmosphere, Common, Grieves + Budo, the next Winter on the Rocks features Westword Music Showcase 2012 alums Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (with Major Lazer, the Grouch & Eligh). All Macklemore has to do is pose dramatically to induce the same frenzied reaction from an audience that a slightly lesser MC would draw with their signature song. Granted, a very sizable portion of the audience at his last show at the Ogden comprised easily riled high school girls, but that should truly take nothing away from the fact that the stories he tells are utterly compelling, and his performance was not one iota short of exhilarating. His stories are deeply personal, universally relatable and delivered with such poignancy that it becomes impossible not to be moved.
4. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE @ OGDEN THEATRE | FRI, 3/22/13
The "collective" part of Animal Collective's name is meant literally. Although the group is built around a core quartet -- Avey Tare, Geologist, Deakin and Panda Bear -- the musicians play and record in assorted configurations; some tracks feature just one of them, while others include all four. From crafting rambling quasi-drone songs that pit intricate guitar arpeggios against feverish singing/shrieking to warped alien lullabies, the outfit has beguiled many a critic with its Collective insanity.
3. ALABAMA SHAKES @ OGDEN THEATRE | SAT, 3/9/13
A number of bands are returning to a Southern-rock sound these days, but much of the music they're making is too derivative to be interesting. Alabama Shakes, fresh off a date warming up for Neil Young, bucks that trend. The group's members, who met in high school and forged the kind of personal bond that shines through in the music, don't sound like they went back and mined their parents' record collections in an effort to emulate some bygone glory days. Instead, singer and guitarist Brittany Howard sings with an impassioned believability that sounds like she has experienced a fuller life than her young years could hope to contain. Her earthy vocals and the band's solid, vibrant musicianship are both remarkable for their emotional depth. The band's 2012 album, Boys & Girls, captures a taste of its soul-driven rock, but it's best experienced live.
2. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS @ OGDEN THEATRE | WEDS, 4/3/13
Nick Cave may be one of the more disciplined songwriters in the business (he usually spends six days a week working in his office), but he's been especially prolific in recent years, finding time to pen the remarkable two-disc Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus set, score a few films with fellow Bad Seeds violinist Warren Ellis and write two albums worth of material for the Bad Seeds side project Grinderman, which he pulled the plug on last year. Cave and the Bad Seeds return to the Ogden in support of Push the Sky Away, the band's first album without founding member Mick Harvey, who left the band in 2009.
1.RODRIGUEZ @ OGDEN THEATRE | TUES, 4/30/13
If you're familiar with the name Sixto Rodriguez (aka Rodriguez), it's likely due to his story, which is told in the award-winning film Searching for Sugar Man. A singer-songwriter from Detroit of fleeting renown, Rodriguez was a mostly an unknown quantity in his home country. After releasing a pair of critically acclaimed albums in the early '70s, Rodriguez essentially drifted off into obscurity where he remained for the better part of two decades. Elsewhere, however, in places like South Africa and Australia, Rodriguez's music formed the soundtrack for a generation -- who wrongly assumed he was passed. Sugar Man shines the light on a talent that has been criminally and woefully overlooked for years.
1. MORRISSEY @ TEMPLE BUELL | THURS, 2/21/13
Morrissey continues to be just as cynical, urgent and dandytastic today as he was at any point in his career. In fact, his voice has only gained a salt-and-pepper-grey aged wisdom in the decades since his years with The Smiths -- and the fact that he's gained a bit of a spare-tire-around-the-waist and chicken-waddle about the neck only makes his songs about rejection and self-loathing all the more believable. And his toying with our heart-strings by scheduling and canceling dates like a teenage-tease (this February appearance is a reschedule from last November) only makes us long for him all the more.