The ten best concerts in Denver this week
5. RAS KASS @ ORIENTAL THEATER | THU, 2/28
What can you say about Ras Kass? You either love him, hate him or have no idea who he is. His debut,Soul on Ice, is a certified classic in the West Coast underground, anchored by the eight-minute revisionist epic "Nature of the Threat" and "Sonset," an indictment of New York hip-hop bias during the '90s. Accusations of racism and label disputes grounded Ras's career almost before it began, but when he's on, he is as intelligent and bold a rapper as you'll find, as evidenced by mind-bending tracks like "Interview With a Vampire." (GeedUp, ThaNumberTwo, Nasa, Victory Smoke, Dre Future, Whygee, Anxious Baby and Tre-Substance Abuse are also on this bill.)
4. DARWIN DEEZ @ LARIMER LOUNGE | THURS, 2/28/13
Darwin Smith, like certain prominent musicians on the indie circuit of recent years, once attended Wesleyan University. Either there's an alien virus on campus that imparts a knack for an inventively catchy pop song, or it's pure coincidence. As part of the band Darwin Deez, Smith and his Deez-surnamed compatriots first came to the attention of listeners outside their home town for the single "Constellations." But it was "Radar Detector" and its eccentrically amusing video that broke the group to wider audiences. With a guitar sound like one of those early '80s mod bands and an R&B aesthetic akin to that of the Dismemberment Plan, Darwin Deez manages to embrace a borderline awkward earnestness without trying to make a virtue of a false weirdness it doesn't possess.