The ten best concerts in Denver this weekend
7. FRED HERSCH TRIO @ DAZZLE | THURS & FRI, 2/7-2/8
Early on in his career, pianist Fred Hersch played as a sideman to jazz legends like Joe Henderson, Art Farmer and Stan Getz in the late '70s. Since then, he's gone on to release a number of albums under his own name, while also proving that he's a masterful improviser. On his most recent effort, the two-disc Alive at the Vanguard, released last September on Palmetto, the five-time Grammy nominated pianist is in superb form running through new original compositions, as well as tunes by Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and Cole Porter.
6. VELVET ACID CHRIST @ CASSELMAN'S BAR & VENUE | SAT, 2/9/13
In 1990, Bryan Erickson started what would become Velvet Acid Christ with a few like-minded friends whose side and main projects had merged. Recalling early Death In June and Clan of Xymox, the act's debut effort, Fate, came across as the work of people capable of rapid reinvention. 1995's Neuralblastoma found the outfit incorporating urgent electronic percussion and a menacing undertone within the melancholic atmospheres of its music -- think Skinny Puppy, circa Too Dark Park. By 1996, Erickson was more or less helming the act alone, and acted as the primary songwriter until he went on hiatus in 2001 to transition into a healthier lifestyle. The time off didn't hurt. Last year, Erickson re-emerged with 2011 release Sounds of a Playground Fading, one of his strongest albums to date. Tomorrow night, Velvet Acid Christ performs live for the first time in over a decade.
5. BIG BOI @ BOULDER THEATER | SAT, 2/9
Legendary for his work with Andre 3000 as OutKast, Big Boi has gone solo, and he's making the most of his independence. Having lived somewhat in the shadow of Dre as the consensus second-best MC in rap's most beloved southern duo, with Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty and to a lesser extent Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Big Boi is making a run for the number one spot.