The ten best concerts in Denver this week
4. YOUTH BRIGADE @ SUMMIT MUSIC | WEDS, 2/20/13
Formed in 1980, Youth Brigade played shows with hardcore bands, but its music didn't focus on speed or brutality. Instead, the Stern brothers wrote songs that addressed the concerns of conscious young men of the day, like existential angst and criticizing a power-mad government vastly streamlining society in favor of the wealthy. The Sterns also put their ideals into establishing the Better Youth Organization in an attempt to combat the image of punk-rockers as violent, nihilistic, aimless rebels. With a national BYO tour, documented in the film Another State of Mind, the Brigade didn't exactly change the world, but it did inspire a generation of punk-rockers afterward. With the current decade feeling like déjà vu for anyone who lived through the '80s as a teenager, Youth Brigade seems somehow as relevant as ever.
3. CAM'RON @ CERVANTES' | THU. 2/21
Cam'ron first came into the rap scene as a part of the Children of the Corn crew with Big L and Ma$e as Killa Cam. Upon their breakup in 1997, he helped found Dipset with Jim Jones and later Juelz Santana. Cam reached his commercial peak in 2002 with Come Home With Me, which included the singles "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma," but his best album, Purple Haze, came two years later.
2. THE RUBY SUNS @ HI-DIVE | WEDS, 2/20/13
The Ruby Suns are one of those bands with a pitch-perfect name. The Auckland, New Zealand-rooted trio's worldly indie pop exudes both an exotic magnetism (like their preferred gemstone) and a soothing warmth (like the sort generated by a giant floating fireball). At the group's center is Ryan McPhun, a sonic architect whose appetite for ambition is what makes the Suns' sounds so rich. The act's 2008 platter, Sea Lion, was inspired by McPhun carrying a Dictaphone around on treks through Africa, Thailand and his native country, culminating in a goulash that contained calypso, surf pop and Hawaiian music among its far-flung ingredients. The band's 2010 album, Fight Softly, meanwhile, housed sugary psych-electro, tribal chants, pop and R&B influenced by Prince and Phil Collins. Christopher, the Ruby Suns' January release and fourth record, continues Fight Softly's '80s pop tendencies with fewer experimental elements, but, knowing McPhun, it's only a matter of time before he's scouting strange, fresh terrain again.