The ten best concerts in Denver this weekend
CHUCK RAGAN @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | SAT, 4/13/13
Chuck Ragan first made his mark as the frontman of Hot Water Music, one of the more highly influential punk acts to emerge in the '90s. Fueled by youthful exuberance and inspired in part by the music that surrounding the skateboarding culture of the time, the band was loud and aggressive, yet there was still an undeniable vulnerability built into the band's sound that had a broader appeal than its component parts could alone. Toward the middle part of the last decade when that band went on hiatus (it has since reconvened), Ragan ventured off on his own and applied his gravelly baritone to songs with more of a country and folk flavor. Here he appears solo on the Revival Tour with Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, Rocky Votolato, Dave Hause and Jenny O.
- Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music on finally being able to record at the Blasting Room
- Chuck Ragan on touring solo with Social Distortion
- Concert at Governor's Mansion to be broadcast live to benefit Mike Marchant
JON WIRTZ (CD RELEASE) @ SOILED DOVE UNDERGROUND | SAT, 4/13/13
While Jon Wirtz has lent his piano and keyboard skills to a variety of singer-songwriters, from Matt Morris to Angie Stevens to John Common, he's also a fine jazz player, as evidenced on his stunning 2010 solo piano debut, Sea Level. There are elements of jazz on Tourist (which he'll celebrate the release of tonight), and Wirtz surrounds himself with some first-rate jazz players like bassist John Grigsby and drummer Alejandro Castano, but the disc also shows what a versatile player and songwriter he is in his own right. Songs like "Gratitude" are steeped in gospel, while "Camouflage for a Sunny Day" is centered on an unhurried groove, and the title track feels somewhat like the Travels-era Pat Metheny Group. Although Wirtz and company even toss in bits of country, R&B and funk, the album, as a whole, manages to be both cohesive and compelling.
SOUL ASYLUM @ GOTHIC THEATRE | 4/13/13
Although long in the shadow of scenemates Hüsker Dü and the Replacements, Soul Asylum ended up being the most commercially successful of the three. Early on, the act was derisively dubbed Hüsker Jr. by certain critics primarily because its early records seemed to imitate Hüsker Dü's high-trajectory melodic hardcore. But by the time 1988's Hang Time was released, Soul Asylum had crafted a sound that would make the band famous. Singer Dave Pirner's just-shy-of-whiny vocal delivery and insidiously tasteful and catchy guitar riffing earned critical praise and an increasing fan base. With 1992's ubiquitous Grave Dancer's Union, Soul Asylum owned rock radio, and anyone within earshot of a boombox back then heard "Runaway Train" and its plaintive yet sincere chorus whether they wanted to or not.
THE GREYBOY ALLSTARS @ CERVANTES' | FRI & SAT, 4/12-4/13
The Greyboy Allstars first came together in 1993 for the release of DJ Greyboy's Freestylin'. Greyboy (aka Andreas Stevens) wanted to have a live band play tracks from the album at his release party, so he assembled a group made up of saxophonist Karl Denson, who had played on the record, guitarist Elgin Park, drummer Zak Najor, bassist Chris Stillwell and keyboardist Robert Walter. The players eventually started writing their own material, which was heavily influenced by organ-driven soul jazz from the '60s. In 1997, Denson and Walter took a break from touring and recording to pursue other successful projects. Nearly a decade later, the act came back with What Happened to TV?. Next week, the band will release Inland Emperor, so expect some new material during the Allstars' the two-night stand.