The best concerts to see in Denver this week
KVELERTAK @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 4/30/13
With a name that translates roughly to "stranglehold" in Norwegian, this sextet has spent the last six years cultivating a sound that feels like a mixture of black metal and the Stooges, Cave In and Converge. Fittingly, the frontman of that last act, Kurt Ballou, produced Kvelertak's latest album, 2013's Meier, which bears artwork from a like-minded musician, Baroness's John Baizley. With an oddly and refreshingly balanced combination of rawness, melody and heaviness -- not to mention aggression and psychedelia -- Kvelertak also manages to invoke an American Southern-rock vibe without beating that retro aesthetic into the ground. With songs propelled by a momentum that's broken only by moments of lingering atmospherics, like the eye of a storm, this outfit sways as much as it rocks.
BILL FRISELL @ DAZZLE | MON & TUES, 4/29-4/30
While Bill Frisell has no problem filling up large venues like the Boulder Theater, the former Denver resident has also performed at few times at more intimate spots like Dazzle over the last couple of years with Ron Miles and Brian Blade, as well as with his former instructor, Longmont-based guitarist Dale Bruning. This time around, Frisell is joined by drummer Rudy Royston, who was raised in Denver, and violist Eyvind Kang. Both players appeared on Frisell's 2010 release, Beautiful Dreamers. Frisell and Kang have collaborated a number of times since Frisell's 1996 Quartet album, so expect some forward thinking interplay between the two.
DARUDE @ THE CHURCH | FRI, 5/3/13
Finnish dance-music producer Ville Virtanen, better known as Darude, scored a giant hit with his first release "Sandstorm," a track that's sold close to two million units worldwide since its release. While he's never managed to replicate the success of that initial monster track, he's managed to carve out a respectable niche for himself among the world's top trance producers and DJs. His third artist album, Label This!, was released earlier this year.
HAR MAR SUPERSTAR @ HI-DIVE | WEDS, 5/1/13
In the '90s, Sean Tillman performed in both noise-rock band Calvin Krime and the more pop-oriented Sean Na Na while still a teenager in the Minneapolis area. Around the turn of this century, he created Har Mar Superstar, a bombastic hip-hop/R&B persona that delivers suitably single-entendre lyrics. The act is elevated by genuinely clever crafting and songs that result in a sort of high-concept-comedy performance art. While Tillman's shtick plays like the brilliant post-"film" career of a charismatic ex-porn star, he has undeniable singing ability and pop sensibilities; he's even purportedly penned songs for Jennifer Lopez and Kelly Osbourne. On his latest album, Bye Bye 17, Har Mar Superstar continues to turn what would otherwise be cheese into glittery pop perfection.