Denver's ten best Memorial Day weekend shows

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Shawn Brackbrill

THE HEAD AND THE HEART @ MAGNESS ARENA | SAT, 5/25/13
Formed in Seattle in 2009, this project started out playing open mics and within a year after playing countless shows, the Head and the Heart independently released its debut album. The band, whose self-titled album came out on Sub Pop in 2011, is a vibrant live act that still retains its homespun charm, with shades of Nick Drake and Cat Stevens haunting the edges of its melodies. (Catch the Head and the Heart at MusicFest 2013 at the University of Denver, with Mayer Hawthorne, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, PLACES and Vetta Star.)

See also:
- Nathaniel Rateliff reinvents himself, does some soul-searching with the Night Sweats
- Folk-friendly foursome Dawes is collecting both attention and influences
- The Who at Pepsi Center, with Vintage Trouble, 2/12/13

NATHANIEL RATELIFF & NIGHT SWEATS @ MISHAWAKA | FRI, 5/24/13
At this stage of his career, particularly in Denver, Nathaniel Rateliff is a man who requires absolutely no preamble -- his reputation precedes him. Nonetheless, this limited-edition two-song seven-inch (produced in honor of Record Store Day) feels like a fresh and glorious reintroduction to a songwriter we all thought we knew. Although Rateliff has one of the most silken voices around, on these vintage-flavored, horn-bolstered soul songs, he sings with a fervent abandon that adds an unexpected but completely gratifying layer of depth and expressiveness. It's a good thing he's made these songs available digitally; otherwise, the grooves of this vinyl would be so worn from repeated listens that the already lo-fi-sounding recording would seem even more roughed up. Can hardly wait to hear what Rateliff does next with this gem of a project. Catch Rateliff and company with Dawes.

DAWES @ GOTHIC THEATRE | SUN, 5/26/13
You could say Dawes is a little folky, a little country, a little Americana. But the California quartet is also just stripped down cool, playing the autobiographical musings of Taylor Goldsmith -- founder, singer and principal songwriter for Dawes. Along with Sera Cahoone, Dawes brings its slow swagger to the Gothic tonight.

VINTAGE TROUBLE @ 16TH STREET MALL | SAT, 5/25/13
When Vintage Trouble opened for the Who at the Pepsi Center this past February, it was the kind of soul and R&B-inflected rock and roll band that should be opening for those self-styled exemplars of "Maximum R&B." Ty Taylor cut a charismatic figure who had no trouble coming down into the crowd off the stage at the Pepsi Center -- something very few performers ever seem to do. His vocals had a kind of gospel vibe to them, and his rage as a singer set him apart from many that try their hand at the kind of blues rock and soul thing, making what was already a solid set of music even more compelling. For its part, Vintage Trouble played like it owned the room, and for its roughly half-hour set, it didn't make you wonder when the heck the Who were coming on. (Catch Vintage Trouble at Denver Day of Rock with Fishbone, Lee Bice, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers and more.)



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