The ten best concerts to see in Denver this week
SHABAZZ PALACES @ LARIMER LOUNGE | MON, 5/6/13
In the first half of the '90s, Ishmael Butler went by the moniker "Butterfly" as part of the rap trio Digable Planets. After the outfit's 1995 split, the group performed one-off shows here and there, but since 2009, Butler has released music with Tendai Maraire under the name Shabazz Palaces. Instead of completely ditching the jazz proclivities of the Planets, Butler and Maraire have combined that style with a broad sonic palette that includes samples, traditional African rhythms, dub and electronic melodies and textures. It doesn't hurt that Maraire is the son of Dumisani Maraire, best known for bringing the music of Zimbabwe to North America. In fusing exotic sounds and inventive collage composition, Shabazz Palaces has created an electro-organic dance music steeped in an alchemy of the traditional and the postmodern.
- Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces on staying current, Quincy Jones and Miles Davis
- Zac Brown Band's Jimmy de Martini on going from an airport shuttle to eight tour buses
- Alex Edkins of Metz on making music that seems like it's about to fall apart
ZAC BROWN BAND @ RED ROCKS | WEDS - FRI, 5/8-5/10
Compared to airbrushed, frosted-bang pretty boys like the ones in Rascal Flatts, Atlanta's Zac Brown Band looks like it came straight to Nashville from a bare-knuckled dustup with the Kentucky Headhunters. However, the strand of Southern rock that Brown and company are most steeped in is the free-form Widespread Panic variety; their high harmonies and pickin' skills also make them one of the most bluegrass-sounding acts to make serious Music City inroads since either Alison Krauss or Ricky Skaggs. This is a group of good ol' boys, albeit modern ones.
THE APPLESEED CAST @ HI-DIVE | WEDS, 5/8/13
Since making their first appearance in Denver in the late '90s, the members of the Appleseed Cast have grown immensely. Back then, on stage at the Market Street Lounge (a club that was attached to the Old Chicago in LoDo), they were fresh-faced young men from Lawrence, Kansas, playing a serviceable brand of emo. At the time, that sound had been pretty well trod by bands like Sunny Day Real Estate -- an early inspiration for the act, whose original handle was December's Tragic Drive. Over the course of eight albums, led ably by frontman Christopher Crisci and guitarist Aaron Pillar, the Appleseed Cast has steadily grown into a band of progressive post-rock auteurs. There's a good amount of gray in Crisci's beard these days, but like his group, he's aged quite admirably, as evidenced by Illumination Ritual, the Appleseed Cast's latest release.
METZ @ HI-DIVE | TUES, 5/7/13
This Toronto trio emerged in 2008 and did what more bands in this day and age should: It developed its music and overall aesthetic, then turned the results into songs that the band actually seems excited to play. Sure, the noise-rock roots from the '80s and '90s are there, and you're sure to hear echoes of Scratch Acid, Big Black, maybe even Arab on Radar in the band's distorted, contorted melodies, but there's also a heady drive to Metz's rhythms (it's there in the live setting, as well) that borders on hysteria. The band's 2012 debut on Sub Pop, produced in part by Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck, seethes with an unhinged nervous energy that hasn't been heard nearly enough of late.