The ten best concerts in Denver this weekend
DEVOTCHKA & COLORADO SYMPHONY @ RED ROCKS | FRI, 6/14/13
Teaming up with an orchestra can sometimes be a thin attempt to disguise a creative lag, but in this case, the pairing has produced an inspired, brilliantly structured melding of two aesthetics that relies less on contrast than it does on similarities. With DeVotchKa's sentimental landscapes and the Symphony's climactic rises and powerful, sweeping descents, performances make for epic storytelling, bolstered with enough heart to afford the grand housing of so many instruments without sounding bombastic.
GETO BOYS @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | FRI, 6/14/13
When it comes to the history of hip-hop in the Dirty South, it begins with Geto Boys and their self-titled, Rick Rubin-produced debut. The group had existed, though with a different cast, since '86, but it wasn't until the turn of the decade -- when it got major distribution and released We Can't Be Stopped -- that the outfit turned heads on a national level. The Geto Boys' success was the blueprint for virtually any Southern hip-hop success story until the Dungeon Family featuring Goodie Mob and OutKast paved a different path mid-decade.
JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | SAT, 6/15/13
When someone writes an Omnibus history of underground rock music in America from the late 1980s forward, Jon Spencer should be one of the central figures of that story. He played with Tod Ashley in a noise-rock band called Shithaus before forming Pussy Galore, a raw and inspired garage-rock band, in 1985; that band spawned experimental rock band Royal Trux and the bluesy punk combo Boss Hog, both of which presaged some of today's more interesting garage-rockers. A seminal influence on the White Stripes, the Blues Explosion wrote music like it didn't recognize any barriers between punk, soul, blues, R&B and whatever other ingredient that it could add to its incendiary rock-and-roll cauldron. After an extended hiatus, the Blues Explosion put out 2012's Meat + Bone, and, as usual, there was absolutely no filler.
FITZ & THE TANTRUMS @ GOTHIC THEATRE | FRI, 6/14/13
Michael Fitzpatrick, the "Fitz" in this band's moniker, was a bit of a late bloomer. After graduating from college, Fitz worked as a sound engineer for several years in record producer Mickey Petralia's stable until one day when he randomly acquired a church organ. That led Fitz to write a song on the instrument, and that particular tune, "Breakin' the Chains of Love," revealed a knack for writing energetic, exuberant, soul-inflected pop-rock songs. Fitz then assembled a band, and within a week of its first rehearsal, the outfit played its first live show, and the rest, as they say, is history. The recently released More Than Just a Dream is a welcome reminder that rock, R&B and electronic pop need not be mutually exclusive creative inclinations.