The ten best concerts in Denver this weekend
DAVID BYRNE & ST VINCENT @ BOTANIC GARDENS CHATFIELD | 7/13
David Byrne and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) initially met at an AIDS/HIV benefit in 2009. But after they ran into each other at a collaborative performance between Björk and Dirty Projectors, it was suggested to Byrne that he should try his hand at something similar. The result was a set of songs that Byrne and Clark wrote while alternately working together in person and exchanging ideas and lyrics via e-mail.
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Calling the collected compositions Love This Giant, Byrne and Clark created music that perfectly threaded together the unique visions of each songwriter. The brass is played the way Clark generally writes -- angular, upbeat, flowing guitar riffs -- and the vocals are inflected with Byrne's nearly impressionistic cadence. Musically, the whole thing comes off like a funk marching band. This performance will include a Denver band backing the duo. To find out who, you're just going to have to go.
BRANDI CARLILE @ RED ROCKS | SAT, 7/13/13
Brandi Carlile has come a long way since she started singing backup for an Elvis impersonator at the age of sixteen. Starting with her self-titled debut in 2008, Carlile has gradually turned her pop and country roots into something more profound. That much is clear by the roster of musical legends who have signed up to work with her (2007's The Story was produced by T-Bone Burnett, and Rick Rubin produced 2009's Give Up the Ghost). A lot of that has to do with Carlile's voice, which features a delicate balance between sheer vocal power and subtle expressiveness. That combination has driven her output as a folk singer, as a chanteuse fronting symphony orchestras and as a vocal collaborator integrating the powerfully eerie harmonies of twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth (who co-produced 2012's Bear Creek).
RIDE FESTIVAL @ TELLURIDE TOWN PARK | SAT & SUN, 7/13-7/14
This weekend, the 2013 Ride Festival kicks off in the mountain village of Telluride with performances from Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, David Byrne and St. Vincent, Cake, Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt and more big names on the main stage throughout Saturday and Sunday.
RAILROAD EARTH @ RED ROCKS | FRI, 7/12/13
The music of Railroad Earth isn't easy to classify, although most people are happy to label it "jam band" and move on. Still reading? Good, because while there's definitely some "jamming" going on in the live show, this is not some guitar-noodling Phish knock-off. Bluegrass lies at the heart of Railroad Earth, but it's a wide-ranging, omnivorous strain that isn't afraid to ditch tradition and have some fun. As a result, you get all the banjo, fiddle and mandolin you'd expect, but it's fused with electric guitars and drums, and prone to weird tangents that might touch on anything from Celtic to jazz. It's a frequently surprising and relentlessly upbeat sound that's at its very best live, regardless of what you call it. (Railroad Earth is also appearing tomorrow night at the Boulder Theater.)