The ten best shows in Denver this weekend
FIVE IRON FRENZY @ OGDEN THEATRE | SAT, 8/17/13
Five Iron Frenzy began life in 1995 as the side project of a long-forgotten thrash-metal-and-industrial band called Exhumator. Ahead of the ska revival of the mid-'90s, Exhumator's members wanted to play music that was inherently fun, positive and uplifting. Two years later, Five Iron Frenzy landed on the Billboard charts with 1997's Our Newest Album Ever!. The group's self-deprecating humor and infectious energy won over fans locally, nationally and internationally. While technically a Christian act, the band always gave off more of a welcoming vibe than a judgmental one, and the sheer exuberance of its live show has always been undeniably entertaining. Back after nearly a decade, Five Iron has lost none of its Frenzy.
PRETTY LIGHTS @ RED ROCKS | FRI & SAT, 8/16-8/17
Returning to the Mile High City for his now-annual two-night run at Red Rocks, Pretty Lights maestro Derek Vincent Smith is bringing an album's worth of new music and a talented cast of characters to entertain the hometown crowd. On Friday, Pretty Lights will be illuminated by hip-hop companions Talib Kweli and Blue Sky Black Death, and on Saturday, August 17, a roster of hand-picked artists form the Pretty Lights Music imprint will get their chance to shine. Smith will undoubtedly be playing cuts from his acclaimed new record, A Color Map of the Sun, in addition to digging deep into his back catalogue for a choice blend of groove-driven tracks.
CHARLES BRADLEY @ LARIMER LOUNGE | SAT, 8/17/13
Prior to being discovered by Gabe Roth of Daptone Records, who released his superb 2011 debut, No Time for Dreaming, Charles Bradley spent a good chunk of his time impersonating James Brown in Brooklyn clubs. Bradley delved into some fairly dark themes on Dreaming, including heartbreak and the death of his brother, but the followup, this year's Victim of Love, is all about coming out of that darkness. Bradley is also performing at this weekend's Rocky Mountain Folks Festival.
CULTIVATE FESTIVAL @ CITY PARK | SAT, 8/17/13
Cultivate Denver is a free shindig that features a bunch of lauded chefs along with performances by Cold War Kids, Blitzen Trapper, Allen Stone, Air Dubai, Good Old War and Chris Golub. Last year's event was pretty rad. In addition to good tunes, we got some coupons for some free burritos and drank some microbrews. Downside: It was late fall, so it ended up being soggy and kind of cold. Zero chance of the weather dampening things this year; City Park in August is a lot different than City Park in October.