The ten best shows in Denver this week
TUES | THE NATIONAL/LOCAL NATIVES at RED ROCKS | 9/17/13
After finishing their tour in support of 2010's High Violet, the members of the National didn't have any immediate plans to record again. But guitarist Aaron Dessner, whose daughter had just been born, ended up with a lot of time on his hands. He began writing songs in his backyard studio and giving them to singer Matt Berninger, and, next thing they knew, they'd written an album -- Trouble Will Find Me.
TUES | MUSE at PEPSI CENTER | 9/17/13
Not since late-'70s Queen, to whom Muse owes a hefty sonic debt, has anyone made radio-friendly rock as ambitious, eclectic, escapist and just plain epic as this English trio. On last year's The 2nd Law, they meld ostensibly incongruous elements including dubstep's ominous electronica, Freddie Mercury's strutting camp, masturbatory prog guitars and frontman Matthew Bellamy's Darkness-worthy falsetto into a thoughtfully orgasmic, emotionally overloaded opus. Now a full-blown Brit institution -- their song "Survival" served as the official song for last year's London Olympics -- and remarkably unfettered by their limited numbers (though augmented with a keyboardist/percussionist onstage), Muse craft live shows as fascinating and challenging as their recordings, consistently leaving the impression that something much more significant than mere notes and beats just happened.
FRI | THE WEEKND at 1STBANK CENTER | 9/20/13
In 2010, Abel Tesfaye, a Canadian songwriter who makes music under the name the Weeknd, met producer Jeremy Rose and recorded a handful of tracks. Later that year, Tesfaye uploaded the tunes to YouTube and ended up attracting a famous champion in Drake, a fellow musician from the Great White North. In 2012, exactly three mixtapes and a guest spot at Drake's second annual OVO Fest later, the Weeknd played Coachella and various other festivals around the world. "Wicked Games," the Weeknd's most well-known track, is a kind of downtempo R&B song that, while overtly (and perhaps crassly) sexual in theme, suggests that Tesfaye may be having one over on the kind of listener that takes things at face value. If so, the Weeknd's output is essentially an artistic cousin to Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine's darkly evocative film.
MON | KID CUDI / TYLER, THE CREATOR at RED ROCKS | 9/16/13
Kid Cudi headlines this all-star lineup fresh off the release of his recent, polarizing release, Indicud. Though his decision to self-produce has rubbed some the wrong way, he remains one of the premier hook men in the rap game. Tyler, the Creator is no less intriguing, having incited "riot situations" in Boulder the last time he was here. He's only 22, but with his experience leading the Odd Future collective, Tyler is simultaneously a veteran and a greenhorn; his latest release, Wolf, was his most mature and refined to date. Throw in Three 6 Mafia founder Juicy J and young gun Logic, plus the most awesome outdoor venue in the country, and this show is a definite must-see.