The best concerts to see in Denver this weekend
FRI | THE NAKED AND FAMOUS at FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 10/18/13
Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith formed this pop outfit in 2008 and recorded two EPs with future keyboard player Aaron Short when the three were students at the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand in Auckland. Taking its name from Tricky's "Tricky Kid," the Naked and Famous isn't exactly what you'd call trip-hop. The group's effervescent melodies and breezy, upbeat dynamics are more akin to the likes of M83 and Cut Copy. Although Short wasn't originally a member of the live band, he served as an integral part of its sound in the role of producer. The act's debut album, 2010's Passive Me, Aggressive You, garnered critical praise for its expansive energy and diverse songwriting. This year's followup, In Rolling Waves, was a more sonically dense and coherent batch of songs that actualized the promise of the act's debut effort.
FRI | PORTUGAL. THE MAN at BOULDER THEATER | 10/18/13
Alaska-bred Portugal. The Man may be the weirdest band to spring from last decade's post-hardcore scene. Formed by singer/guitarist John Gourley and bassist Zack Carothers after the demise of Anatomy of a Ghost, Portugal quickly became the oddest band on the screamo package tours -- thanks to Gourley's slinky vocals and quirky atmospheric songwriting style, a hybrid of everything from indie pop to psychedelic rock to smooth '70s soul. (Portugal. The Man is also due at the Ogden Theatre tomorrow night, Saturday, October 19.)
SAT | THE BAD PLUS at ORIENTAL THEATER | 10/19/13
In the thirteen years since the Bad Plus has been together, the adventurous jazz trio has included cover songs on each of its recordings. Bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King have deconstructed and reimagined cuts by everyone from the Pixies and Nirvana to Bowie and Blondie. For All I Care, which featured vocalist Wendy Lewis, comprised mostly covers. But while the Bad Plus guys can turn other people's songs inside out and make them their own, they're each damn fine composers and virtuosic players in their own right -- as evidenced on earlier discs like These Are the Vistas, Give and Prog, but especially on 2010's Never Stop, the acts's first album made up entirely of original compositions. While Never Stop was a bold collection of ten originals that reflect the unit's fearless playing style, last year's Made Possible (also mainly originals) was equally as absorbing.
See also: The Bad Plus makes good on Made Possible
SAT | TODD SNIDER at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 10/19/13
Todd Snider is one of America's most gifted storytellers. The songwriter, who first gained notice in the mid-'90s with the song "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues," writes the kind of songs that can cut you to the bone and make you laugh at the same time. He has a knack for exploring and expressing the human condition with incisive commentary best captured on albums like 2004's East Nashville Skyline and 2012's Agnostic Hmyns & Stoner Fables, one of his finest releases to date.