The best concerts to see in Denver this week
WEDS | NINE INCH NAILS at 1STBANK CENTER | 11/13/13
After what had originally been billed as the band's retirement in 2009, Nine Inch Nails returned from the dead this year to release a new album, Hesitation Marks. The project received a mixed response from fans and critics: Some bemoaned the smoother edges of the act's sound, which has arguably lost some of the drug-fueled, nihilistic industrial aesthetic displayed on earlier records, while some heard new cuts such as "Came Back Haunted" and still clearly recognized the sonic footprint of era-defining musical innovator Trent Reznor. The tour thus far has offered up new material along with updated takes on older tunes, but even purists can't deny that the band's live show remains as powerful as previous incarnations. Added bonus: Explosions In the Sky and Sleeping with Sirens are slated to open this show.
MON | THE BLACK CROWES at BOULDER THEATER |11/11/13
In the late '80s, many young musicians were embracing the myth of the '60s. In 1989, the Black Crowes (also due three nights at the Ogden Theatre on Wednesday, November 13, Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16) emerged from that cultural backdrop with a bluesy, '70s-hard-rock edge and jangle-inflected improvisational inclinations, presaging virtually every element of the most recent wave of classic-rock revisionism. Their debut album, 1990's Shake Your Money Maker, was a massive success on the strength of the band's take on the Otis Redding staple "Hard to Handle." Famously tumultuous interband dynamics notwithstanding, the Crowes have persevered -- partly because they grew into a great rock-and-roll band, and partly because there is no denying the charisma and wit of frontman Chris Robinson.
FRI | DELTRON 3030 at BOOM FESTIVAL, 1STBANK CENTER | 11/15/13
Deltron 3030 isn't so much a group or an album as it is a mode of thought, and there are few hip-hop albums (or albums of any genre, for that matter) with the cinematic quality of this act's self-titled debut. Dan the Automator created deeply textured and darkly evocative soundscapes, aided by Kid Koala's turntablism, as a backdrop for Teren Delvon Jones (aka Del tha Funkee Homosapien, aka Deltron Zero) to tell the tale of how he becomes Galactic Rhyme Federation Champion. Similar to Dan the Automator's earlier work with Kool Keith, Dr. Octagonecologyst, but more coherent and accessible, this album proved that hip-hop could successfully travel to a place that only geeks had gone before: Silly non sequiturs, outer space fantasy and ridiculous characters all became fair game, and so did the out-crowd that relished them. Deltron 3030 returns to Denver with a new album, Event 2, as part of the Boom Festival, which is being headlined by Excision and features Funtcase, Cookie Monsta and more.
TUES | STEVE AOKI at OGDEN THEATRE | 11/12/13
As founder of the now-famous DimMak record label, Steve Aoki has built his dance party into an empire. Pulling nearly every hard working act in pop music on board, his tracks all focus around one idea, and that is to make sure your ass is partying. His live show antics range from paddling through the crowd on a raft, tossing cake into the screaming audience, and stage diving right into the heart of the party. Essentially, Aoki helped usher in the hyper party of a concert, but his electro-house music alone can keep you sweating well into the night.
FRI | NAS at SOGNAR'S SHREDDED BEATS, CERVANTES | 11/15/13
Though he is a legend in most every rap fan's book, Nas suffers an inescapable qualifier of his own making: the inability to escape the shadow of his legendary debut. This had even led some to label Nas overrated, saying the rest of his work is only weak in comparison to his greatest. It's clear that no rapper could have adequately followed Illmatic because the album remains, to this day, hip-hop's greatest, most perfect treasure. And even if he hasn't made another classic album, per se, Nas has earned plenty of other accolades that would make a lesser rapper's career.