The best concerts in Denver this weekend
SAT | DENVER BLACK SKY at GOTHIC THEATRE | 12/14/13
December is a leaner month than usual for the number of metal shows. But quality more than makes up for quantity thanks to Denver Black Sky. This absolute must-see metal festival is being curated by Sherwood Webber, who, in addition to reconvening with his old band Skinless for the occasion, has put together an unbelievably brutal bill featuring Dying Fetus, Exhumed, Ghoul, Speedwolf, Power Trip, Mammoth Grinder, Call Of The Void, Reproacher, Weekend Nachos, Iron Reagan, Axeslasher, Primitive Man, Vimana, Of Feather And Bone, Native Daughters, Black Sleep Of Kali, Dead Temple and Flight Of Sleipnir.
FRI | THE HEAD AND THE HEART at OGDEN THEATRE | 12/13/13
The members of the Head and the Heart met while playing open-mic nights at a pub in the Old Ballard section of Seattle. The band -- which takes its name from the notion of following your passion and bliss, even when your logical mind is telling you to pursue a more sensible course in life -- writes earnest, hushed, folk-inflected pop songs that recall Déjà Vu-period Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The results are less rock-oriented, but no less well-crafted. Championed early on by Seattle's premier independent radio station, KEXP, the outfit was picked up by Sub Pop, which reissued its 2011 self-titled debut. On the group's latest effort, Let's Be Still, you can hear a tasteful hint of Gram Parsons's gentle soulfulness.
FRI & SAT | PATTERSON HOOD at LARIMER LOUNGE | 12/13-12/14
Once upon a time, Patterson Hood performed with the Drive-By Truckers at a burrito shop/dive bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Near the end of the set, someone in the audience bought tequila shots for the Truckers, and then another fan followed suit, and another, and another. This is the world that Hood's band inhabited circa 1999: Southern, fucked up, down for whatever. The Truckers released many damn-fine Southern-rock albums in the 2000s, and their profile increased considerably. But Hood apparently had something to say that he couldn't with his band -- hence the solo stuff. With lyrics dark enough for black metal and melodies that recall the Allman Brothers on a good day, Hood's non-Truckers output holds up exceedingly well on its own. His latest album, Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, is about as complicated and literary as the name implies.
FRI | RHETT MILLER at SOILED DOVE | 12/13/13
Being the prettiest man in alt-country ain't an easy row to hoe, but Rhett Miller has spent nearly twenty years wearing the distinction well. As the lead singer of the Old 97's, Miller was a poster boy for the nascent country-folk-rock scene of the early 1990s, a scene in which the band's esteemed contemporaries were Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks. The three acts fit a similar pattern, employing painfully up-front lyrics -- often about heartbreak, whiskey and the working class -- and heaps of acoustic guitars. Miller's solo career began in 2002 with The Instigator. That album showcased the singer venturing beyond shitkicker anthems and embracing a more pop-oriented style. And that's not a dig: If anything, the fact that Miller's still writing great lyrics and maintaining the same quality as he did with the Old 97's just makes the new stuff all the more interesting.