The best concerts in Denver this weekend
FRI-SUN | MURDER BY DEATH at STANLEY HOTEL | 1/17-1/19
When Murder by Death first formed in Bloomington, Indiana, nearly fifteen years ago under the name Little Joe Gould, the outfit was somewhat of an anomaly, as the whole chamber-pop phenomenon hadn't happened yet -- and wouldn't for another five years. But the act, as would later become evident, wasn't afraid of swimming upstream. In the ensuing years, Murder by Death often bridged the gap between punk and indie rock, essentially building its name playing the same underground-music circuit as hardcore bands. It didn't really matter if the group's sound fit that milieu or not; the members of Murder by Death had no problem winning folks over with their spirited live shows. In a stroke of inspired booking, Murder by Death is performing three shows at the Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's The Shining.
SUN | PINK at PEPSI CENTER | 1/19/14
Pink has spent the last decade and a half mastering the persona of an outspoken pop star, setting her brand of punky feminism to an accessible, danceable beat. Originally presented as more of an R&B crooner on her 2000 debut, Can't Take Me Home, Pink has since stretched her stylistic scope, expanding into the realms of club bangers and rock standards. This evolution has also allowed her to visually reinvent herself, her blonde-bombshell and rosy-faux-hawk looks becoming as iconic as her voice. Pink's most recent release, 2012's The Truth About Love, plays on her strengths as a balladeer -- the killer "Just Give Me a Reason" smartly pairs her with Fun.'s Nate Ruess -- and she remains candid on the lyrics front, never holding back the fearless commentary on her relationships. Pink may be known for her polished pop tracks, but a deeper look reveals a vocalist who's been bringing intelligence and emotion to the Billboard charts for a long time.
FRI & SAT | JOHN DOE at LION'S LAIR | 1/17-1/18
John Doe started the band X in 1977 with Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake and wrote some of the most vivid portraits of American life penned in the annals of punk rock. Combining country and punk, X couldn't be said to be in the traditional punk mold while also being directly influenced by The Ramones. As a solo artist, John Doe has written music in a more singer-songwriter vein but with the same ability to highlight the poetic aspects of the dark edges of culture and a hopeful romanticism that doesn't wax into the naïve or melodramatic. In 2011, he wrote an excellent collaborative album with former Colorado-based singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, A Day At The Pass, as well as his latest record, Keeper.
FRI & SAT | RAILROAD EARTH at FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 1/17-1/18
Roots Americana newgrass sextet Railroad Earth from Stillwater, New Jersey, continues touring heavily and building a strong fan base here, this time taking over the Fillmore for a night of acoustic genre blending; jazz, rock, bluegrass and even Celtic music all come into play in the group's sound. The live shows are full of improvisation and instrumental prowess, and openers Head for the Hills from Fort Collins holds its own with upbeat, fast-paced bluegrass originals and covers like Talking Head's "Life During Wartime."