The best concerts to see in Denver this weekend
FRI | SLEEP at GOTHIC THEATRE | 1/3/14
Stoner rock and doom metal gained mainstream popularity over the past decade thanks to acts like Queens of the Stone Age and High on Fire, whose reach expanded beyond metal fans. Before playing in the latter band, guitarist Matt Pike had been a pioneer of modern sludge metal with Sleep, an outfit that got its start as Asbestosdeath in San Jose, California, in 1990. With Al Cisneros, Chris Hakius and Tom Choi, Pike wrote five now-classic Sleep albums, including 1993's towering Holy Mountain and the belatedly released 2003 masterpiece Dopesmoker. The group split in 1998, after which Pike started High on Fire and Cisneros went on to form the more ex-perimental Om with Hakius. Sleep re-formed in 2009, and, to the delight of metalheads everywhere, has lost none of its legendary power.
SUN | MARIA TAYLOR at LARIMER LOUNGE | 1/5/14
Maria Taylor formed her first band, Little Red Rocket, with her friend Orenda Fink when the two were growing up in Birmingham, Alabama. The group was signed to Geffen and had a couple of albums under its belt when it disbanded in 2000; Taylor and Fink then moved to Athens, Georgia, where they formed Azure Ray. When that group went on temporary hiatus in 2004, Taylor wrote her debut solo album, 11:11; her lush compositions, ethereal yet warmly resonant voice, vivid personal storytelling and thoughtful social commentary established her as a viable, original artist in her own right. In 2013, Taylor issued Something About Knowing, a collection of songs that, though more folk-inflected and lighter in tone than her earlier work, are no less emotionally vibrant.
FRI | THE BLACKOUT PACT REUNION at 3KINGS TAVERN | 1/3/14
The Blackout Pact's demise was a highly scrutinized one. A fellow touring band's laptop went missing, and a quick search found it nestled among the Pact's personal possessions. Blame was placed, and the band fell apart. More than two years after that fateful day in Las Vegas, the Pact returned with 2009's Wolves in the Lazarette. The music there was exceptionally good, with guitars playfully finger-tapping around an upbeat, punk-rock foundation as vocalists Mike Herrera and Cory Trendler barked lines about trying to find salvation at the bottom of a bottle of whiskey.