The best concerts in Denver this week
TUES | STING & PAUL SIMON at PEPSI CENTER | 2/11/14
Sting and Paul Simon have had a hand in producing some of the most memorable pop and rock songs of the past four decades (five, in Simon's case). Sting, of course, was the lead singer of the Police, but he also had solid enough jazz chops to play bass alongside the likes of Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. That trio brought an uncommon sophistication to pop songwriting that yielded a string of hits, and Sting's solo albums have often fared well, too. Simon, meanwhile, first came to mass public attention as one half of Simon and Garfunkel. The duo created a vibrant blend of folk and pop that Simon later perfected in his solo career. Though likely to play the hits, these guys also have the talent to pull out some surprises in the live show.
THURS | THE PIXIES at FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 2/13/14
The Pixies formed in 1986, and within two years, the act became one of the most important and influential of the bands of the alt-rock era. Though credit for the loud-quiet-loud dynamic the Pixies made famous more properly belongs to another Boston outfit, Mission of Burma, this foursome took that idea and turned it into some of the most twisted, tender and electrifying songs of that time period. With four proper albums and an EP, the Pixies made an impact with its music which sharply contrasted the overproduced hard rock that ruled the airwaves in the late '80s. The outfit eventually split in early 1993 and regrouped more than a decade later for a proper international headlining tour. The outfit has remained somewhat quiet after that until last year when the band released two EPs. Both are clear departures from previous albums while remaining distinctively Pixies.
MON | PUSHA T (WITH 2 CHAINZ) at OGDEN THEATRE | 2/10/14
Pusha T and his brother, No Malice, rose to prominence as the Clipse with the single "Grindin'," which sported a minimal Neptunes beat of simple snaps and bangs, allowing its recreation on lunchroom tables across America. Now, more than a decade later, Pusha T is on Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music label, and his solo debut, My Name Is My Name, was one of the best rap albums of the past year, thanks to detailed lyrical fluency from King Push and standout production from Kanye.
TUES | AMON AMARTH at SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 2/11/14
Swedish quintet Amon Amarth formed in 1992 and took its name from the most sinister sounding Sindarin words for Mount Doom in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. ("Orodruin" and "Sammath Naur" perhaps didn't sound enough like words that Vikings would yell before battle.) While musically, Amon Amarth comes from well within the realms of melodic death metal, the band's sound actually has a cinematic and melodramatic quality befitting its namesake. Live, the guys look and sound like they could have formed the template from which the archetypal characters in were taken. In achieving that sort of thing, Amon Amarth represents what many bands playing in this style strive for. The outfit's latest record, Deceiver of the Gods, is a high definition sonic assault. Appropriately enough, the video for "Father of the Wolf" feels like a minisequel to Valhalla Rising.