The best concerts in Denver this week
FRI & SAT | LOTUS at FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 2/7-2/8
The jazzy electronic quintet Lotus, known for its precisely timed improvisations during live shows, is celebrating its thirteenth year together. This weekend, fresh off the release of its most recent effort, Lotus, the band, which is signed to Boulder's SCI Fidelity records, is kicking off a tour that will culminate with a group of shows in Japan. From incorporating video-game music to performing David Bowie tribute shows and playing Black Sabbath covers, Lotus has figured out how to evolve its music and have a lot of fun doing it. The act is sure to please the Fillmore crowd with extensive, complex jam sessions and, if we're lucky, a few covers.
MON | KID CONGO POWERS & PINK MONKEY BIRDS at HI-DIVE | 2/3/14
Kid Congo Powers (aka Brian Tristan) is perhaps best known for his stints with the Cramps in the early '80s, with the Gun Club on and off from its inception, and with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds during a few of that band's Berlin years. His finely textured and expressive guitar playing, at once powerful and subtle, brought a soulful liveliness to every one of those projects. Powers and his latest band, the Pink Monkey Birds, are playing the first date of their new tour in the Mile High City.
WEDS | TOXIC HOLOCAUST at SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 2/5/14
The members of Portland's Toxic Holocaust can send a bit of a mixed message when they first come out on stage, because frontman Joel Grind looks like he walked right out of Los Angeles circa 1985. As soon as he and the rest of the band start playing, though, it's pretty obvious that they haven't exactly been influenced by guys who spent too much time putting on makeup before hitting the stage. Grind started Toxic Holocaust as a solo project about ten years ago, eventually turning it into a full-fledged band. A mixture of Celtic Frost's and Venom's darkly aggressive sound with a backbone of hardcore's furious energy, this trio has a refreshingly palpable presence. Last year's Conjure and Command, the band's first fully collaborative effort, comes off like Slayer. If names are a promise, this is one that delivers.
FRI | BREATHE CAROLINA at SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 2/7/14
Breathe Carolina plays a particular brand of synth pop that has worn so thin, it's practically transparent. Yet in the hands of the group's leader, David Schmitt, the songs, which are tinted with a swirl of screamo, work in curiously refreshing ways. Recalling Jeff Lynne's joyful abuse of pop on the Xanadu soundtrack, the act has crafted a sound that conjures Air after one too many repeated viewings of Napoleon Dynamite. It speaks to the unevolved adolescent heart in everyone, much like the gloriously ridiculous Gil Mantera's Party Dream; as such, you can't take the members of Breathe Carolina or their music too seriously. Some wear irony and kitsch like a badge; these guys twirl it around like glow sticks at a rave, thumbing their noses at anyone who isn't having fun.