The 10 best concerts in Denver from March 17 to March 20
The SXSW floodgates probably extend as far as Denver, and regardless this week brings an exceptionally strong crop of bands to town. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, subjects of a recent cover story in our sister paper in St. Louis, play the Gothic tonight. There are plenty more below.
Jesse Dittmar for The Riverfront Times Sharon Jones on Monday at the Gothic
Monday, March 17: Broncho at Summit Music Hall
Okalahoma band Broncho -- the name is a term used for a mustang that has yet to be broken -- plays back-to-basics rock and roll with an unvarnished sound that bears no affectation or appropriation of style. Frontman Ryan Lindsey is also the keyboard player and guitarist for experimental indie-pop act the Starlight Mints, but Broncho's sound is closer to the Fall embracing the punk rock that helped spawn it: The dispassionate yet intense vocals and disregard for conventional rhythms and song dynamics (unless they serve to propel the song forward at a near-reckless pace) would make Mark E. Smith proud. The music of Broncho is frayed and frantic in a way that more garage punk should be.
Monday, March 17: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at Gothic Theatre
On "Got a Thing on My Mind," from 2002's Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Sharon Jones wasn't lying when she sang, "Good things don't come easy/Lord knows that I've tried." Jones started singing early: She first made a go at a music career doing session work with funk bands in the early '70s before embarking on a long stretch as a corrections officer at Riker's Island. While she did some other vocal work in the mid-'90s, she didn't release an album under her own name until 2002; Dap Dippin' came out when she was 46 years old. Over the past decade, Jones's popularity has grown significantly, with her fiercely energetic live shows and recordings steeped in '60s and '70s funk, soul and R&B. Shortly before she was scheduled to release her most recent effort, Give the People What They Want, Jones was diagnosed with cancer. But after treatment and months of recovery, she's back and in fighting form.
Tuesday, Monday, March 18: Animals as Leaders at Summit Music Hall
Tosin Abasi first made his mark as the guitarist in technical-metal band Reflux. He so impressed the band's label, Prosthetic Records, with his proficiency and creativity that it offered to release a solo album. But Abasi decided he needed firmer grounding in music theory and formal training in his instrument. After graduating from the Atlanta Institute of Music, he formed Animals as Leaders, a name inspired by Daniel Quinn's 1992 novel, Ishmael. Musically, Abasi didn't cast too far afield from his roots, and his instrumental songwriting for Animals is well within the realm of progressive metal. The trio's third album, The Joy of Motion, is due out at the end of March.
Tuesday, Monday, March 18: Creative Adult at Larimer Lounge
Coming out of the Bay Area, Creative Adult has spent a couple of years releasing some of the best noisy punk rock in recent memory. Sonically not unlike acts such as No Age and The Men, Creative Adult often gets compared to My Bloody Valentine for its raw, urgent, surprisingly not effects-laden, expansive and atmospheric but grittily textured riffs. But it also shares that splintery earnestness and willingness to throw even punk rock convention out the window completely with the same glee and abandon one hears in the first decade or two of the the albums of The Fall. Its latest release is the aptly titled 2014 album Psychic Mess.
Tuesday, Monday, March 18: Twin Steps at Rhinoceropolis
Founded in 2011, Oakland's Twin Steps traverses that same mysterious and treacherous-to-define musical territory occupied by artists like King Khan & The Shrines, Foxygen and Man Man. Its music is reminiscent of some kind or rock and soul act in the vein of The Make-Up, but it's not as dark and confrontational. In 2013 the group release its latest seven inch, Plague Songs. Blending samples with live music in a rock and roll context, Twin Steps is a band that clear sees no reason to avoid any method of music-making in crafting its winning tunes.