The 10 best concerts in Denver from March 10 to March 13
Fear the gaze of Angel Olsen, whose smirk has a greater effect on a room than the average five guitar-wanker power slides combined. She plays the black box on Larimer Street tonight. Elsewhere, fireworks in the form of Austin's The Sword come to The Black Sheep, slick bro G-Eazy hits the Ogden and there are places where you can dance. Observe:
Autumn Northcraft Angel Olsen plays Larimer Lounge on Monday, March 9
Monday, March 10: Angel Olsen at Larimer Lounge
Though Angel Olsen's music is often dubbed folk or indie rock, it is too diverse to fit neatly into such broad categories. Whatever it's filed under, her music, especially her latest album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, is informed by a delicacy of feeling that allows her to channel deep wells of emotional content into warm, luminous and earthy expressions. If you talk to Olsen, though, she's reluctant to give away too much when it comes to her songwriting.
Tuesday, March 11: The Sword at The Black Sheep
In the metal world, it seems that everything old is new again. Hundreds of bands are mining the rich ore of melodic British icons like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and combining it with the sludgy doom of Black Sabbath and Pentagram -- with varying degrees of success. Austin's the Sword has arguably been one of the most artistically successful of this new school of old rock. This is not to say, however, that the group's sound is entirely retrogressive or unoriginal. Deftly fingered guitars alternate between screaming and grinding, rumbling bass drives relentlessly and drums thunder like stampeding mastodons, while J.D. Cronise's vocals manage to be simultaneously caustic and harmonious. The overall effect is a new alloy of aggressive, intellectual and undeniably dark metal.
Wednesday, March 12: G-Eazy at Ogden Theatre
Ladies love G-Eazy. They absolutely adore him. Whether it's his lazy-smooth flow or Dapper Dan look, we don't know, but last time he was in Denver with Hoodie Allen on the Excellent Adventure Tour, bras were flying onstage like roses at a ballet. G-Eazy's 2011 mixtape Endless Summer first brought national attention to the rapper and is notable for his sample of Denver band Tennis's "Marathon" for the track "Waspy." He's taken a huge step forward with Must Be Nice and looks to be one of the better producers around.
Wednesday, March 12: Griz at Boulder Theater
Songs like "Getting Live" -- which opens Rebel Era and drips with funky guitars and gritty bass lines before reaching a crescendo of futuristic sounds and robust beats -- notwithstanding, it's clear that GRiZ (aka Grant Kwiecinski) is much more interested in letting the album tell a story with emotion and soul than he is consumed with drops and bass. "Too Young for Tragedy Part II," a followup from the opener on his previous album, and "DTW to DIA (The Travels of Mr. B)" are two tracks that show monumental growth in both song structure and audio production, and "How It Ends" rounds out the collection nicely with help from Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic. All in all, Rebel Era is a clean effort that proves GRiZ is exploring his sounds under a microscope and tweaking each instrument to satisfy his thirst for the perfect blend. This is organic funk wearing a mask of modern technology.
Wednesday, March 12: Kyle Eastwood at Mount Vernon Country Club
While actor Clint Eastwood has had a long affinity for jazz and plays jazz piano, it's not surprising his eldest son, Kyle, is steeped in the genre as well. A bassist and composer, the younger Eastwood also scored some of his father's films like Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino and Invictus. Starting with 1998's From There to Here, Eastwood has released six discs under his name, including his most recent effort, last year's The View From Here.
Wednesday, March 12: Leslie & the Lys at Hi-dive
As a rapper, gem-sweater museum curator, children's television-show star and overall Internet phenom, Leslie Hall covers quite a few bases. But when flanked by her crew, the LYs, the Iowa-bred diva becomes an audience-commanding, plus-sized powerhouse, unfurling tales of Maury Povich not-the-fathers, minivan rides to the club and other facets of a Midwestern existence atop her own basement beats. Breaking out in 2005 with Gold Pants, Hall introduced the viral world to her strip-mall-maven humor and love for all things bejeweled, using YouTube as the successful vehicle for her audiovisual art pieces. Over the last seven years, she's managed to shoot far beyond her twenty-something social-networking fan base, making appearances on both the televised and touring renditions of eccentric children's show Yo Gabba Gabba!. Whether Leslie and the LYs are churning their butter or showing off their body rolls, their performances emphasize fun, including the importance of a sense of humor in a world of disillusioned pop-culture norms and Internet meme sensationalism.