The 14 best concerts in Denver this week: June 9 to June 12
It's the kind of week where we've got fourteen recommendations below and we'll be spending this introduction talking about the ones we had to leave off: Tech N9ne is in town again/still in town, playing in Colorado Springs. Greater Than Collective's Social Club at Lannie's Clocktower has its June installment tomorrow. And we'll tell you more about hair metal experts Detroit Cobras below, but make damn sure you get to that show early on Tuesday for human firework Pujol.
Jessica Lea Mayfield plays the hi-dive on Thursday, May 12
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities: Monday, June 9
Jamie Cullum tickles the ivories with Jerry Lee Lewis pyrotechnics and a jazz-pop aesthetic equally influenced by Thelonious Monk and Cole Porter. The latter's salacious subtext reverberates on a synth-heavy cover of "Love for Sale," featuring British rapper Roots Manuva on the fresh-faced crooner's latest release, Momentum, a streamlined mix of springy originals that favor radio-friendly pop over jazz standard fare. Cullum exercises subtle restraint on "Pure Imagination," channeling the impish chicanery of Willy Wonka with a saturnine Britpop edge, but otherwise, the analogue dream of the '90s is alive and well; Cullum employed second-hand keyboards and cassette recorders for a vintage bubblegum backdrop
Ogden Theatre: Monday, June 9
Even though Meshuggah stabbed its way into American metalheads hearts when Jack Osbourne blasted the act's music at full volume to annoy neighbors on The Osbournes, Meshuggah has been blowing minds for over a quarter-century with its technically innovative style. With ear-splitting aggression, Meshuggah has admirably pushed the boundaries of extreme metal beyond the comprehension of everyday Joes and into doctorate level ear-drum exploding.
Gothic Theatre: Monday, June 9
When evaluating an artist like Sage Francis, the question inevitably arises: Should a musician be cherished for the values they hold and their loyalty to said values or their ability to make enjoyable and listenable music? If it's the former, then Sage Francis is a top-tier MC. His political appetite is insatiable, and you get the feeling that his lyrical crusade will not stop until he finds the change he seeks or his hand can no longer grip the microphone. If it's the latter, on the other hand, then Sage Francis is only okay. He's almost more of a spoken word poet than a true rapper, and he has a firm command of the words he uses, though the energy of his songs occasionally escapes him.
Film on the Rocks
Red Rocks Amphitheatre: Tuesday, June 10
Everyone loves the summer celebration that is Film on the Rocks, and here's why: It's got comedy, local bands, cult-favorite movies and a party atmosphere, all under the stars at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the most beautiful outdoor venue in the world. This year's new host, Sam Tallent, will keep spirits high with comedic banter tonight for FOTR's fifteenth-anniversary screening of Fight Club (which acknowledges the milestone for both the Red Rocks series and the action-packed Brad Pitt vehicle); before the movie, Flashbulb Fires and FaceMan will rev up the audience with tunes.
"It is not summer in Colorado without Film on the Rocks," notes Denver Film Society festival programmer Britta Erickson. Damn right.
Larimer Lounge: Tuesday, June 10
The saving grace of any good cover band is to not go for the all-too-obvious hit. Credit Motor City's turbo-sleaze outfit the Detroit Cobras for limiting their self-penned material with the full understanding that they'll never write songs as soulful or enduring as the ones by Otis Redding, Bobby Womack or Marvin Gaye. Credit them further for resurrecting vintage R&B obscurities from the likes of Clyde McPhatter, Mary Wells, Solomon Burke and the Marvelettes, then customizing them into souped-up, garage-fueled versions that even a knucklehead like Ted Nugent could appreciate. In their umpteenth incarnation, the Cobras still showcase the husky vocals and bluesy growl of former exotic dancer Rachel Nagy, a feral, chain-smoking bad girl whose solid foundation in Motown and dragster rawk makes for inspired spectacles steeped in sweat and raunch. Updating the Stax-infused sounds of yesteryear for today's bar-hugging gearhead, this White Stripes-approved five-piece might not be the freshest thing to come off the assembly line. But as retro-soul cover bands go, it's one of the most electrifying.
Bluebird Theater: Tuesday, June 10
Yann Tiersen gained international prominence with the charming soundtrack to Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2001 film Amélie, which featured accordion- and piano-centric songs from his first three albums as well as music commissioned for the film. But long before that, the French multi-instrumentalist steeped himself in punk and post-punk. You can't hear those influences directly in the engaging and sometimes minimalistic film scores he's composed in recent years, but they lend an unexpected undercurrent to the music. Tiersen has also been quite prolific on his own, releasing stand-alone albums that are often just as cinematic as his film work. His brand new disc, ∞, the followup to 2011's Skyline, was, for the most part, inspired by the landscapes of his new home, Iceland, and there are some gorgeous and sprawling songs on the disc.