The five best shows in Denver this week
Eric Gruneisen Fitz & the Tantrums play the Ogden Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday.
There are some excellent shows in town this week as we lead up to Fourth of July weekend, including Fitz & the Tantrums two-night stand at the Ogden Theatre, Sarah McLachlan at Red Rocks, as well as Zeds Dead and Dada Life co-headlining at Red Rocks.
Fitz & the Tantrums
Ogden Theatre: 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 1 and Wednesday, July 2
Formed in 2008 around music already written by bandleader Michael Fitzpatrick, Fitz & the Tantrums came together within a week, just in time to play their first show. The chemistry was perfect, and the group's brand of rhythm and blues with a shiny modern radio style was cemented. While there's an undeniable revivalist spirit in its soul-on-wax sound, the Los Angeles sextet incorporates a personal take on what Motown made famous: Fitzpatrick's voice stands out with an almost '80s-pop twist, but it's pulled back to its roots by a pristine rhythm section, plus horns, organs and the complementary backing of Noelle Scaggs's vocals. Having shared the stage with the likes of Maroon 5, Hepcat and Flogging Molly, Fitz & the Tantrums are a band with mass appeal, one that will no doubt follow the path of soul's rebirth set by contemporaries Raphael Saadiq, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Adele.
Cervantes' Other Side, 9 p.m., Wednesday, July 2
As guitarist for the Black Crowes, Rich Robinson has played his share of big venues, but on tour in support of his third solo album,The Ceaseless Sight, released this month, he's playing more intimate venues, like Cervantes' Other Side, where he'll appear tonight. While 2011's Through a Crooked Sun was a solid and optimistic effort, The Ceaseless Sight is more ambitious in scope.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 2
If ever there was a soundtrack suitable for drinking chardonnay and crying, it's the music of Sarah McLachlan. The Canadian chanteuse is an expert at crafting soaring piano ballads for the downtrodden, which she delivers in her comforting, honey-coated voice. It's easy to write off McLachlan's music as saccharine, radio-friendly soft rock, because let's be honest: It mostly is. There's no edge to the dramatic adult-contemporary tunes she cranks out. But the three-time Grammy winner deserves some credit for inspiring intense emotion. Just try to watch that American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ad while "Angel" plays without shedding a few tears. Or try the totally brutal scene in Toy Story 2 in which the Lilith Fair founder sings "When She Loved Me." It's nearly impossible not to get choked up. Red Rocks will provide the perfect backdrop for a night of McLachlan-based sadness. And who doesn't need a good cry every once in a while?
Red Rocks Amphitheatre: 6 p.m., Thursday, July 3
Zeds Dead makes music that both sounds good on your speakers and brings a show that you cannot forget. In the past, we've seen the duo play in front of strobed tombstones, but at Red Rocks in 2012 at the Global Dance Festival, it was all LED panels and blasting strobe lights. Zeds Dead co-headlines tonight Dada Life, and Joey Bada$$, Manic Focus, Grand Theft and Omar Linx open the show.
Bluebird Theater: 8 p.m., Thursday, July 3
Back in 2009, the Antlers burst onto the scene with an explosive, utterly sad album called Hospice, which vocalist/guitarist Peter Silberman wrote about the relationship between a hospice worker and a terminally ill patient. They garnered a handful of Arcade Fire comparisons (which kinda bugged Silberman) while being critically lauded for balancing their willingness to be utterly human on record with powerful live shows that could move even the most stoic individuals. The act is touring in support of Familiars, released earlier this month on Anti.