The Eleven Best Concerts in Denver This Weekend
It's a weekend of superlatives in Denver: The biggest reunion of the year (OutKast), the biggest drum set on the planet (Terry Bozzio), the king of Tex-Mex Guitar (Joe King Carrasco)...All great shows. There are more, including the annual Reggae on the Rocks and NedFest for the people who miss the old Boulder. The rest of our picks follow.
From the "A Christmas Fucking Miracle" video. Run the Jewels plays at the Mad Decent Block Party today.
Joe King Carrasco
Herman's Hideaway : 9:00 p.m. August 22
Although Joe King Carrasco has lived in Mexico for almost a decade, he will be forever linked with the Texas music scene of the '70s and '80s. Last December, Carrasco (born Joseph Teutsch) turned 60, yet his remarkable mixture of Tex-Mex and new wave still sounds as fresh as it did in 1976. Last year, he released a new album of songs he wrote and played with a few of his old El Molino bandmates -- a group that includes Texas Tornadoes Ernie Durawa on drums and Speedy Sparks on bass. That album, Tlaquepaque, features as eclectic a range of styles as anything in Carrasco's impressive discography.
Mishawaka Amphitheatre : 8:00 p.m. August 22
EOTO started as a String Cheese Incident side project between Michael Travis and Jason Hann, a studio musician who also played with Dr. Dre and was a member of Isaac Hayes's band. Out of the practicality of the living situations of both musicians, EOTO began as more of an electronic project that initially made forays into downtempo-oriented music. But when the duo saw DJ Skream's set at Shambhala in Canada in 2008, they were so inspired by the sheer impact of that aggressive dubstep sound that they immediately changed the trajectory of their own songwriting.
John Brown's Body
Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom : 9:00 p.m. August 22
Despite the worldwide rise in reggae's popularity -- including the recent mega-success of Matisyahu -- it's still reasonable to be skeptical of a reggae band composed mostly of white guys. Nonetheless, while John Brown's Body doesn't have roots in Jamaica (the act is from Ithaca, New York), the members' hearts and souls share one love with that island music. Not since Kansas City's Blue Riddim got invited to play Sunsplash in 1982 (and was subsequently named best performer) has a group of Caucasians mastered an authentic roots reggae vibe so completely. Building on almost two decades of touring and recording, John Brown's Body has evolved into a tight unit that deftly captures the crucial roots rock of its island brethren, mixing staccato backbeats with dazzling horn fills and Hammond B-3 riffs with call-and-response harmonies to support a steady flow of socially conscious lyrics. Praise Jah? You decide.
Mad Decent Block Party
Fiddler's Green Amphitheater : 3:30 p.m. August 22
There are some worthy entrants on the undercard of this year's Mad Decent Block Party, most notably El-P and Killer Mike's spark-plug Run the Jewels pro-ject. But the headliner looms as large as any gracing Denver-area stages this year: OutKast. Andre 3000 and Big Boi made it into every living room in America with "Hey Ya," but it's almost a disservice to the rest of the duo's output to even mention that particular success. OutKast is equally capable of experimentation and dazzling technical skill, building on complex, layered verses with wide-ranging musical styles. After a shaky return to joint performance at Coachella, Big Boi and Andre 3000 have rewarded hip-hop fans on their current world festival tour with the magnetism that made them so revered in the first place.
The Soiled Dove Underground : 8:00 p.m. August 22; 8:00 p.m. August 23
Former Frank Zappa/Jeff Beck/Missing Persons drummer Terry Bozzio has become legendary not only for his exceptional playing but also for having one of the largest drum and percussion sets anywhere in popular music. Bozzio will be playing solo during his two-night stand at the Soiled Dove.
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