The Fourteen Best Concerts in Denver This Weekend
This weekend's best shows include rapper Redman releasing a new album poolside in RiNo, Xiu Xiu bringing its newest noise to Larimer Lounge and "Jessie's Girl" to Fiddler's Green.
Dan Bleckley Xiu Xiu plays Larimer Lounge tonight.
There are plenty of other good ones in the next couple days -- the rest of our picks for the weekend are below.
The Black Sheep : 7:00 p.m. August 8
It's been over four years since Gainesville, Florida's Against Me! released its highest-charting (number 34 of Billboard 200), Butch Vig-produced White Crosses album -- a furious punk rock offering with mainstream rock & roll underpinnings. Since that time, the band cut ties with its label, Sire Records, and added drumming royalty, Jay Weinberg, son of Max, to its lineup. Weinberg subsequently -- and abruptly -- quit in the midst of recording. Longtime bassist Andrew Seward also stepped down and the band started its own label, Total Treble. Also in that time, singer Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender, after having dealt with gender dysphoria her whole life, and began her transition to living as a female. All things considered, one has to think Laura Grace has had plenty of inspiration to draw from while penning the band's latest effort, Transgender Dysphoria Blues.
Birds of Chicago
The Soiled Dove Underground : 8:00 p.m. August 8
Americana is getting crowded with young male-female duos such as Shovels & Rope and the Civil Wars, but there's always room for one more, right? Yes, especially since JT Nero and Allison Russell were already longtime collaborators before they made it official as Birds of Chicago. 2012's eponymous debut (the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign) was hailed as one of the year's best roots debuts by the Chicago Sun-Times and L.A. Times, and exudes the kind of radiant harmonies and easy acoustic familiarity -- spliced with clarinet, accordion and ukulele -- that are difficult to fake.
Gothic Theatre : 9:00 p.m. August 8
Yes, OK Go is "that treadmill band" -- you know, the video your mom forwarded to you oh-so-many moons ago. But as the band's fan base can attest, OK Go is so much more than that. Over the past fourteen years, the Los Angeles-via-Chicago quartet's music has evolved from slickly produced radio pop (2002's self-titled debut) to grittier, T. Rex- and Pixies-influenced rock (2005's Oh No). 2010's brilliant Of the Blue Colour of the Sky is even more out there: It could only be described as Prince making a Flaming Lips record -- or maybe the Flaming Lips making a Prince record. These stylistic left turns have been well executed, but, of course, they've also resulted in some puzzled looks from dudes in Delta Omega Nu T-shirts and Reef sandals (i.e., the type of fan who jumped onboard because of said treadmill video).
Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 7:30 p.m. August 8; 7:30 p.m. August 9
On A Color Map of the Sun, Derek Vincent Smith ventured outside the box for a unique project in which he created his own samples using handpicked instrumentalists. Here the Pretty Lights maestro explores the foundations of jazz, funk and soul, offering his own modern take using time-specific tools of the trade to channel the haunting undertones of yesteryear. "Around the Block" utilizes Talib Kweli's vocals to enhance the album's fundamental rap element, which is also clearly defined on "Let's Get Busy," (later released as "All These Lights," featuring Eligh and The Grouch). "Prophet," with its heavy, synthesized sounds and monster beat, is evidence that Smith is still Pretty Lights at heart, while "Yellow Bird" complements this notion at the other end of the spectrum with its melodic piano chords. Does it work? Well, let's just say that there's a good chance it will influence subsequent production, in the same way that Smith inspired other producers with his past efforts.
Grizzly Rose : 8:30 p.m. August 8
Stoney LaRue was born in Taft, Texas, near Corpus Christi, to a family of musicians and spent part of his formative years in Oklahoma, eventually settling in the Stillwater of Cross Canadian Ragweed and Jason Boland. So guess what he does for a living now? If you can get past the silly name, which you should, you'll find that LaRue is one of the strongest young talents in the Red Dirt/Texas Country arena, and such a seasoned road dog that two of his first three records were live sets.
Larimer Lounge : 7:00 p.m. August 8
Xiu Xiu got its start in 2002 when Jamie Stewart and his friend and longtime musical collaborator Cory McCulloch started writing songs in a more experimental vein, making extensive use of non-Western percussion and tones. The group's debut album, 2002's Knife Play, anticipated more widespread use of non-western instruments in underground bands by a few years, and it quickly became a classic record and subsequent tour in the band's history. Since then, Xiu Xiu has set a high bar for challenging itself creatively while still having fun with the music and working with a wide array of its peers in the underground musical world and beyond.
Club Vinyl : August 9
The electro-pop that Bag Raiders produces and mixes is a tropical fusion of house and electro, perfect for days lounging on the beach or humid nights dancing under the stars. Jack Glass and Chris Stracey, the two artists who make up Bag Raiders, hail from Sydney, Australia, and spend their stateside time in Los Angeles, so it's no wonder that their sound evokes a summery warmth and exuberance that's appropriate at any time of year. Theirs is perfect celebration music, and it's muted enough that even avowed haters of dance music will find themselves inadvertently nodding along -- or even shaking a hip -- to the infectious tunes pumping from the speakers. Bag Raiders will headline at Vinyl on Saturday, August 9.
2106 E. Platte Ave., Colorado Springs, CO
2721 Larimer St., Denver, CO
7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver, CO
5450 N. Valley Highway, Denver, CO
3263 S. Broadway, Englewood, CO
1082 Broadway, Denver, CO
6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Englewood, CO
1621 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO
3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO
900 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO
800 28th St., Boulder, CO
18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO
1399 35th St., Denver, CO