The Fourteen Best Concerts in Denver This Week
Red Rocks plays the classics this week, with performances by Chicago (with REO Speedwagon) and Boston. It'll also host a damn good time of a double-bill in Chromeo and Cut Copy. The rest of our picks follow.
Ryan Adams brings his denim to Boulder this week.
Chicago and REO Speedwagon
Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 7:30 p.m. August 4
The REO Speedwagon story most typifies the story of a lot of arena rock bands. They toil for years as a simple midwest rock band. Great singer. Great guitarist. Tight band. They build a loyal fan base, but never make it big. Then a big-ass ballad hits, and their lives are never the same. The band instantly gets rich, and soon after loses all rock credibility. Never did this happen on a bigger scale then the zillion-selling Hi-Infidelity. We assure you, they are better than that album.
Rhinoceropolis : August 5
American Culture intentionally obscures its origins, its membership and its intentions as a band. Its only stated goal is to create the kind of music that would appeal to disaffected suburban youth and anyone else on the fringe of urban culture. It may be a utopian notion to craft such a populist appeal while establishing a mystique that's sorely missing in even the underground music world today, but American Culture is effectively doing just that. The act has largely played house shows and DIY spaces around town (including a show on Tuesday, August 5, at Rhinoceropolis) -- probably to make its music accessible to the kids its members remember being. The band's recently released cassette on Lightning Records, Wanna Go to the Movies, bears the slogan "Party music for introverts." That accurately sums up American Culture's melancholic yet highly energetic pop songs and reflects the fact that this band plays some of the most engaging live shows around.
Chromeo and Cut Copy
Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 6:30 p.m. August 5
Since Chromeo's formation almost a decade ago, the band has become a leader in dance music with its innovative, modern take on funk. Most notably, the group's third album, 2010's Business Casual, released hits like "Hot Mess" and "Don't Turn the Lights On." Chromeo's fourth studio album, White Women, released last May, and includes "Come Alive" (featuring Toro Y Moi) and "Sexy Socialite" (featuring Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem).
Los Lonely Boys
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities : 7:30 p.m. August 5
If you can't recite the words to Los Lonely Boys' 2004 hit, "Heaven," you must have been living under a rock when the San Angelo, Texas natives hijacked just about every radio format you could imagine with their unique style of "Texican Rock n' Roll." The Garza brothers haven't quite seen another song grow to those massive proportions as of yet, but their blend of rock, conjunto, Tejano and Texas blues has nonetheless won the Boys a loyal Lone Star following as they've steadily added more and more Santana-esque elements to their sound.
Fillmore Auditorium : 8:00 p.m. August 5
Once upon a time, five guys in Omaha, Nebraska, decided to fuse funk, reggae, rock, and hip-hop. It's been an eventful 26 years since they decided to do so. Anyone who's bothered to turn on a rock radio station in the '90s or 2000s is well-acquainted with 311's vast catalog. The act has put out 11 albums, including this year's Stereolithic, and have charted Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart 20 times. 311 has sold more than 8.5 million records in the U.S., and have provided chill rock anthems for summer boat trips and pool parties world-wide.
Fiddler's Green Amphitheater : 7:00 p.m. August 6
One of the greatest arena rock bands of the last four decades, Boston made significant inroads into what become millions of people's ears with its 1976 self-titled debut album that included the hits "More Than a Feeling" and "Peace of Mind." Since then, the band has only released a handful of albums, including last year's Life, Love & Hope , which was Boston's first studio album in eleven years and the first recording following the death of lead singer Brad Delp in 2007 (although his vocals do appear on some songs on the disc). Tommy DeCarlo, a fan of Boston since he was a teenager, now handles lead vocals. The Doobie Brothers, who have had a long successful forty-plus year run, are also on tap tonight.
Foster the People
Red Rocks Amphitheatre : 7:00 p.m. August 6
Crazy the difference a year and a half can make. In the spring of 2011, Foster the People was a little-known quantity making its first trek to Denver for an intimate show at the Walnut Room. The band returned to the Mile High City for a notably larger gig at the Bluebird Theater later that summer, then literally exploded on radio with the breakout single "Pumped Up Kicks." In 2012, the group headlined Red Rocks. That's a pretty stunning trajectory, no matter how you look at it. But whether this ends up being the band's peak really depends on what it does from here. A ubiquitous hit single brought the group this far, but that pumped-up track has since lost air. Is there more where it came from?
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