Back-to-School Weekend

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From hippies to hipsters, back-to-school weekend awash with choices

By Brian F. Johnson

:: Avett Brothers ::
:: Boulder Theater ::
:: Friday, Aug. 21 ::

A pack of English majors with a stack of thesauruses might still find themselves at a loss for describing the Avett Brothers.
Technically, they play folk music, but they do so with an intensity that you’d expect from bands playing at CBGB’s during the punk heyday of the 1970s and ’80s. The North Carolina group may play acoustic instruments and be dressed in their Sunday best, but make no mistake, this is head-banging material — even if it’s still kind of coffee shop friendly.

:: Yo Flaco! ::
:: Herman’s Hideaway ::
:: Friday, Aug. 21 ::

Psyched to be in ’Rado for school and dig hip-hop? Well, your timing is impeccable. Yo Flaco! was, for several years, the best of the best in local hip-hop/jazz crossovers. A few years ago, however, a bunch of the Flacos moved to L.A. Now the band’s myspace page says that they sound like “we should have never gone to La La Land,” and they have announced they’re back in Denver. Intoxicating shows with more Colorado spirit than a cheerleader convention — and without the annoying pom-poms — make them a must on any musical syllabus.

:: Dubskin & Freedom Movement ::
:: Fox Theatre ::
:: Friday, Aug. 21 ::

Laptop? Check. Dorm room fridge? Check. Phat new back-to-school bag of nugs? Check. If that’s the way your rundown for school supplies goes, then you probably already have this show saved in your iCal. Both Dubskin and Freedom Movement may be local acts, but it doesn’t mean they’re not the real deal. Dubskin’s so legit that they’ve shared the stage with some of the cheeba-toking reggae legends you have posters of in your room, and F.M., as their name implies, goes beyond being simply a soul/hip-hop/reggae act and is actually more of a spiritual uprising. Totally, check it out, bro.

:: Left Foot Green ::
:: hi-dive ::
:: Friday, Aug. 21 ::

If your “new” back-to-school clothes are actually second-hand skinny jeans then the hi-dive is your kind of place … even though we know you’re just so above it all. The Denver-based group Left Foot Green is hosting this party for the release of their new CD Grey In the Sky and with a unique combination of modern pop rock and soaring fiddle, the local band has a chance at making even the most die-hard hipster move a little on the dance floor.

:: Bat For Lashes ::
:: Bluebird Theater ::
:: Saturday, Aug. 22::

If you’re going to study biology, you might be interested in the chameleon-esque qualities of British songwriter Bat For Lashes. In the span of one song the band, fronted by the Pakistani-born Natasha Khan, can change between modern pop, retro art rock, brooding singer/songwriter and electronic house music. With comparisons that range from Annie Lennox to Siouxsie, opening spots for Radiohead and appearances at Glastonbury and on David Letterman, it’s no wonder that Bat For Lashes just took home another Mercury Prize nomination this year.

:: Octopus Project ::
:: Larimer Lounge ::
:: Saturday, Aug. 22 ::

What better way for the art students to get their muses kicking than a show from a noise-rock art project that turned into a band. The members of the Austin quartet were actually thinking of band names for another group when they came up with Octopus Project and now, with four members (and thus eight arms) they kind of loath the name, but it’s stuck nonetheless. Rolling Stone bad-ass David Fricke has given them a band-to-watch label — and coming from Fricke, that translates into extraordinarily worth hearing.

:: Los Lonely Boys ::
:: Chautauqua Auditorium ::
:: Saturday, Aug. 22 ::

The obvious choice for rock on back-to-school weekend will happen at one of the most unlikely venues around. The Grammy Award winning Los Lonely Boys will play alongside Los Lobos at the historic Chautauqua Auditorium — the old barn at the base of the foothills, which usually hosts more acoustically-based concerts. The rickety old joint is magical, though, and even if the Lonely Boys play a quiet show, the whole room should shake.

:: 1964 – Beatles 45th Anniversary Tribute Concert ::
:: Red Rocks Amphitheatre ::
:: Saturday, Aug. 22 ::

Get a head start on your history classes and head back to 1964 for what’s been called “the number one Beatles show on earth.” Formed in 1982, this tribute has played close to 3,000 shows — comprised of mostly British Invasion-era Beatles songs, with a few older ones thrown in for good measure. Almost to the exact day, 1964 will celebrate the only Beatles show to have happened at Red Rocks — August 26, 1964.

:: Dickey Betts and Great Southern ::
:: Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom ::
:: Saturday, Aug. 22 ::

If you’re the kind of scholar that is shooting for a 420 instead of a 4.0 then this place is your joint. Voted Best Venue Vibe by The Marquee, Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom is exactly the kind of place where you can put aside the drama around Betts’ departure from the Allman Brothers and just get lost in the music from the man who brought us “Blue Sky,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Little Martha” and this author’s favorite, “Mountain Jam.”

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