Extended weekend provides ample ghoulish acts
By Sheila Moriarty
Concerts and Halloween go hand in hand, and this year the Front Range has more shows than there are candy corns in the bottom of a treat sack.
:: The Widow’s Bane ::
:: Walnut Room :: October 28 ::
:: Radical Knitting Circle :: Death Rides West ::
The Widow’s Bane doesn’t need a reason to dress up, they do so at all of their gigs anyway, but that’s part of what makes their Gypsy folk work so well. The music, a blend of Gogol Bordello and old shanty tunes, sounds like it comes right out of a 1700s burlesque show, and conjures images of dark cityscapes and scary old ships.
:: Smooth Money Gesture ::
:: Stage Stop::October 28 & 29 ::
:: w/ Stan Sutton Band :: Jet Edison ::
Smooth Money Gesture is infectious groove funk with ear-twitching space jams, face melting solos and tight rhythmic changes. The sextet creates psychedelic pandemonium, taking one on an adrenaline rich celebratory journey that never runs out of fuel. The band has just released their debut CD The Grand Scubian: Evolution, which is already helping them to solidify musical forays beyond their home base of Nederland, Colorado.
:: Paper Bird ::
:: hi-dive :: October 31 ::
One feels an addictive bliss from listening to Paper Bird. With eight members and no leader, possibilities are ever unfolding, with fluctuations in style and mood akin to weather patterns. Their most recent album Carry On is a ballet in two acts recorded live onstage with the Ballet Nouveau Colorado, which brought together live music and dance in a way not seen since Ballets Russes in the early 1900s. Their haunting and authentic sound is a refreshing and breathtaking blend of folk, jazz, bluegrass and rhythm and blues.
:: The Motet::
::Aggie Theater ::October 28 ::
::The Ogden ::October 29 ::
::Boulder Theater ::October 31 ::
Not too many bands believe they can pay homage to the Grateful Dead through funk music. This Halloween, The Motet, who for years have made their Halloween shows the stuff of local legend, shall prove to us that they are the band for the task. In addition to their slamming rhythm section, they will be bringing in three great vocalists (Jans Ingber, Paul Creighton, Kim Dawson) and a trio of horns (Gabe Mervine/trumpet, Matt Pitts/tenor, Pete Wall/baritone sax). By reworking those epic and timeless songs with their energetic afro-funk grooves, “Funk is Dead” will come to life.
:: Air Dubai ::
:: Bluebird ::October 31 ::
:: w/The Epilogues ::
Easier experienced than described, Air Dubai is a bustling seven-piece mixture of R&B, jazz and alt-rock that is captivating enough to have brought home the Best Local Hip-Hop Band by Westword in 2010 — the same year their debut studio album Wonder Age was released, and the same year that the band grew from a duo into their current seven-piece lineup. The group’s mixture of sounds has allowed the band to fit into places as far ranging as the Warped Tour and Denver’s hipster-heavy Underground Music Showcase.
:: Trevor Hall ::
:: The Ogden :: October 27 ::
Trevor Hall’s recent album is a courageous affirmation that he has become the man he had been hoping to become. While Hall spends his days listening to Indian devotional music and Golden Era reggae from the 1960s and ’70s, his music is modern and immediately recognizable. The eleven tracks on Everything Everytime Everywhere are guitar-driven gems that fit right at home in the catalog of his influences. A boy wonder of the music scene who started with a major label contract right out of high school, Hall has backed up that early praise with lasting art.
:: Cold War Kids ::
:: Fox Theatre :: October 28 & 29 ::
Long Beach, Calif.’s Cold War Kids make music with roots that go deep and wide, embracing influences as diverse as Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley, and the Velvet Underground. Their soulful, blues-inflected take on indie rock presents itself in their third album, Mine Is Yours, which arrived in early 2011. Though there are spiritual members in the group, the band shrugs off the notion of being a Christian act, and instead focuses on their music which they prefer to call soul/punk.
:: Great American Taxi ::
:: Cervantes Other Side :: October 28 ::
Vince Herman doesn’t need an excuse to have a party. The Leftover Salmon frontman, who can make fun even the most mundane activity, started Great American Taxi during a rare down-period in Leftover’s career and the side project has grown into a headlining juggernaut on the summer festival circuit. Alongside Herman is keyboardist Chad Staehly, who originally joined him for a superstar jam in 2005. That gig inadvertently spawned the band, and now a few years later, with a solidified lineup that includes Jim Lewin on guitar and bassist Brian Adams and drummer Chris Sheldon, both of the Phish tribute band, Phix, the Taxi continues to churn out swampy blues, progressive bluegrass, funky New Orleans strut, Southern boogie, honky tonk country, gospel, and good old fashioned rock and roll.
:: DeVotchKa ::
:: Boulder Theater :: October 29 ::
DeVotchKa’s Halloween shows have become tradition in Colorado. Something about the band’s European-Gypsy vibe fits so well in witchy environs. For the release of the band’s fifth album, 100 Lovers, DeVotchKa spent over a year crafting their sound, taking multiple trips to the desert studio to craft twelve new recordings. The final product is the band’s strongest album to date, filled with songs that are romantic, exotic, and incredibly original — characteristics that have allowed DeVotchKa to land numerous soundtracking gigs, not the least of which was their big breakout Little Miss Sunshine.
:: Jet Edison ::
:: Stage Stop :: October 29 ::
:: Southern Sun :: October 31 ::
Jet Edison has a talent and ingenuity taken straight out of the musical movement of the 1960s and meshed with the modern jam scene. Word of Jet Edison’s captivating performances has been spreading rapidly, gaining them recognition all across the Front Range and beyond. The band has released an album, but what has really opened eyes and ears to the group’s sound are their marathon sets, including a set spoken of with reverence and mysticism that lasted for five hours during a late-night, post NedFest gig in 2010.
:: Warren Haynes Band ::
:: The Ogden::October 31::
Warren Haynes’ long-anticipated solo album (18 years in fact) Man In Motion is a timeless collection of songs that crackle with modern vitality yet draw on his deepest roots as an artist. The disc by the highly revered “hardest working man in the business,” pumps fresh blood into the heart of soul and blues, stoked by Haynes’ herculean prowess as both a powerhouse singer and guitarist — a reputation he’s earned as a member of three of the greatest live groups in rock history: The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead, and his own Gov’t Mule.
:: Skrillex ::
:: 1st Bank Center :: October 31 ::
:: w/ Skream & Benga ::
Skrillex, the DJ alter-ego of Sonny Moore, leads part of a new generation of artists that refuse to be restricted by preconceived notions or outside expectations. Describing his current sound as “a mix of dubstep, electro and glitch all thrown together,” the new Skrillex release Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites reflects all of the above and beyond. He made a name for himself as a highly sought-after remixer and currently stands as the vanguard of electronic dance music.
:: Gauntlet Hair ::
:: Larimer Lounge :: October 31::
:: w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra ::
The self-titled debut record by Denver noise pop duo Gauntlet Hair will be released on October 18. The album is “an evolved debut collection of cavernous, thunderously loud, danceable avant-pop jams.” The band says their music is a collection of party jams made for the sole purpose of losing yourself — in both mind and body.