Music Blog

Westword Music Showcase Saturday June 18th!

Westword Music Showcase

Denver's biggest one-day music festival is happening this weekend in and around the Golden Triangle neighborhood!

In my mind, the Westword Music Showcase kicks off summer and the season for outdoor music events. This year it will feature over 100 local bands playing in various venues including Bar Standard (1037 Broadway), City Hall (1144 Broadway) and Curious Theater (1080 Acoma). In addition, there is the Main Stage located at 12th and Acoma that will house the exciting national acts slated to perform. Chromeo, Yo La Tengo (I can't wait to see them!), The Sword and Del the Funky Homosapien are just a few of the bands that will play to the over 10,000 people expected to attend.

Mercury Rising

Queen A Night at the Opera

No need to wait for June 21 to announce the arrival of summer.  The sound of Freddie Mercury's voice floating across area parks is the real indicator summer has arrived.

There are plenty of new music biographies but none more anticipated than Is This the Real Life? by Mark Blake.  The book delivers and makes you yearn for more Queen, more Freddie Mercury. While you put yourself on the hold list for the book, take a tour of the best of Queen.

Music of the Sahara

Ali Farka Toure

I've been recently enjoying the "desert blues" of Saharan Africa.  When you think about the harsh climate and political history that peoples of this region have faced, it seems only natural that powerful and soulful music would emerge similarly to American blues.

This music combines guitars with traditional African instruments such as flutes and harps and finds structure around percussive rhythms that stay with you long after you shut off the stereo.  Although you probably won't understand a word of the lyrics, you get the strange sense that you know what they're singing about purely through their emotive tones.

Colorado MahlerFest is NOW!

book cover The Mahler Symphonies

The 24th annual Colorado MahlerFest is happening now in Boulder through May 22 with performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 5 at Macky Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday.

My good friend Al wrote: "Conductor Herbert von Karajan said that when one hears Mahler's Fifth, 'you forget that time has passed. A great performance of the Fifth is a transforming experience. The fantastic finale almost forces you to hold your breath.' " As an amateur musician, I can say from my personal experience, that this was true for me. The Littleton Symphony Orchestra, of which I am a member, just recently performed this gargantuan symphony with 5 movements.

Rainy Day Music

Norah Jones

Do you get the blues when it's cold and overcast for days on end? I certainly do, so I was thrilled to find just the fix for it during our recent cold spell. What's your favorite music to listen to when spring seems like winter all over again?
 

Norah Jones' 2007 album Not Too Late is like a big mug of tea in a cozy coffee shop, only it's magically portable.

Avoiding the Sophomore Slump?

Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues

It must be a daunting prospect. Your debut album exceeds all expectations of acclaim and now you're faced with trying to follow it up? Can you avoid the "sophomore slump" that plagues so many bands who find themselves in this situation. A batch of young artists are now releasing their second efforts with thick anticipation from the music world.

Here are some notable ones:

Austin's 4th Annual PsychFest April 29-May1!

Austin PsychFest 4

Do you have a car and nothing to do this weekend? Drive on down to Texas for the Austin PsychFest and get your reverb on.

Sure South By Southwest gets all the press, but Austin PsychFest is leading the charge in all things loud, fuzzy and experimental.

R.I.P. Gerard Smith

Gerard Smith

Gerard Smith, bassist for the Brooklyn based art-rock band TV on the Radio, passed away April 20, 2011.

Smith was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after finishing the band's latest album "Nine Types of Light." As a result, TV on the Radio has canceled several shows on their tour including Denver, where they were slated to play Tuesday April 26th at the Ogden Theater.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

RyG playing in Paris in November 2010

There's a reason why Rodrigo y Gabriela's upcoming concert in Boulder is sold out—the Latin acoustic guitar duo is getting too big for little venues. Their powerful songs defy accurate comparison and genre. Out of Mexico and residing in Dublin, Ireland, this group's rhythms will make you wish they were local.

From adventurous originals like Tamacun to an all-acoustic guitar version of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, truly each and every song is musically impressive and interesting. The band has said that though your ears might hear flamenco, that's not what it is. More specifically, they blend "Latin harmonies and rhythms but the structure is rock," according to their bio on Jambase (a great band profile website). Their influences include salsa, classic rock, and Mexican metal.

Poet as Musician

Many musicians write lyrics, while some write pure poetry.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with a little music, try some of these poet/musicians on for size.

Leonard Cohen

Bob Dylan

Tori Amos

Bob Marley

Mos Def

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