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Nathaniel Rateliff and Courtney Barnett to headline Denver's Project Pabst 

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click to enlarge Courtney Barnett will join Nathaniel Rateliff, Baroness and The Violent Femmes at a new street fest next month. - PAUL HUDSON
  • Paul Hudson
  • Courtney Barnett will join Nathaniel Rateliff, Baroness and The Violent Femmes at a new street fest next month.

Good news looms on the horizon for local aficionados of pre-summer music festivals, as well as those who like to see Colorado acts receive some well-deserved recognition. Pabst Blue Ribbon is no longer merely the beer of choice for thrifty hipsters, 1960s steel mill workers, and Blue Velvet's psychopathic antagonist Frank Booth. Now it's also the primary sponsor for Project Pabst, a brand new music festival that hits Denver on Saturday, May 21.

The one-day festival, which will be held on two outdoor stages on the same block as the Larimer Lounge, boasts a lineup that's a downright embarrassment of riches. Headlining the festival is fiery, Denver-based roots-soul act Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, who are currently busy making national waves at an array of festivals, on major network talk shows, and — quite noticeably — in their gutsy, a capella performance of the national anthem during a Denver Broncos game against the Cincinnati Bengals in late December.

Among those joining Rateliff and company are Australian critics' darling Courtney Barnett, the newly reconstituted Violent Femmes, acclaimed Mississippi-born emcee Big K.R.I.T., Atlanta alt-rockers The Coathangers, beloved sludge/prog metal act Baroness, and blistering neosoul show band Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, who nigh on demolished the stage with their high-octane set at Bristol's Freewheelin' Music Fest last year.

In addition to the main acts, Project Pabst will also present shows the preceding Friday, May 20, including peerless live act Rocket From the Crypt, Pentagram and Red Fang. Regardless of how you feel about Project Pabst's unicorn mascot, which bears a striking resemblance to the horrifying Denver International Airport "Blucifer" horse statue, the lineup is essentially faultless and offers an excellent opportunity to get a better look at some highly esteemed artists. Find more information at denver.projectpabst.com.

In the meantime, however, here's a spotlight on some notable local music opportunities this week:

At the Black Sheep on March 9, you can relive the heady, heavily abbreviated, early-2000s heyday of nu-metal with triple-platinum Christian metal band P.O.D. and rapcore outfit Hed PE, joined by fellow metal/hardcore act War of Ages.

The following night, March 10, long-running California punk band Channel 3 hits the Black Sheep stage with locals Shiii Whaaa in support.

Friday, March 11, brings Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, known for his sophisticated classical and flamenco-inspired arrangements, to Stargazers Theatre.

The same evening, if you find yourself more in a doom metal state of mind, Olympia, Washington, ensembles Eos and Eigenlicht, Denver act Matriarch, and locals Blighter have you covered at the Flux Capacitor.

Local alt-rock favorites Weathervein and A Bad Night for a Hero also take the stage at the Black Sheep on March 11, joined by Denver singer-songwriter Arwen.

Also on March 12, Seattle rock quintet Hey Marseilles appears at Ivywild School, while post-grunge act Shinedown and The Virginmarys play the City Auditorium.

Finally, on a more somber note, fellow musicians and friends mourn yet another Colorado talent, Salem Spade's lead vocalist John Secrest, who passed away in late February. While Salem Spade was largely associated with Denver, the progressive metal band, which reformed in 2011 following the reissue of their late-'80s recordings on Steel Legacy Records, enjoyed a healthy national following and had strong ties to the Colorado Springs music scene. A memorial fund to benefit Secrest's family is available at gofundme.com/45q7g538.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com.

  • Project Pabst, a brand new music festival, hits Denver next month.

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