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Playing Around: Pat McGee Band 

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I may be mistaken, but I do believe there is a new genre of popular music emerging. It probably began with bands like R.E.M and 10,000 Maniacs, and appears to have reached a state of refinement with the Dave Matthews Band. I am christening it "intellirock," a sound that seems to have huge appeal for college students in Colorado.

The Pat McGee Band is the latest in an ever-increasing list of groups whose Spartan lyrics address more than love and loss, but do so by an indirect route, using subtle musical imagery to convey emotions and messages. Like Widespread Panic, intellirockers invoke jazz and roots rock with their freeform, borderline jam-band style, and tend to give exceptionally strong live performances.

Formed in 1996, the Pat McGee Band has been said to have "one of the best live sounds anywhere," by MTV Online. By touring over half a million miles and playing around 250 gigs per year, PMB (as they like to be called, also a sign of intellirock) have developed a huge fan base -- selling over 100,000 copies of their three self-released albums before even thinking of signing with a record company. Bringing such a level of popularity to the table has allowed the band to sell out 7,000-seat amphitheaters, to play with James Taylor and convince guitarist and former Allman Brother Warren Haynes to play slide on a few tracks of PMB's first major-label release, Shine.

One of the greatest draws of intellirock is its mellow blend of musical styles, throwing in a little something for everyone. The Pat McGee Band will surely put on a good show for all parties involved when they play the Colorado Music Hall on Thursday. Tickets are $8, a good deal for a band that will probably be headlining Red Rocks their next time through.

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