There's an expression going around that is frequently purported to be a Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." The evidence suggesting this phrase has any sort of Chinese source is scant, but we do appear to be living in interesting times, and this summer seems destined to continue its bitter political divisiveness. However, on a much more pleasant note, there are also plenty of music festivals to attend as the summer rolls along.
Of course, politics and music frequently cross paths, and one such example is the Rock Against the TPP tour kick-off at Denver's Summit Musical Hall on Saturday, July 23. The concert and rally series are designed to raise awareness about the nebulous, highly controversial, multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership, which could be voted upon by Congress as soon as this autumn.
The concert portion is led by the ever politically conscious Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, and also features performances by Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit of Flobots, Downtown Boys, Taina Asili, Ryan Harvey, Son of Nun, Lia Rose, Evan Greer, and an acoustic set from Anti-Flag. In addition, a "How to Fight the TPP" teach-in and training session hosted by actress Evangeline Lilly takes place before the concert for those wishing to get more involved. Free tickets for the event are available by signing the petition at rockagainstthetpp.org, though limited venue space means that acting quickly and arriving early is probably the best course of action.
Elsewhere, fans of Americana will get their fill of excellent songwriting and performances at the 10th annual Telluride Americana Music Festival, which takes place July 20 to 23 at the Sheridan Opera House. This year's showcased performers include Sam Baker, Mary Gauthier, Jimmy Lafave, Terri Hendrix, John Fullbright, Jess Klein, The Black Lillies, Zac Wilkerson and Emily Scott Robinson.
Back in Denver, tickets are also available for the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase, which runs July 28 to 31 and features over 400 performances. In that stacked lineup, music lovers can find a plethora of gems. Minneapolis' dark electro-pop outfit Poliça, San Francisco garage rockers Thee Oh Sees, Los Angeles psychedelic rock band Allah-Las, North Carolina soul heavyweights Lee Fields & the Expressions, Brooklyn indie-rock project San Fermin, Austin's "psychedelic Southern" quartet The Bright Light Social Hour, and Denver's own Walt Whitman-inspired rock trio The Yawpers round out the headliners (see interview, p. 34), while a quick survey of the many other announced bands yields some familiar faces, such as Dressy Bessy, Eros and the Eschaton, Ian Cooke, Patrick Dethlefs, Porlolo, The Roxy Suicide and We Are Not a Glum Lot.
As if this weren't enough for you, here are some other local offerings of interest:
July 20 brings local indie standouts Dear Rabbit and Briffaut to the Ivywild School.
Meanwhile, at the Zodiac on July 20, Arizona's Adara Rae & The Homewreckers and New Mexico's Beyond Fused hit the stage.
On July 21, the high-octane bluegrass and Americana stylings of Kansas' Split Lip Rayfield appear at the Black Sheep, joined by local rootsy acts Barrel House String Band and Redraw the Farm.
Xanthe Alexis is taking her new electric sound, augmented by drummer Abriel Peralta, on a short performance and teaching tour through the Southwest. You can catch her at Pueblo's Kadoya Gallery on July 21 before her subsequent appearances in Albuquerque and at the Taos School of Music.
Friday, July 22, brings the Brussels-born and Montreal-based electronic artist Apashe to Rawkus.
Also on July 22, long-running LA pop-punk act Eve 6 plays the Black Sheep, joined by OZ, Christina Holmes and The Midnight Club.
Finally, rounding out a busy July 22, Sunshine Studios will host anthemic local prog-rock act Weathervein, Wisconsin duo The Apollo Affair, Denver's Creature Canopy and Princess Dewclaw, and local rockers and Indy Music Award-winners Miguel Dakota and the Differents.
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