In these uncertain times, there is one bedrock — one thing that we can still count on. That, unfortunately, is the yearly late-capitalist tradition that all the major, commercialized holidays must start popping up in the marketplace, as well as the country's psychosphere, before the current holiday has even concluded. We haven't yet hit Thanksgiving, but the Christmas music spirit has already moved in, likely without our consent, with two major holiday shows occurring in the same week.
It's easy now to forget that Mannheim Steamroller didn't start out as a Christmas music juggernaut — the new-age ensemble led by drummer Chip Davis combined neoclassical instrumentation and compositional techniques with synthesizers and rock stylings for nearly a decade before releasing 1984's Christmas. In fact, record executives were initially hesitant to embrace Davis' idea of a Christmas record, claiming that holiday albums are typically the fodder of contract fulfillment or an indication of artistic bankruptcy. Thirty-two years and more than 6 million copies of Christmas later, you can catch the live Mannheim Steamroller experience at the Pikes Peak Center on Nov. 16.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, meanwhile, was all about the holidays from day one; a project through which lyricist Paul O'Neill and his former associates in metal act Savatage could combine the unlikely mix of metal and Christmas carols. While TSO have since branched out into occasional non-seasonal albums (a Beethoven-themed rock opera, for instance), they remain most famous for putting power metal solos over selections from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite," along with indoor pyrotechnics, both of which you can presumably experience at the Broadmoor World Arena on Nov. 20.
With that, here's an overview of our busy week of non-Christmas music.
Colorado Springs' The ReMINDers will play a very rare hometown show on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Gold Room. The hip-hop duo is fresh off a stint in Antwerp, Belgium, as well as an appearance at Denver's Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom.
Another show that rises to the level of "event status" will be local alt-metal standouts Inelements' farewell at the Black Sheep on Nov. 18, joined by Iridium.
Also this week, Arizona-based quintet The Word Alive comes to the Black Sheep on Wednesday, Nov. 16, joined by Los Angeles' Volumes, South Carolina's Islander, Texas' Invent, Animate and locals Bermuda Skies.
At Flux Capacitor on Nov. 16, Las Vegas psychedelic outfit Same Sex Mary will share the stage with Utah's Lorin Walker Madsen, Denver's Turvy Organ and locals Tejon Street Corner Thieves.
Then, on Nov. 17 you can catch alt-rock agent provocateur Amanda Palmer at the Boulder Theater.
The same night, closer to home, Toronto punk act PUP is at the Black Sheep, along with Meatwave, Chastity and Cheap Perfume.
Also on Nov. 17, Austin garage rockers The Blind Pets return to Flux Capacitor with Fort Collins' Lowfaith and locals The Youthful Nothings.
For the dance crowd, London-based electronic duo Stööki Sound hits Rawkus on Nov. 17, with Calvin Hobbes and Masta Dre in support.
If you're still missing David Bowie — and who amongst us isn't? — Brazilian salsa artist Seu Jorge, who rose to prominence with his appearance in Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, brings his unique Bowie tribute to Denver's Gothic Theatre on Nov. 18.
Also on Nov. 18, Stargazers welcomes back Boulder-based acoustic guitarist Trace Bundy, known by his fans as "The Acoustic Ninja."
Rounding out a busy Nov. 18, Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket performs at the Gold Room. (See interview, p. 47.)
Finally, at Sunshine Studios on Nov. 22, you can catch rapcore/nu metal act Hed PE, with Fall From Silence, Goatsilk, Wes Rawkins and He Kill3 in support.
Looking further ahead, you may have noticed that Flux Capacitor recently marked its second-year anniversary as a venue, and now they have formally announced the details for their "2 Year Fluxiversary" event to celebrate the occasion. On Dec. 2 and 3, the Flux will feature a host of multi-genre acts, including Connecticut-based emcees Ceschi and David Ramos, Dead Set, Blighter, Bullhead*ded, Modok, Shiii Whaaa, Cheap Perfume, Alone and many more.
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