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Kyle Emerson, Spirettes and Briffaut come to Lulu’s 

click to enlarge Singer/songwriter Kyle Emerson comes to Lulu’s stage Saturday night, along with our own Briffaut and Spirettes. - RETT ROGERS
  • Rett Rogers
  • Singer/songwriter Kyle Emerson comes to Lulu’s stage Saturday night, along with our own Briffaut and Spirettes.

The evening of Saturday, Feb. 22, at Lulu’s Downstairs looks to be a splendid occasion for local music lovers, as it marks both the welcome return of singer/songwriter Kyle Emerson and the appearance of two local favorites, Spirettes and Briffaut.

Emerson’s 2017 LP Dorothy Alice was a personal favorite owing to its deft marriage of folk-rock and psychedelia, and his latest effort, 2019’s Only Coming Down, is a real flowering of Emerson’s songwriting acumen. The rootsy, country-adjacent stylings are still present in his writing, in the lilting ballads “Ca/Co” and “Marie,” but the anthemic pulse of “Better” and tasteful synthesizer touches on tracks like “May You Find Peace” make for a joyful, immediate listen. This LP should go a long way toward winning Emerson a new — and well-deserved — legion of fans.

As for local support for the show, it’s always good to see the much-beloved Spirettes and Briffaut take to a local stage. For the evening, Briffaut will comprise frontman Daniel James Eaton and drummer Alex Koshak as a duo. Readers should be pleased to know that bassist Dan Mikolajczck, who was injured in the shocking downtown stabbing spree in January, has made a full recovery and will be subbing in with Denver’s Pout House, who are performing at the Hi-Dive on the same night.

Elsewhere, The Black Sheep plays host to Brooklyn-based electro-funk artist Eliot Lipp on Sunday, Feb. 23, and will be joined by Bitsutra, Princess Dewclaw and Truth and Happiness. Lipp has a tangential Colorado connection, releasing his 2012 LP Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake through Pretty Lights Music, and the producer/DJ/sound designer has collaborated with a variety of renowned electronic artists, including John Hughes (not the late filmmaker, though that would be cool), Pnuma Trio and Earmint. Lipp’s 2017 LP Skywave is a lush, enjoyable chillhop adventure, and he more recently released collaborative singles with Bass Physics (“Best of Luck”) and MZG (“Pure Wilderness”).

Also on Feb. 23, the punk and metal crowd will want to make their way to the Zodiac early, as the venue is hosting a Punk + Metal Flea Market where attendees will find artwork, vinyl and tapes, jewelry, clothing and more. The market kicks off at 1 p.m. and live music, supplied by 908, Zygrot and Chair of Torture, will start around 4.

Speaking of the Zodiac and heavy music, you should mark your calendars now for March 28, as legendary Nashville noise-rock act Today Is the Day will be casting its shadow upon the Zodiac stage.

Led for nearly 30 years by vocalist/guitarist Steve Austin (not the pro wrestler; that would probably not be very cool), Today Is the Day has blended the fearless experimentalism of noise and avant-garde music, the technical precision of progressive rock, and the brutality of black metal and grindcore into a unique and bold sonic experience.

One could hardly label them “prog-metal” though, as that would severely undersell the band’s eclecticism and Austin’s tortured visions. Listening to Today Is the Day can be sufficiently extreme and punishing that, coming out the other side, the listener can be transported to a kind of ecstasy — you should probably begin preparing your body and mind now for this musical Thunderdome.

However, Austin’s longevity and prolific output can make it difficult to judge where to jump in. Probably the most accessible entry point is the 2011 LP Pain Is a Warning, though knowing that won’t diminish the record’s power or intensity. The band’s first trio of records are largely regarded as essential landmarks of complex, heavy music, and it’s hard to imagine the metalcore landscape of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch and other like-minded bands existing without it. The sprawling, 2002 double-LP Sadness Will Prevail was initially released to a polarized reception, but is a uniquely raw and intense listening experience. And for the truly brave and adventurous listener, there’s 1997’s Temple of the Morning Star. There is very little else on this earth like it.

Of course, Austin has never been one to rest on his laurels, and Today Is the Day’s upcoming tour is in support of their 11th LP, No Good to Anyone, which is set to be released on Feb. 28 through BMG. 

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