Concert season never ends in Colorado.
Sure, there may not be a winter equivalent to the outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheater, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of great shows. He’s a guide to the most interesting ones, from December through March.
Dec. 12 is a big one. Lady Gaga herself is here, bringing her monster spectacle to the Pepsi Center in Denver. There aren’t usually a lot of shows there, so when they’ve got the date blocked off for music, you know it’s going to be a big name.
With the smorgasbord of smaller venues (and almost all venues are smaller than a basketball arena), there are tons of other can’t-miss gigs this month.
The night after Gaga, on the Dec. 13, academic hip-hop duo Atmosphere brings their introspective brand of rap to the Boulder Theater.
Not even two days after, local big shots Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats get ready to blow the doors off the Ogden in Denver with two nights of their throwback Americana stompin’ music on the 15th and 16th.
In Boulder on the 16th, the Fox Theatre hosts the vinyl release party for hometown favorites Gasoline Lollipops, whose Tom-Waits-gone-folk-rock vibe is perfectly complemented by their friends Foxfeather and Bella Duro.
Take a few days off after that to gear up for the 23rd, when longtime Boulder legends Big Head Todd and the Monsters throw a hometown party at Boulder Theater.
If you’re still standing through all that, then you’ll definitely want to make plans for New Year’s Eve. Thanks to the dedicated following in Colorado, a lot of bands love doing multiple-night New Year’s runs in the area, and there are three major ones this year.
Right on the Hill in Boulder, catch newgrass heavyweights Railroad Earth, who play the 29th and 30th.
From there, you can choose one or both of jam legends Umphrey’s McGee at the Fillmore for the 29th, 30th and 31st, or rockers My Morning Jacket at 1stBank Center, playing the only dates for the next year, as the band plans to spend 2018 recording and off the road.
But the fun doesn’t end on New Year’s Eve. On Jan. 11, 12 and 13, Greensky Bluegrass will be pickin’ at the Ogden, keeping everyone who’s not skiing rolling into 2018.
If you like bluegrass, that weekend will be busy because on the 12th, 13th and 14th, Colorado legends Hot Rize are at Boulder Theater with guests including bluegrass icons Del McCoury and Sam Bush, among others. Tough choices there for bluegrass fans.
For everyone else looking for a show that weekend, the mad scientist of art rock herself, St. Vincent, is playing the Fillmore. Her new album, “Masseduction,” has received rave reviews, so that’s sure to be a great outside-the-box set.
A few days after that, reggae immortals The Wailers are right here in Boulder at the Fox on the 18th. Just follow the sea of tie-dye to find it.
Josh Ritter rounds out the month playing Americana at the Ogden on the 29th, but it’s important to remember that plenty more shows have yet to be announced.
Even with so much yet to be posted, February is looking to be a big one. It kicks off on the 5th with The Killers throwing a party at 1stBank Center; the next night on the same stage, rap’s favorite weirdo Tyler the Creator takes over, touring in support of his new album, “Flower Boy.” That this album has been nominated for the Best Rap Album Grammy says it all. His oddball style has very real artistic merit.
Speaking of oddballs, Feb. 20 brings us Snarky Puppy at the Boulder Theater. The self-described “pop music that improvises a lot, with no vocals” brings a lot of funk to the jazz world. If you’re looking for something more traditional, however, across town at the Fox, Margo Price plays that night. If improvised funky pop music isn’t your thing, there’s a good chance that polished gems of country singer-songwriter tunes are.
So there you go. Any and all of these shows are worth checking out, but even more importantly, keep checking the venue websites. New shows pop up every day — sometimes with less than a week to go — so check early and check often. But no matter what, if you’re (gasp!) not a skier or (more likely) want to take a weekend off from the ski traffic, rest assured you can find a good show near Boulder to check out.