Wednesday, 4 September (Bluebird Theater, Denver CO)
Raucous and out of control in his Drive By Trucker days, Jason Isbell has cleaned up his act. On his latest release, Southeastern, his new-found sobriety is an unseen contributor to the music. Oftentimes, that can create a tension that drains the energy and life out of a project -- indeed, Isbell was frightened that would be the case -- but he has harnessed the process and the state to sharpen his writing and tap into emotional clarity.
Friday, 6 September (Gothic Theatre, Denver C)
The English Beat
The 2Tone ska revival is a distant memory, even though it provided the attitude for third wave ska punk in late '80s into the '90s. The English Beat wereone of the great 2Tone-era ska bands, Their songs were incredibly catchy and their quick tempos and choppy guitars brought in a new-wave influence that gave their music some staying power. Their arrangement of Smoky Robinson's "Tears of a Clown" is probably their most well-known cut, but their originals, like "Mirror in the Bathroom" and "Save It For Later" were just as good. Even though it's been a long time since their heyday, the band still brings a hyper energy to the shows.
Whether you make the show or not, you might want to check out a new charity album centered on The English Beat, Specialized II -- Beat Teenage Cancer. Both Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger from the Beat participated, along with a host of other classic ska players.