Denver’s music scene rivals such cities as Los Angeles and New York, in terms of opportunities to catch live music. Coming from out of town, the sheer number of concerts is undoubtedly overwhelming, so to simplify things, Denver music experts at 303 Magazine have compiled a list of the must-see Denver shows.
June 3 & 4 – Lord Huron w/ Black Pumas @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
Lord Huron is a Colorado favorite, making this two-night performance at Red Rocks all the more reverential. The band taps into nostalgic melodies and pairs it with haunting lyrics, promising a night of music that will tug on the heartstrings. Lord Huron will share the stage with burgeoning funk and soul band, Black Pumas, creating an interesting clash of genres that is sure to keep the audience on their toes. Although new to the scene, Black Pumas has already picked up a Grammy nomination for “Best New Artist,” adding to the night's imminent success.
June 12 – Flaming Lips @ The Mission Ballroom
The Flaming Lips love Denver. They’ve performed with the Colorado Symphony twice, even releasing a vinyl of their 2016 Red Rocks performance with the orchestra earlier this year. The Flaming Lips released their 18th album, King’s Mouth, in 2019 and will now bring their eclectic music to Mission Ballroom this summer. For a night full of surprises — last time they were in town they brought out a giant inflatable monster on-stage — make your way to Mission Ballroom this June and party on with The Flaming Lips.
June 13 – Justin Bieber @ Pepsi Center
The ever-polarizing yet ever-popular superstar, Justin Bieber, will be making his grand return to the spotlight in 2020. Heading out on tour behind his first solo record since 2015's "Purpose" is as big a deal as any and marks little more than a decade with the titan in popular culture. Who knows what this decade will hold for the "Love Yourself" singer, but if his new material is as catchy as what came before, this new era for the Biebs will be huge.
July 10-12 – Avett Brothers @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
The Grammy-nominated folk-rock band will play Red Rocks Amphitheatre this July. Although not native to Colorado, the Avett Brothers encompass everything that this state is about. Donning a banjo and fiddle, the Avett Brothers are a sure-fire fit for the famous monoliths. Following their newest album release "Closer Than Together" in October 2019, the band has hit the road to show all of their fans all that they can do.
July 29 — Guns N' Roses @ Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Legendary rock and rollers, Guns N’ Roses have etched out a 2020 tour and they have a massive Denver show in the cards. Performing at the stadium-sized Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Guns N’ Roses, complete with Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan, will delight fans in a career spanning ode to their illustrious career. It's been four years since their official reunion, and rumors are circulating that new material is on the way. So, fingers crossed the band brings their A-game to the tune of classics like “November Rain” and maybe a couple of new hits.
Aug. 15 – Harry Styles @ Pepsi Center
Previous One Direction frontman Harry Styles made waves with his debut self-titled album back in 2016. Now, with his sophomore album, "Fine Line," released in December 2019, Styles is further cementing himself outside of the boy band realm. His showmanship has extended to his androgynous fashion and artistic music videos, further breaking him out of his previous history. For a night of fawning over Styles’ hair and pink suits paired with music that has transcended expectations, make sure not to miss out on this show.
Aug. 15 — Not Our First Goat Rodeo @ Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre
"Not Our First Goat Rodeo” isn’t actually a rodeo, but that hasn’t stopped them from wrangling a bevy of talent anyway. Presented by the Colorado Symphony, “Not Our First Goat Rodeo” will bring together Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer to the same stage in live collaboration for the first time in almost a decade. The rare show will be part composed and part improvised but will indulge in a truly American music tradition at the mercy of four immensely talented musicians. This show is truly unlike any other, and will surely be remembered as such long after its conclusion — you don't want to miss this.
Aug. 22 & 23 – Reggae on the Rocks w/ Rebelution and more @ Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
Reggae on the Rocks is back for its 32nd anniversary. This yearly summer tradition will have Rebelution once again as its main headliner for both nights with a vast list of supporting reggae acts including Steel Pulse, Inner Circle, The Green, Israel Vibration, Keznamdi, DJ Mackle and Judge Roughneck. Reggae on the Rocks is Colorado’s tribute to the genre, making this a priority event for all reggae fans out there.
Aug. 26 – A Special Night w/ Nathaniel Rateliff (acoustic) @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
Nathaniel Rateliff is Colorado’s hometown hero. Not only did he break the local scene and become a national name, but he also gives back to Colorado in any way he can, playing multiple shows every year. Even so, we can confidently say that this show will be different. Titled “A Special Evening of Music with Nathaniel Rateliff,” the star will do an acoustic, stripped-down, set, unlike previous Red Rocks performances.
Aug. 27 — Alicia Keys @ Bellco Theater
The American songstress that brought hits like “No One”, “If I Ain’t Got You” and “Girl On Fire” to the world will make an appearance in Denver at the Bellco Theater. Alicia Keys needs no introduction. Her mix of contemporary and classic R&B has influenced the genre significantly since her debut in the early 2000s. Since then she’s consistently topped the charts, received fervent critical acclaim and starred on NBC’s hit series The Voice as a vocal coach. Keys is also a gifted piano player, making this Bellco performance an avenue to get some exposure to her versatility and talent on-stage.
Aug. 29 — The Lumineers w/ Gregory Alan Isakov @ Coor's Field
There is nothing more “Colorado” than a lineup including hometown heroes The Lumineers and Gregory Alan Isakov in the legendary baseball stadium of the Colorado Rockies. Coors Field has booked some big names in the past, including Billy Joel last year, and this year they’ll bring two of the biggest acts to come out of the state together for an unforgettable performance. For anyone looking to get in touch with some Colorado pride, this concert is a can’t-miss. Not to mention both performers have plenty of hit songs to sing along to that are sure to be a unique spectacle inside of the stadium. Get your “ho-hey’s” in order and don’t miss this one-of-a-kind performance.
Sept. 2 — Roger Waters @ Pepsi Center
One of the main voices in the legendary rock band Pink Floyd, Roger Waters is an icon by his own rite. Waters co-founded the famous group, taking charge as one of the main voices in all creative decisions, and then pursued a solo career after the band parted ways. Amongst other monumental accolades, Waters was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s done several solo tours, most recently touring for his solo album Is This The Life We Really Want? In 2017. This tour, titled “This Is Not A Drill Tour,” will be sure to include the same principle things that make Waters such an important figure in rock ‘n’ roll history. The showmanship and musicianship are sure to stay true to the past endeavors that made Waters such a household name in the first place.
Sept. 25 & 26 — Zac Brown Band @ Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre
American country/rock has never felt as cozy and comforting as Zac Brown Band. The band, who sound awfully a lot like summer, will usher Denver into the fall with a doubleheader of shows at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre. It’ll be a time to grab the family and pour over fan favorites like “Chicken Fried” and “Knee Deep” with a beer or two, and take in the fleeting days of warmth. As popular as they are in Denver, you’ll want to hop on these quickly, as tickets certainly won’t be around for long.
Oct. 2 — My Chemical Romance @ Pepsi Center
Emo-rockers rejoice! One of the biggest and most iconic bands to emerge out of the 2000s, My Chemical Romance announced their first tour in nearly nine years, and it may just be one of the biggest music moments of the year. Kids who’d grown up with the band are now adults, and their dark and brooding style has been greatly missed. With relatively few dates for such a hyped tour, it wouldn’t be a long shot to find a sea of life’s past characters come back to sing “Welcome to the Black Parade” in tandem around the Pepsi Center. In fact, that sounds like a beautiful nightmare.
Oct. 21 – Bikini Kill @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
Bikini Kill is the punk-rock band that brought the “riot grrrl” movement to life. They brought women into the punk-rock conversation with their radical feminist lyrics and outlandish performances. The band broke up in 1997, breaking the hearts of every angsty teenager out there, but got back together in 2019 for their current tour. A show with this kind of history in one of the most historic venues in North America is sure to be a hit.