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.
Jan. 25 – Lucero Presents: Block Party West @ The Mission Ballroom
The Tennessee native band Lucero will bring a block party packed with country music rising stars to Mission Ballroom. Lucero has always been a bit shy of the typical country label, taking on many influences from other genres to create an alternative-country sound that is distinctly their own. In response to that, they’ve built a sonic cocktail of country music that hits all of the right notes. Newcomer to the scene Orville Peck will stand alongside Nikki Lane, “the First Lady of outlaw country” and Brody Danger, whose glitter-filled rock ‘n’ roll is a far cry from the usual suspects of the genre. It is sure to be a block party unlike you’ve ever seen before.
Jan 31 – Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
This annual Red Rocks event is back for its ninth year and with it comes everyone who wonders how Colorado natives make it through a night of freezing temperatures just for some music. The answer is in the lineup, with Winter on the Rocks reliably delivering EDM’s most prominent figures. This year ZHU will take on the headlining title, with They., Snbrn, Channel Tres and DJ Cassidy as support. The heavy bass and drops are sure to keep your mind off of the cold, and if not, you can just embrace it.
Feb. 14 & 15 – Oysterhead @ 1STBANK Center
Oysterhead, the supergroup comprised of Les Claypool of Primus, Trey Anastasio of Phish and Stewart Copeland of the Police, will reunite in 2020 and it is a major deal. The group originally pieced together in 2000 to perform at New Orleans Jazz Fest and has only had one proper tour through North America in the early aughts. That all changes, however, as the supergroup descends on the 1STBANK Center for a doubleheader — making this tour their first live performance in nearly 14 years.
Feb. 28 – Dillon Francis @ The Mission Ballroom
Electronic dance music’s favorite goofball, Dillon Francis, will make his Mission Ballroom debut. His bombastic and euphoric music will light up the spacious dance floor for a bona fide good time.
March 3 – “303 Day” w/ Lil Jon & 3OH!3 @ The Mission Ballroom
“303 Day” is a celebration of all things Denver — area code “303” get it? This year, Channel 93.3 has cooked up their biggest celebration yet, a massive concert featuring many of Denver’s brightest artists as well as Denver favorites like Lil Jon, 3OH!3, Breathe Carolina and more. If you’re planning on visiting Denver, might as well go all in.
March 12 – Post Malone @ Pepsi Center
Post Malone is arguably one of the biggest artists of our time. How we got here, no one can quite be sure, but the musician’s down-to-earth personality and braggadocious pop hip-hop has made him an unlikely but endearing star with a legion of adoring fans. His forthcoming performance at the Pepsi Center will be a continuation of his massive “Runaway Tour” where he will return for the fans who missed out on nabbing a ticket to his sold-out performance earlier this year. Who knows, odds are there will be plenty of people awaiting a second helping.
March 14 – Blake Shelton @ Pepsi Center
Country music’s favorite TV personality is set to play the Pepsi Center. After gaining traction as a successful country artist in the early 2000s, Shelton went on to star as a judge on NBC’s "The Voice" since its inaugural season. He won the hearts of many and broadened the scope of his musicianship, making him a hot commodity for anyone who can’t do without a good old fashioned banjo. Shelton hasn’t released an LP since 2017’s "Texoma Shore," but with a Pepsi Center date in mind, the country crooner is sure to have something new up his sleeve.
March 13 – Keane @ The Mission Ballroom
At times, “Somewhere Only We Know” may have blasted from any given speaker, and you may or may not have been tempted to belt the glorious tune at the top of your lungs, but who are we to judge? You will be joined with countless others who may or may not have done the same, as Keane, the band behind the tune and many other earworms, heads to Mission Ballroom after a lengthy hiatus. The English soft rock band has been a long time coming, last playing in Denver a little less than 10 years ago. Time to dust off those vocal cords because it’s about to go down.
March 19 – Third Eye Blind @ The Mission Ballroom
Nostalgia knows few late-’90s bands as well as Third Eye Blind. The outfit known for songs like “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper” and no shortage of teen movie soundtracks, will appear at Mission Ballroom. If you thought you could sing your heart out during Keane, just wait until the “do do do’s” of “Semi-Charmed Life” take your body by storm. Throwback Thursday is very much coming to life on March 19.
March 22 – Melanie Martinez @ Paramount
"The Voice" alumni Melanie Martinez rose to fame quickly after her television debut, thanks to her iconic tone and lyricism. With the momentum that the platform created, Martinez released her first single and EP — both titled "Dollhouse" — in 2012, launching herself into the pocket of sad-girl music that she dominates. Her debut album "Cry Baby" went on to be certified platinum and she went dark for sometime after the momentum of her success. Martinez recently released some more work in 2019, making this stop a fresh start for the singer with new material in tow.
March 24 – Celine Dion @ Pepsi Center
The Canadian songbird hits the Pepsi Center this March and our hearts are sure to go on for as long as we can handle it. Dion is one of the most iconic vocalists of our time, with songs like “The Power of Love” and “I’m Your Angel” making her an international sensation. Need we even mention "Titanic"? Dion has broken records, having the highest-selling Vegas residency to date as well as having one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time, so don’t sleep on these tickets because they will go fast.
March 26 &28 – The Eagles @ Pepsi Center
The revival in general interest for classic rock is not lost on the greats, with many bands choosing to tour once again later on in their years. The Eagles are no exception, although they charted the path by being on the road more often than most, even after a founding member of the band, Glenn Frey, passed away in 2016. The Eagles have a history here in Denver, stopping here for their most recent tours. The relationship continues, with a two-night Pepsi Center stop in late March. This tour will highlight their successful album "Hotel California," making the performance the first time The Eagles have played the album in its entirety live.
March 30 – Bad Religion & Alkaline Trio @ The Mission Ballroom
Bad Religion and Alkaline Trio’s co-headlining tour is one for the ages. Hitting only a couple of venues across the U.S., the tour will celebrate Bad Religion’s 40 years as an outfit, and Alkaline Trio, who cites Bad Religion as an influence, takes the band full circle when they hit Mission Ballroom together in Denver. Punk rockers unite!
April 8 – Thom Yorke @ The Mission Ballroom
Radiohead frontman and provocative auteur Thom Yorke will make a rare solo appearance at Mission Ballroom in support of his newest album, ANIMA. Known for his obtusely evolving performances and dynamic visuals, Yorke conjures a fully immersive experience. Front to back. From time to time, Yorke is known to even indulge his Radiohead fanfare and his side project Atoms for Peace. You’ll be intrigued, you’ll be challenged but most importantly, you’ll walk away with a greater sense of beauty.
April 9 – Pearl Jam @ Pepsi Center
Legendary ‘90s alt-rock group, Pearl Jam are making their grand return to Denver atop news of their first new album since 2013’s "Lightning Bolt." The Eddie Vedder-led group hasn’t set foot in Denver since 2014, and The Mile High City has been anxiously awaiting this performance. So, strap on your best flannel and do some vocal warm-ups because this concert will run the gamut of nostalgia and long-awaited new material.
April 20 – Ice Cube + Method Man @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
One of the West Coast’s greatest rap exports, Ice Cube, will hit Red Rocks for none other than the annual 420 on the Rocks celebration. The unsubtle ode to cannabis’ biggest day, Ice Cube will be joined by Wu-tang Clan’s Method Man & Redman as well as Action Bronson. If the festivities are your type of thing, there’s truly no better ways to celebrate and few better acts to celebrate with.
April 24 – Galantis @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
The vivid Swedish electronic dance music (EDM) duo, Galantis, will crash land in Red Rocks Amphitheatre take fans straight to the Church of Galantis, as they’ve dubbed it. The group, who have collaborated with the likes of Dolly Parton and coined massive tunes like “Runaway (U & I)” and “No Money,” are a household name in the EDM community and ones who do not disappoint with their ability to get you on your feet bringing the heat.
April 27 – Five Finger Death Punch @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
There’s nothing soft about Five Finger Death Punch. Beyond the name, the group turns out some of the hardest-hitting heavy metal that truly and unironically packs a punch. At Red Rocks, the outfit will be accompanied by Papa Roach, I Prevail and Ice Nine Kills, an intimidating group of openers that’ll put your headbanging self in a headlock. When this show comes to a close, who even knows if the amphitheater will still be standing? With the sheer ruckus that’ll surely ensue, it’d be best not to hedge your bets, and catch what could be the last show at Red Rocks as we know it.
May 1 – Dead Can Dance @ The Mission Ballroom
The beauty of Dead Can Dance is the duo's ability to create sweeping soundscapes that manage to both sound choral and cinematic. Active since the ‘80s, the group has only released two projects over the past 10 years, and have toured even less frequently. Their recently announced performance at Mission Ballroom is a return to form, playing their first show in nearly eight years in the Mile High City. Expect a performance that leaves a glint in your eye and a lingering magnificence in your ear, as only Dead Can Dance can do.
May 5 & 6 – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard 3-hr Marathon Set @ Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre
One of the longest names in rock music is poised to put on a show that verges on being even longer. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — try saying that three times fast — and their sonic exploration will go off the deep end come May. Hosting two consecutive nights of three-hour marathon sets are sure to test the limits of the band, as they are promising no two sets will be alike. If you’ve followed their prolific rise — 15 albums in the span of eight years — or are just looking to dive into the group head first, it’s time to suit up and get ready for the long haul because if there’s one thing King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard is known for it's their ability to hold nothing back. So, if you have nothing left at the end of the three hours, you’ll know you’ve done something right.
May 11 – The 1975 @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
One of indie rock's biggest bands, The 1975, will return to Denver on May 11 to play Red Rocks. Last year, the band, slated to play the amphitheater for the first time ever had to cancel amid an untimely early May snowstorm that made it impossible to traverse. The 1975 remain steadfast in making their Red Rocks appearance a reality, this time supporting the forthcoming companion record to 2018’s "A Brief Inquire Into Online Relationships." Fingers crossed bad luck doesn't strike twice, as hearing “Somebody Else” at the iconic venue sounds like a dream in the making.
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 @ Empower Field at Mile High
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.
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. 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.
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.