The beauty of the live music landscape in the Colorado summer is, well, literally in the landscape. Summer music happens at Red Rocks.

This year's calendar at the legendary amphitheatre is stacked with rock veterans, local producers and indie-pop titans. Meanwhile, in Denver, the Ogden and Bluebird theaters are hosting some of the best artists available this summer. In Boulder, the Fox and Boulder theaters continue to do their thing by giving local bands headlining spots and bringing in outside acts that are a little out of the ordinary.

Here's our take on the most exciting shows coming up as the weather continues to heat up:

The Postal Service

May 30, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, $36.95-$42.50

The fervor over the reunion of The Postal Service, the electronic indie-pop act that only released one album 10 years ago, speaks to the band's talents. Cult followings aren't pure accident. See them before they disappear again.

The Joy Formidable

June 7, Fox Theatre, Boulder, $22-$24

Straightforward alt-rock is a nice change of pace at the Fox, and The Joy Formidable are capable of delivering a high-energy show.

Christopher Owens

June 8, Larimer Lounge, Denver, $20

When Christopher Owens left Girls and released a solo album, Lysandre, he left the grunge with the band. His solo act plays with the limits of sweetness, with a big helping of weird.


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Father John Misty

June 18, Ogden Theatre, Denver, $20.75-$25

Father John Misty is the alter-ego of J. Tillman. That is the easiest way to describe the enigmatic rocker who "loves humor and sex and music."

Fitz and the Tantrums

June 19, Gothic Theatre, Denver, $25-$30

Neo-soul and rock group Fitz and the Tantrums are out touring on the heels of the recently released More Than Just A Dream. Yes, it's just as infectious as the band's debut.

Pretty Lights. Courtesy photo/Brynna McCarthy
Pretty Lights. Courtesy photo/Brynna McCarthy

Parquet Courts

June 19, Larimer Lounge, $10-$12

The title of the latest single from these Brooklyn punk rockers suits them: "Smart Aleck Kid." This is punk with a brain and something to say.

The Dunwells

June 22, Fox Theatre, $14-$17

When Brit rock meets Americana, you get The Dunwells. Catch them stateside before they head back to the English pubs that raised them.

Blues Traveler, moe.

July 4, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, $35.95-$44.50

Blues Traveler returns, as they have every year since 1994, for their annual Fourth of July show at Red Rocks. This year, the rock veterans are joined by jam veterans moe.

The Avett Brothers

July 5-6, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, $39.95-$48.95

Last year it was Mumford. This year it's Avett. It's all in the folk family.

They Might Be Giants

July 7, Ogden Theatre, $26.50-$30

They Might Be Giants make feel-good music. They've been doing it forever and they never cease to be an upbeat, fun band to watch.

The Epilogues, Quiet Company, Rob Drabkin

July 13, Bluebird Theater, $12-$15

A triple co-headliner is confusing, but just ignore it. Quiet Company are coming up from Austin, Texas, to join Denver's Rob Drabkin and The Epilogues. Whether you like your rock acoustic or synthy, there's something here for you.

From left, band members Derek D’Arcy, Christian Mazzalai, Laurent Brancowitz and Thomas Mars of Phoenix pose during a photo call at the Cannes
From left, band members Derek D'Arcy, Christian Mazzalai, Laurent Brancowitz and Thomas Mars of Phoenix pose during a photo call at the Cannes International Film Festival, May 22, 2013. (Associated Press/Invision/Joel Ryan)

Weird Al Yankovic

July 21, Boulder Theater, $32-$40

Don't act as if you're too cool for Weird Al. No one is too cool for Weird Al and his impressive catalogue of parodies.

Whiskey Shivers

July 30, Larimer Lounge, $10-$15

This band isn't super well-known, yet, but everyone should get to know them. Their brand of "trash-grass" and raucous energy are a can't-miss.

Grizzly Bear

Aug. 6, Ogden Theatre, $32.50-$35

Grizzly Bear have been around for years and they first grabbed everyone's attention with the catchy, iPod commercial-featured single "Two Weeks." The indie rockers' 2012 album Shields made them even bigger -- big enough to tour the world, and they're finally making it to Denver.

Phoenix with Dinosaur Jr.

Aug. 6, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, $44.95-$49.95

Either of these bands alone would be worth the price of admission. Indie-rock dinosaurs Dinosaur Jr. are still capable of producing a roar. Phoenix will still be riding high on the success of Bankrupt!, and between Thomas Mars' emphatic performances and the indie-popper's famous light shows, this should be a fun one.

Smith Westerns

Aug. 6, Bluebird Theater, $15-$17

The Chicago pop-rockers will be on the road this summer promoting their latest LP, Soft Will, out June 11.

Queens of the Stone Age

Aug. 15, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, $39.95-$44.75

It's been almost six years since the last Queens of the Stone Age album. Make your own jokes about the stone age. It's called Like Clockwork and the band has described it as "codeine cabaret." The album is out in June, but this sounds like something to be heard live.

Pretty Lights

Aug. 16-17, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, $44.50-$50

This is a requirement if you live in Colorado, no? Homegrown producer and DJ Pretty Lights always seems extra pumped to be playing in his native state, especially on its most legendary stage.

fun., Tegan and Sara

Aug. 21-22, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, $39.95-$43.50

This is an excellent co-headline pairing. fun.'s borderline-rock-opera is aging just fine a year later. Tegan and Sara continue to be incredibly fierce but also completely lovable as they've turned toward synth pop.