Otep Shamaya, of Otep.

Otep Shamaya’s a poet, artist, actress and activist.

That’s when she’s not busy fronting her very edgy metal band Otep.

Otep’s touring behind its 2009 CD, Smash the Control Machine, and Wednesday the band makes a stop at the Marquis Theater in Denver.

If you go

Who: Otep, with Bury the Dead and Dystrophy

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer St., Denver

Cost: $20

“I work with a very talented group of artists and we’re always challenging ourselves” Shamaya said. “We all come from different musical backgrounds, so what we create together is very unique.”

Shamaya’s diverse background of talents has definitely propelled the word on her band. The artist’s performed on HBO’s “Def Poetry,” self-published two poetry books, appeared on TV’s “L.A. Ink,” blogged for MTV and spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

“I’m just passionate about celebrating life,” Shamaya said. “I always feel I need to be involved. People need to get active and get involved these days.”

Shamaya’s also passionate about performing with Otep.

The bandleader and her outfit are still touring behind their last CD, but Otep’s already heading into the studio to record new material.

“As an artist, you have to be in a constant state of creating and keeping the responses sharp,” Shamaya said. “As a band, you always need to be prepared and ready, so we’re always working on new songs.

“Sonically, we’re like a tree that’s still expanding out with new branches. But the goal’s always to be a better storyteller and songwriter.”

Otep’s in the midst of an intimate-sized venue tour, so the band’s playing Denver’s Marquis club. This will be an in-your-face rock show.

Strange Design

Phish is a fishy entity when it comes to touring, so you never know where or when the jam band will perform.

That’s why Phish fans love Strange Design.

Strange Design performs Phish concerts in their entirety, and tonight the band makes a stop at the Fox Theatre.

“Not everybody can go out and see the real Phish band,” bassist Ben Markowitz said. “Our shows provide a good place for people to see the music they love, but played in a smaller venue. It’s also a lot cheaper to see Strange Design.

“It’s a tremendous amount of fun to play this music. We really try to get inside the heads of the musicians and we have a real respect for the music.”

Markowitz says it’s a challenge to play note-for-note Phish concerts, but Strange Design manages to capture the essence of each concert.

“We try to replicate the styles of improvisation, depending on what year Phish played the shows,” Markowitz said. “Some years were more rocking, and some had longer, funkier jams.

“We really study the concerts. Expect us to do a great show from the early ’90s at the Fox. We have a couple in mind, but we haven’t decided which one yet.”

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