Who’s Playing What Where? Accordion Babes, Mancub and The Tubes (Yes – The Tubes)

Who’s Playing What Where? Accordion Babes, Mancub and The Tubes (Yes – The Tubes)

July 8, 2011 Off By Billy Thieme

The summer in Denver is starting to snowball.

Besides the fact that the town was almost washed away in an almost biblical downpour (deluge?) on Thursday, and that A-Basin has JUST CLOSED for the season last weekend (and was more crowded than I ever remember seeing it – though the powder was replaced with lumpy mashed potato slush), the live shows are piling up. It’s pretty nonsensical, really – there’s no way you’re going to see even half of what’s happening. Just give it up and take our advice. And this weekend seems pretty typical – at least for the next eight weeks or so (did I mention The UMS is coming?).

If you’re not already married to the sold out Avett Brothers’ weekend – spanning Boulder and Red Rocks, both Friday and Saturday – or planning to swoon with the rest of the more mature set at the Botanic Gardens listening to Chris Isaak’s crooning (also sold out), here are some bitchin’ alternatives. Hell – we’d give up our tickets for the aforementioned shows for these, if the economy didn’t already make us feel like grade-H junkies (when are you gonna get the chance to see The Tubes again, right?)


Accordion Babes, July 10, 2011, Lion's Lair, Denver

Accordion Babes entice you with the sexy sounds of their cherished instruments, Sunday night, July 10, at the Lion's Lair. (Photo: Accordion Babes)

Best Bet – Accordion Babes, Sunday night, July 10, at the Lion’s Lair (2022 E. Colfax, Denver

Accordions used to be the instrument parents forced kids to drag out of their closet to show off to Oma & Opa, much to the kids’ (absolutely justified) chagrin. Used to be. Thanks to Amber Lee Baker and Renée de la Prade – known together on this tour as The Accordion Babes – these once pernicious precursors to the keytar are inching ever closer to private & sultry boudoir serenades than adolescent living room talent shows.

Which, by the way, is not meant to take anything at all away from the incredible art some artists are making with accordions. Just a way to set the Babes apart.

This pair of burlesque-sexy women bring a life to the squeezebox that has always seemed to percolate beneath its awkward visage, inside the simultaneously heady and earthy music of gypsies and street performers. Dressed to the nines, they bring an alpha-gypsy feel to their performance (Like this), and you’ll find yourself uncontrollably spinning and writhing as they lay out their intoxicating tunes. While Baker brings her own brand of polka-meets-cabaret to envelop her seductive balladry, de le Prade adds her unique zydeco/celtic-meets-punk attitude to the menu (Like this). The result of the tag-teaming duet is definitely powerful, and addictive.

And that’s just the performance.

Did we mention these women ooze burlesque? Well – to give you an idea: The duo will not only be selling CDs at the show, they’re also going to be hawking de la Prade’s wildly popular, socially conscious and environmentally friendly Accordion Babes Pin-Up Calendar. Besides Baker and de la Prade, the calendar features many women posing with their favorite accordions in the tradition of the classic pin-up.

From the Calendar website: “The Accordion Babes Album & Pin-Up Calendar is sultry, sexy, sassy, silly, sweet, and impassioned… I was mostly referring to the music, but that’s a good description of the pin-ups too! The women you are about to see are not just models; they’re damn fine musicians, playing one of the world’s greatest instruments.”

Don’t miss the chance to catch this duo live, and introduce (or indulge, or rejuvenate)  yourself and all your friends’ love for one of the world’s misunderstood, and wrongly maligned, instruments.

Sunday night, at Lion’s Lair (2022 E. Colfax, Denver), 8 PM.

Friday – The Tubes, featuring Fee Waybill, Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver

Honestly, after The Tubes’ horrible run of accessibility peaked with “She’s A Beauty,” it was hard to keep paying attention to Fee & the group. We remember the disappointment we felt as “White Punks on Dope” faded further and further into the past.

But – That was the past. Turns out the group is still alive, and like so many other bands of late, have been touring on a reunited bill for the past four years or so. At least reuinited with Waybill (other members never really stopped).

If only to see what may have come from the 20-plus years they’ve put between now and their biggest hit, and the 30 they put between now and their best, we recommend checking this one out.

Friday, July 8, Soiled Dove Underground (7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver), 8 PM.


Denver's Electo-Pop meets Shoegaze band, Mancub (Photo: Mancub)

Denver's Electo-Pop meets Shoegaze band, Mancub (Photo: Mancub)

Saturday – Mancub, Flashlights and Mercuria and the Gemstars  – Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway, Denver

Flashlights, one of Denver’s newer, light-up electro-pop numbers, just got signed wicked fast to a record deal, and just released a new EP last month, but they still remember their base. So they’re opening a show for some local scene-mates, Mancub, at the Hi-Dive Saturday night. Mancub is a duo that’s building a reputation for using lo-fi electronics and hands-on passion to make a kind of electro-shoegaze combination. Worth taking in, if only to see their dexterity and sound combo skills. Plus, lights from both bands should make everyone feel a little bit interplanetary.

Flashlights bring the dark, too (Photo: Flashlights)

Flashlights bring the dark, too (Photo: Flashlights)

Get there early to catch what promises to be a great show from local stalwart Mercuria (part of Denver bands like Houses, Widowers, New Denver Orchestra, Mike Marchant and Science Partner – to name a few), and her latest project, Mercuria and the Gemstars. We think the $9 cover will be worth it to hear her songwriting skills alone.

Saturday, July 9, Hi-Dive (7 S. Broadway, Denver), 8 PM.


  • Billy Thieme

    Aging punk rocker with a deep of all things musical and artistic, enough to remain constantly young and perpetually mystified. Billy has journalistic dreams, but of a decidedly pastoral, Scottish nature.