20 Red Rocks shows to see now that shrooms are decriminalized in Denver
Back in 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana, and now it looks like Denver will be the first US city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. Initiative 301, which makes the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms among people 21 and older the lowest possible law enforcement priority in Denver, was voted on with 50.6% of the vote in favor.
The Denver area is already a destination for music fans because of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a natural outdoor amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado's Red Rocks Park. It's an amazing place that everyone should try to see a concert in at least once, and Red Rocks are no strangers to booking psychedelic drug-friendly music. So now that Initiative 301 looks to be passing in the nearby Denver, we've picked 20 exciting shows on the outdoor venue's schedule that would go well with a bag of decriminalized shrooms.
5/14: LORD HURON / LUCIUS (tickets)
Lord Huron made one of our favorite albums of 2018 with Vide Noir, and not only is it the band's best yet, it's their most psychedelic by far. It's also got a big, airy sound that'd be perfect for the Red Rocks environment even if you weren't bringing along any concert enhancers.
5/27: DISCLOSURE (DJ) / FOUR TET / LEON VYNEHALL b2b AXEL BOMAN (tickets)
'60s hippie counterculture may be responsible for popularizing the use of psychedelics but 90s rave culture helped keep demand high. Disclosure mined the '90s to come up with the sound they helped re-popularize over the past decade, and tonight they share the stage with forward thinking electronic artists Four Tet (who has actually been making mind expanding music since the 90s), Leon Vynehall, and more.
5/29: PHIL LESH & THE TERRAPIN FAMILY BAND (tickets)
5/31: CHROMEO / THIEVERY CORPORATION / BIG FREEDIA (tickets)
This mini Funk On The Rocks festival with Chromeo (with full live band), Thievery Corporation (with full live band), Big Freedia, Adeline, and Peanut Butter Wolf ("funk video set") sounds like it'll be a full evening of dancing, lights, and visuals. Free your mind and your ass will follow.
6/14: ANDERSON .PAAK / EARL SWEATSHIRT / THUNDERCAT (tickets)
From Anderson. Paak's lively funk/soul/rap hybrid to Earl Sweatshirt's psychedelic collage rap to Thundercat's hip hop jazz odysseys, this would be an all-around killer triple bill in any venue, and we bet that'd be even more the case at Red Rocks with a little help from your natural grown friends.
6/15: LETTUCE / TAUK / THE SOUL REBELS (tickets)
Not only is Lettuce's new single "Krewe" a tasty dose of psychedelic funk, their first set at this show will be a Jerry Garcia Band set with help from the JGB's Melvin Seals. Need we say more?
6/20: JOHN FOGERTY (tickets)
John Fogerty played the original Woodstock, and he's returning to the site of that festival on his "My 50 Year Trip" tour this year. (He was also supposed to play Woodstock 50, but... you know.) He also brings his 50 year trip to Red Rocks, which is a great place to party like it's 1969.
6/21-23: UMPHREY'S MCGEE (tickets)
I'm not exactly an Umphrey's McGee expert, but a friend took me to see them once. All I had in me at the time was some liquid encouragement, but even in that state their very psychedelic live show was undeniably awesome.
6/24: STEVIE WONDER (tickets)
As part of SeriesFest's Benefit Event Celebrating TV & Music, the legendary Stevie Wonder will perform following a TBA television screening. Not that you should ever need a reason to see a Stevie Wonder show, but what better time than now to see the guy who wrote "Too High"?
6/26: KACEY MUSGRAVES (tickets)
Kacey Musgraves cited psychedelia as an influence on her great 2018 album Golden Hour, and that's clear from a lot of the songs on that album and from her super trippy new video for "Oh, What A World."
7/16: NORAH JONES / MAVIS STAPLES (tickets)
I don't have much in the way of psychedelic jokes or puns for this one, but it's just a great double bill (the only one these two are playing together this year) and Mavis Staples was around during the Summer of Love, so it counts.
7/22: DIANA ROSS (tickets)
Mavis isn't the only '60s soul legend gracing Red Rocks with her presence this year. The great Diana Ross is too, and she experimented with psychedelic soul in the late '60s, so this one's a no-brainer.
7/25: TENACIOUS D (tickets)
Considering the Tenacious D movie is basically one big psychedelic trip anyway, you'd be remiss to not see their 2019 'Post-Apocalypto The Tour' just outside of the city that's about to decriminalize shrooms.
8/1: "WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC (tickets)
This one should get very "weird" indeed.
8/2-3: MY MORNING JACKET (NIGHT ONE WITH WARPAINT) (tickets)
As far as modern bands who are legitimately great songwriters but also have jam-band tendencies and put on psychedelic live shows go, My Morning Jacket are one of the best. They're doing two nights and the first has psych-pop group Warpaint, so that's even more reason to go.
8/6-7: FLUME / JPEGMAFIA / SLOWTHAI (tickets)
Australian electronic musician Flume puts on a spectacular live show that's full of lights and lasers and visuals, aka the perfect thing for this list. Making these shows even more appealing are sets from two of the best and weirdest rising rappers around, JPEGMAFIA and slowthai.
9/8: DARK STAR ORCHESTRA / HOT TUNA (tickets)
We already mentioned an actual Grateful Dead member (Phil Lesh) would be playing Red Rocks this year, but if that's not enough Dead for you, long-running tribute band Dark Star Orchestra should be able to help. And making this show even more authentic, Hot Tuna -- whose members were part of the same Haight-Ashbury scene as the Dead -- are opening.
9/17: JASON ISBELL / DAVID CROSBY (tickets)
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit's rockin' live shows can definitely get psychedelic, and this show is being opened by one of the biggest advocates for psychedelic drugs in all of rock, David Crosby. Plus, Isbell and Croz have collaborated on stage before, and you wouldn't wanna miss this chance to see them probably do it again.
10/8-9: VAMPIRE WEEKEND / SOCCER MOMMY (tickets)
As evidenced by their new album, Vampire Weekend are into Grateful Dead solos now, so naturally their two shows would have to be on this list. Plus, the new album's been my current obsession and I might recommend traveling to Colorado to see them at an amazing place like Red Rocks regardless.
10/31: WU-TANG CLAN / JEDI MIND TRICKS / IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE (tickets)
Halloween with the Wu-Tang Clan who are celebrating the 25th anniversary of 36 Chambers this year, PLUS Jedi Mind Tricks and Immortal Technique? Bring da ruckus indeed.
See Red Rocks' full schedule -- also including Florence + the Machine/Christine and the Queens, Lucero (opening for The Devil Makes Three), The Disco Biscuits, Billie Eilish/Denzel Curry, Brit Floyd, Death Cab/Mitski, The Avett Brothers, John Prine/I'm With Her, Shakey Graves/Dr. Dog, Mark Knopfler, Tyler Childers, Joe Russo's Almost Dead, and still more -- HERE. And use safely!