Staff Picks – Our 16 Most Anticipated Red Rocks Shows of 2019

Red Rocks’ peak season is approaching, and with that comes the best time of the year for one of the most coveted music venues in the United States. Not to say Red Rocks doesn’t deliver all year round, but there’s something about summer that makes the outdoors special and the tunes that much sweeter. The Red Rocks lineup has exceeded expectation, with an eclectic mix of music legends that are sure to make 2019 an unforgettable sonic experience. We’ve compiled a list of the most anticipated Red Rocks shows for the rest of 2019, from first time performers to seasoned Red Rocks veterans. – Camila Biddulph

Lotus – April 27

Photo by Meg O’Neill

With their recent release of Frames Per Second, Lotus returns to Red Rocks after skipping the fun in 2018. The show will come after a night at Summit Music Hall, which offers its fans the intimate experience before the ultimate music night. Lotus is special to Colorado because several of the members live here, including frontman Luke Miller, or Luke the Knife, who performs locally on the regular. The show is kicking off the season and won’t be one to miss. – Denby Gardiner

READ: Luke Miller Talks a Weekend of Lotus

Interpol – May 1

Photo Courtesy of Interpol’s Facebook

Interpol was one of the early 2000’s East Coast bands that changed the indie-rock scene. They achieved mainstream success with Turn on the Bright Lights and continued on to stardom from there. Since then, the band has been pretty scarce with their releases, relying on a hardcore fan base to bring in the crowds that Red Rocks supplies. Their newest release, Marauder, was met with critical acclaim and sparked the new tour, making Red Rocks a checkmark they had to hit on the list. Although Interpol has been to Denver several times, this will be their first headlining Red Rocks show. We definitely can’t miss the opportunity to be a part of that. – Camila Biddulph

Shpongle – May 3-4

Photo by Meg O’Neill

This is a show where the freaks will come out to play — and I can’t wait to be in the middle of the action. After announcing that this is the last Shpongle show that will take place with the live band, fans went crazy when the tickets went on sale. The show immediately sold out and sent secondhand ticket sales skyrocketing. This hasn’t stopped most fans, however. The UK-based psytrance artist is a pioneer for all things weird, wonderful and insanely trippy. His live band is a can’t-miss experience down the rabbit hole both musically and theatrically. Otherworldly characters take the stage in various forms, some bearing instruments, some hanging acrobatically in the air, while others are right beside you in the stands. This completely immersive experience is certainly the first (and sadly, last) of its kind, and there’s no way I can miss it. – Ellie Herring 

Vulfpeck – May 9

Photo by Ryan Lewis

This band is a walking party. The Red Rocks show last year proved to be one of the most epic of the season and this year is only going to be bigger. Seeing is believing with Vulfpeck, and the four core members know their audience and make sure to mix their hits in with beloved covers to keep the dance floor bumping. This Thursday show will be one to risk the Friday hangover for. – Denby Gardiner 

READ: Vulfpeck Brought the Funk to Red Rocks 

Florence + the Machine – May 20-21

Courtesy of Florence and the Machine’s Facebook

Red Rocks is the kind of ethereal place that seems to beckon for acts like Florence + the Machine. Her powerful and dramatic voice ushers the type of breathless experience that Red Rocks will only amplify. Couple her cosmic energy with opener Christine and the Queens – the French dance-pop act that has been wowing crowds with her immersive performances, and you have a show that’ll linger on your mind long after the concert season ends, and for many years thereafter. – Kori Hazel 

Disclosure (DJ Set) – May 27

Courtesy of Disclosure’s Facebook

For those who have seen Disclosure before, this upcoming Red Rocks performance will be something else entirely. The electronic duo will be touring a brand new DJ set that comes on the heels of their hard-hitting house releases from the past year. The group will also, in rare form, be joined by some of house music’s heaviest hitters – Four Tet, DJ Seinfeld and an extra special back-to-back set featuring Leon Vynehall against Axel Boman. If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, this one’s for the house-heads, taking the club to the iconic amphitheatre – Kori Hazel 

Rainbow Kitten Surprise – June 11

Rainbow Kitten Surprise. Photo by Heather Fairchild

About a year ago, Rainbow Kitten Surprise first slipped into the public’s consciousness with their single, “Fever Pitch.” Its melancholy tune, intense bass, eclectic style and unpredictable turns captivated audiences and brought the band to a new level of fame. On June 11, Rainbow Kitten Surprise is performing at Red Rocks and they’re almost promised to deliver — as anyone who’s seen the band live can attest to — a show that’s theatrical, captivating, emotional and light-hearted all at once. Like many great bands before their time, part of Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s excellence is the way their music transcends genres. The band is comprised of a group from North Carolina, and although there’s a tone to their songs reminiscent of a southern church chorus — threaded with a heavy, southern-rock bass line — their music features elements of rap, hip-hop, indie rock and deeply colorful musical choices that won’t fit inside any one genre. This band is a welcome surprise in an industry that demands a marketable pitch to one demographic in particular. Rainbow Kitten Surprise toys with that expectation. Don’t sleep on their date with Red Rocks — it will be one of the most entertaining shows of the season. – Jess Rendall 

Death Cab for Cutie with Mitski – June 25

riot fest, austin voldseth, sarah heath, 303 magazine
Death Cab for Cutie – Photo by Austin Voldseth

Death Cab for Cutie changed the game for alternative rock in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Transatlanticism carries the same amount of weight today as it did back in 2003. Having them hit the Red Rocks stage, with new project Thank You for Today no less, is a must-see performance. Death Cab isn’t lighting up the theatre alone. Breakout star, Mitski is co-headlining the venue right after the release of her critically-acclaimed sophomore album, Be The Cowboy. Mitski is shaping up the singer-songwriter world of tomorrow with her piercing lyricism and unusual melodic arrangements a la Fiona Apple meets Joni Mitchell. This pairing is sure to create an incredible night of music that one just can’t miss.  – Camila Biddulph

Kacey Musgraves – June 26

Courtesy of Kacey Musgraves’s Facebook

If you haven’t heard the name Kacey Musgraves, then you’ve been living under a rock – literally. The country artist has been making huge waves in the music world, especially over the past few months. Grammy award-winning artist for Album of the Year will make her Red Rocks debut this summer and if her most recent Coachella performance gives us any indication, she’s an artist you won’t want to miss seeing live. Even your anti-country, hardcore rock-loving friend will get off their “High Horse” and sway in their seats, eyes closed to the feeling of blissful euphoria taking over. Hearing her angelic and perfectly pitched voice fill the amphitheatre is going to be nothing short of a religious experience. Musgraves is our preacher and Red Rocks is our church. – Katie Boudreau 

Diana Ross – July 22

Photo Courtesy of Diana Ross’s Facebook

There are few people with careers as illustrious as Diana Ross’ and even fewer hitting Red Rocks from year to year. The surprise announcement from Ross, who has generally kept to her Vegas residency, will also serve as the legendary singer’s debut at the amphitheater. At 75 years old, and with many generations touched by her music, Diana Ross at Red Rocks will be a rare opportunity for her many fans to connect in a completely new way. – Kori Hazel 

Trampled By Turtles – July 24

Trampled By Turtles_ Kenneth Coles 17
photo by Kenneth Coles

The Minnesota bluegrass group has been a fan favorite at Red Rocks for the last few years, and their latest release, 2018’s Life is Good on the Open Road, makes for an even bigger reason to catch them this July. Trampled has performed all over Colorado, including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and it is safe to say they will remain a staple in our concert cycle. Even so, Red Rocks is always the top place to see any band, especially one that shreds like Trampled. – Denby Gardiner

Shakey Graves with Dr. Dog and Caroline Rose – August 15

Shakey Graves photo by Alden Bonecutter

Before Shakey Graves came into critical acclaim, he was known as the one-man band, guitar extraordinaire. Now it’s 2019, and nothing has changed — if you’re reading this, we guess that’s why you love him. On August 15, he’s returning to Red Rocks to headline alongside indie rock group Dr. Dog. They’ve roped in singer-songwriter Caroline Rose — who released a pop-rock album last year — rounding off a lineup that’s sure to satisfy every facet of your craving for folk rock, indie rock and all-around solid Americana songwriting. – Jess Rendall 

STS9 – September 6-7

New Year's Eve 2018
Photo by Ryan Lewis

Each year, STS9 transforms Red Rocks into a magical world of surprises. Their improvisational style of music promises a new experience at every show — even the band isn’t completely sure where the night will lead. With mind-melting visuals to match, every STS9 Red Rocks experience is unforgettable. Last year, the band transformed the stage into a crystal cavern for their 2018 theme, “Cave of Crystals.” This year, the theme is “Push the Sky.” STS9 states, “Our new ‘Push The Sky’ concept will allow us to take the open space of the amphitheater to create an immersive production around our theme of universal mythology… using our music, art and production to create transcendent moments and guide us towards the cosmos to deepen our connection with the universe.” Yeah — that’s one I’m not going to miss. – Ellie Herring 

READ: Q&A- Inside the Cave of Crystals with STS9

RÜFÜS DU SOL – October 2-3

Photo by Alden Bonecutter

It seems as if Australian dance music trio RÜFÜS DU SOL is determined to one-up themselves every time they visit Denver. Starting with a two-night run at the Gothic Theatre in 2016, co-headlining with Chromeo for Funk on the Rocks in 2017 and selling out a two night run at the Fillmore in 2018 — RÜFÜS DU SOL is back for their biggest Colorado performance yet. The trio is returning to Red Rocks on October 2nd and 3rd for a two-night run at the massive amphitheatre. While this won’t be the group’s first time performing at Red Rocks, it will be their first time taking on sole headlining status. The group has certainly earned their stripes — relentlessly touring and playing at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and Denver’s own Decadence. After a string of EPs, RÜFÜS DU SOL broke out into the mainstream with their debut LP Atlas in 2013. Signed to ODESZA’s record label, their 2016 LP, Bloom, seemed to solidify their success as a premier live electronic act — producing radio hits like “You Were Right” and the emotional 10-minute track, “Innerbloom.” RÜFÜS DU SOL has made a name for themselves through their emotional, sweeping soundscapes and has garnered a reputation as one of the most engaging live acts in the electronic music circuit — which explains why their tickets are so coveted by fans. Although the two-night run is months away, tickets are already sold out. Avoid scalpers charging exorbitant rates and opt instead to peruse Facebook pages like “Colorado Ticket Exchange” for face value resale tickets. – Chloe Dore

Vampire Weekend – October 8-9

Courtesy of Vampire Weekend’s Facebook

Vampire Weekend was blacklisted from my Spotify for three years in protest of their break from music that pierced a hole through my heart.They took a six-year break from new music, with Modern Vampires in the City debuting in 2013. Thankfully, the torturous silence ended after a slew of new singles started trickling in throughout the first half of this year. Highlights include the Paul Simon sound-alike “This Life,” and the vocally layered and lyrically sweet “Big Blue.” For a band with no new music in such a long span of time, tickets for their Red Rocks performance sold-out fast, with the venue adding a second date to accommodate the demand. Their newest LP, Father of the Bride, is set to release on May 3, and if the six singles they’ve released from it are any indication, this is another classic Vampire Weekend album. Safe to say, seeing them in concert is a dream come true. – Camila Biddulph

ILLENIUM – October 10-12

Since the release of his debut full-length 2016 album, Ashes, followed by the critically acclaimed Awake in 2017, Nick Miller — aka ILLENIUM — has skyrocketed to national success. October 10-12, Miller will return for his second year headlining at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Friday and Saturday night sets sold out within minutes of going on sale — but Miller quickly assured fans that he was working to secure the third night and urged fans to avoid buying tickets from scalpers. While Saturday is labeled a “Throwback Set,” Friday and Thursday night’s “New Album Live Set” promises to be filled with new music from Miller, hinting that a third album will likely be released later this year. The Denver-based producer and DJ has garnered a massive following in the Mile High City that continues to expand across the country as he engulfs listeners in his trademark “feels”-laden melodic dubstep. But don’t be fooled by the sentimental lyrics — he isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. If you’re looking for a show that is equally as heart-wrenching as it is energizing, look no further. Be sure to snag the last of the tickets while you can as they will almost surely sell out. – Chloe Dore 

  1. Super disappointed with the Red Rocks lineup this year. Maybe I’m getting old, but they just aren’t booking the caliber of artists that they used to.

  2. How could you not put the Pigeons and Twiddle show bro and I believe that Tipper is the day after that and those will be magical shows for sure

  3. Never mind Tipper isn’t there my info was wrong but there are so many great bands there this summer that if these were the “top ones for the summer” it kinda makes me wonder about the author’s taste in music.

  4. You screwed up — Frampton should be on this list …. playing with Humble Pie at 16 == and now doing his farewell tour — it should be a wonderful and memorable concert!

  5. Béla Fleck. That’s it. Outside of Diana Ross this list is rather so-so and I like a couple of them just nothing special or unique about them appearing at Red Rocks this year. Béla is playing with all his friends and wider range of music will not happen: Classical, folk, bluegrass and jazz.

  6. You completely passed over The John Butler Trio. This band was made for Red Rocks!

    1. I’ve never seen J.B.T. sell out arenas that are half the size of r.r. at least not the shows I’ve been too. I suspect that’s why. Love J.b.T.

  7. Been very disappointed with the Red Rocks lineup to past 2 years. Clearly there has been a large shift in the type of bands that play there.

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