Breaking down Belly Up Aspen’s winter lineup
As Belly Up Aspen prepares to toast its 15th anniversary over X Games weekend, the music club that’s made this remote ski town an unlikely pop music destination is steadily filling in its winter lineup.
The December and January headliners are pretty much set, with new announcements trickling in regularly. So at this point you can study the lineup and start planning your winter concert schedule.
In recent winters, the EDM lineup at Belly Up has rivaled some Las Vegas clubs for its bold-faced names from the global DJ jet set. This year is no exception, as dance music dominates winter with a starry lineup that ramps up in the days before Christmas: Big Gigantic (Dec. 22), Cedric Gervais (Dec. 23), ZHU (Dec. 26), and Bob Moses with Nora En Pure (Dec. 29).
That run of shows caps off with the club’s annual New Year’s Eve blowout, headlined this year by Australian hit-maker of the moment Flume (Dec. 30 and 31).
And for anybody who’s got the energy to keep dancing, Emancipator is returning for a New Year’s Day show and Dillon Francis headlines the first Saturday night of 2020 (Dec. 4).
X Games weekend has been a cornerstone of the club’s international cachet since it opened during X Games in 2005. This year’s X Games shows — paired with sets by each headliner at the Buttermilk venue — includes the much-hyped EDM sets from Colorado’s own Illenium (Jan. 22) and Alesso (Jan. 24), followed by hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd (Jan. 25) and R&B singer Bazzi (Jan. 26).
The early season includes a pair of much-anticipated indie bands with Modest Mouse (Dec. 14) and The Head and the Heart (Dec. 16).
Rapper Lupe Fiasco, who astounded at the club in late 2017, is back to headline Feb. 9.
There are still plenty of open dates in March and late ski season, so expect more big announcements to come. The big spring show on the books, so far, is rocker Grace Potter, who headlines two nights (March 26 and 27).
Many local favorites are also on the docket, including Boulder-based singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov (Dec. 6), who was a regular at Belly Up and Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale for years but hasn’t been back in several seasons. Other returning local heroes include the rapper Matisyahu (Dec. 5) and DJ duo The Floozies (Dec. 7).
Some artists, of course, you can count on returning here every year. Among the regulars coming back this year: the Wood Brothers in mid-December (Dec. 11 this year, sold out) and a two-night run from Thievery Corporation (Dec. 18-19) and two from Railroad Earth (Jan. 28-29), the dependably mind-blowing Martin Sexton (Feb. 11), Donavon Frankenreiter (Feb. 21) and Keller Williams (March 8).
A pair of Aspen’s country favorites also are back: Pat Green (Jan. 10) and Lyle Lovett, who has brought Aspen émigré Lance Armstrong onstage to sing during his last few stops, performing with his Acoustic Group on March 3.
And the slate of jam-band bookings already includes North Mississippi All-Stars (Feb. 19), O.A.R. (Feb. 27) and Spafford (March 13).
While the Wheeler Opera House has doubled down on its resurgent status as Aspen’s stand-up comedy hub, Belly Up still has a pair of big-ticket comics booked: David Spade (Jan. 2) and Brian Regan (Feb. 10).
It all starts Thanksgiving weekend, typically a wild local-centric run of shows packed with seasonal and permanent Aspenites. This year’s features a no-cover concert from the beloved Colorado-based Grateful Dead cover band Shakedown Street (Nov. 29) and a Saturday night concert from EDM producer SoDown (Nov. 30).
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The new Bud Light Music on the Mountains series is hosting DJs and bands for mid-day pop-up concerts for skiers and snowboarders.