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MUSIC CITIES: The DENVER Music Guide for the Independent Touring Band

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Bands, artists, music geeks and lovers of music around the globe… Welcome to this blog! We are SIR, an alternative pop rock trio based out of Denver. We wrote this to help you connect with the right venues and bands on your tour stop in Colorado. Please connect with us as well- we are always looking for show swaps across the country.

Whatever you are into, Denver has it! Our music scene is thriving. There are so many venues and so many artists. As touring musicians we know that being on the road can be hard. All of the hours traveling, the loading, the unloading, sleeping on couches and cheap hotels, and the 5% of the time we actually get to spend playing music.  None of that is as hard as it can be booking, promoting, and getting press for shows. We can be so isolated from each other, but we are always trying to find new artists to play and share information with. This blog will hopefully save you some time and effort when it comes to booking a Denver gig and finding local bands, as well as inspire us all to make more connections across the country.

There are so many great venues, but just like most cities, they don’t have built in crowds. Negotiate the best deal you can, but don’t expect to make any money unless you can secure a guarantee or bring people out. The good news though, is that Denver loves music and is generally very friendly. Get into town a day early, wander down Colfax or Broadway. Make some new friends and pass out flyers. Check out Denver music on Facebook and see who you can connect with.

VENUES:

The Larimer Lounge (approx 225 cap) is an indie rock venue, located in the hip RiNo district. It’s the type of venue that has stickers and graffiti covering the bathroom walls, a green room with an old smokey couch, and a back patio with its own bar. They have a relatively small stage, but a powerful, updated sound system. Walking distance to multiple restaurants and bars, the Larimer Lounge is open 7 days a week.

The Hi-Dive (approx 300 cap) on South Broadway is a Denver staple. Great stage, great sound, and a dark, rock vibe. It is often the go spot for Denver best up and coming bands.

The Marquis Theatre (approx 500 cap) hosts both national and regional bands almost every night of the week. Most shows fall into the rock/punk vein, and its often open to all ages.

3 Kings Tavern (Approx 400 cap) is known for its punk rock shows and burlesque.

The Walnut Room (Approx 180 cap) is a great stage with great sound. Perfect as an intimate listening room for singer songwriters or duo’s, but you’ll still find some of Denver’s best bands there.

Located right on Colfax, you’ll find Lost Lake, a divey rock bar with shows every night. Most shows are a $5-10 cover and this smaller room can feel good with 50 people in it.

The Summit Music Hall is a 1,000 person venue, and although they host National acts, they have a smaller side stage called the Moon Room.

If the music you play is a little more eclectic, check out the Mercury Cafe (Approx 100 cap). It is a community based restaurant, bar, and venue, proudly serving organic food and powered by the wind and the sun. Their sound system isn’t much, but because it is an all ages venue and restaurant, there is a built in crowd that enjoys supporting the arts.

Other venues to check out are the Oriental Theater, Globe Hall, Syntax Physics Opera, Herman’s Hideaway, the Toad Tavern, Soiled Dove, Pearl’s, Ophelia’s, Meadowlark, Lion’s Lair and Cervantes.

BANDS:

We made a Spotify playlist called “Hell Ya Denver Music”. (listen below) Please help spread it by following, sharing, and if you are inspired, making one for your city!

It would be impossible to name even a fraction of the bands in Denver. If you are a touring artist and have a small Denver draw, reach out to a local band and see if you can book a show together. They will be doing you a favor- after all, they have the crowd, the contacts with the venue, and know the city… but most will be happy to help. Offer them something in return, like a show trade in your city. Even if they aren’t able to play the show with you, ask for other band suggestions, venue contacts, or any good suggestions for accommodations.

A few of our favorites include dj CRL CRRLL, alternative indie band My Body Sings Electric, the dance pop band Retrofette, party starter and hip hop rapper SF1, modern folk trio Edison, synth punk band Slow Caves and poetry rhymer Lily Fangz. Check out Church Fire and Wildermiss, Shatterproof and Redlands as well.

And….Here is a very long list of a few Denver artists to look up:

Instant Empire, iZCALLi, The Still Tide, Wheelchair Sports Camp, Coles Whalen, Dearling, Brett Randell, Popfilter, Pandas & People, Natalie Tate, Megan Burtt, Jen Korte and the Loss, Andy Thomas’ Dust Heart, Atlas, Eldren, Boat Drinks, Chimney Choir, Kissing Party, Chella and the Charm, Dragondeer, Get Along, In/Planes, Montropo, Oko Tygra, Post Paradise, The Knock, Sur Ellz, Whole Milk, Zolo Jesus, The Baltic.

 

THE CITY:

Denver is a hipster city. We have local bars, breweries and distilleries on almost every corner. We have block parties and festivals all summer long. You can walk into a dispensary and buy your favorite strain of weed if you have an id. We have gays bars, dive bars, speakeasies, tequila bars, upscale bars, dance clubs, after hours clubs, and everything in between. The city is busy every night of the week. Even if you have a hard time finding a venue, hit up some of the dive bars that will occasionally have bands. (Streets of London, The Garage, Tooeys).

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Angela Mastrogiacomo

Founder of Infectious Magazine & Muddy Paw Public Relations. Lover of passion, ice cream, and books.

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