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A couple of weeks ago, Backwash lamented Rock Island's decision to stop hosting live local music on Thursday nights -- among other things, owner David Clamage cited the difficulty of drawing music crowds to LoDo, an area now more associated with sports and dance clubs than with rock bands in all their amplified glory. Besides, Clamage said, there were already plenty of good places to get down downtown, the 15th Street Tavern and Soiled Dove among them.
Flying in the face of all the conventional wisdom about LoDo and the ballpark neighborhood is the Flying Dog Brewery; this weekend it becomes a performance venue, too. Back in December, the brewery moved from its former digs on Broadway to 2401 Blake Street -- a space large enough to accommodate a stage and offer live music three nights a week. This new arrangement, Flying Dog booking manager Gary Snyder notes, is a go, barring any trouble from the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, which as of this writing was this close to approving the brewpub's cabaret application.
"We plan to book a really diverse lineup," Snyder says. "Everything from rock and roll to jazz to acoustic, improvisational, open-mike type stuff. We've considered getting some regular gigs from some bands like the East Colfax All-Stars and having them play the same night every week. It's really a work in progress right now, and we're all anxious to learn as we go."
Snyder feels confident that live music will be a successful addition to Flying Dog's menu, although he's aware of the sometimes uncertain state of live performance in nearby LoDo, where a few venues compete for a relatively small audience. The brewery's primary concern -- beer! -- is one that will be complemented by, but not reliant on, music-seeking crowds. The allegedly pending opening of House of Blues a dozen blocks away on Larimer Street, for example, gives Snyder no worries. "I hope they do come in here," he says. "I'd like to meet Dan Aykroyd."
But first he wants to get the brewery's own club open. "We just want to be a laid-back place where you can hear some music, but we're not trying to reinvent ourselves as a nightclub or a rock club," he says. "We love the idea of getting involved in entertainment, but we're really hoping that we can use the music to introduce new people to our beers." (Funny, in Backwash's experience, it's usually large amounts of beer that lead people to really get into live music.)
Local acts looking to fly onto the brewpub's new stage can contact Snyder at 303-292-2555. Good dog.