The Beatdown

Damn right, Brendan's has got the blues.

So was the room itself. House engineer Scott Griess had that space completely dialed in. Whether you thought you were Denny Terrio or just wanted to sit and absorb the sounds and vibrations with your friends, the sonics were perfect: not so loud that you couldn't carry on a conversation, not so quiet that your chatter would disturb the groove. Most soundmen are willing to sacrifice tone for volume, but not Griess. On this night, every note from every instrument had clear and distinct separation. This is, hands down, the best-sounding room in the city, a testament to both Griess's ability and the EAW system itself, put together by noted sound guru Rich O'Dell.

Aside from that, Brendan's best feature could be its bathrooms. As I watched the mutant version of American Bandstand -- where Permagrin was now joined by a dozen of his brethren -- Geno Cherenzia (or just Geno, for anyone who's had the pleasure of meeting him), the club's longtime manager, spotted me in the crowd. "Have you seen the bathrooms yet?" he asked. "We call it MOABB -- the Mother of All Blues Bathrooms. You've gotta check it out." Normally, no one gets too excited about a club's lavatory. But if you'd ever had the unfortunate experience of using the bathrooms at the old Brendan's, you'd know why Geno was so excited about the new facilities. While the abhorrent smell at the old place was mainly due to the fact that three bars/restaurants shared the same grease disposal, the bathroom stench surely didn't help matters. In fact, the Market Street facilities may have rivaled those at New York's CBGB for the worst potties in the world.

Still, nature had been blowing up my phone for the past half-hour, and that was incentive enough to visit "the Mother." And if I hadn't known better, all that elegant tile on the floors and backsplash and the fresh coat of sky-blue paint would have convinced me I was in a posh, five-star hotel bathroom in Aspen.

A lot of planning went into this club, with months spent working out the smallest details. Geraghty and his partners -- sister Sheila Geraghty and Tom Walls (Trinity, Rocky Mountain Diner, Choppers) -- listened to all the complaints about the old place (the small dance floor, the obstructed view, the bathrooms) and addressed them here. Musicians will dig the "green room" -- complete with leather couches, a shower and a refrigerator loaded with beers -- where they can chill post-gig; they'll also appreciate the ease of loading and unloading on a clear path directly from the back-alley door to the stage. And customers will enjoy the VIP area, which comes with its own waitstaff and can be reserved for parties of twenty or more.

But while the Delta roadhouse feel of the old joint has been traded for a swank Chicago-supper-club vibe, everything that made the original Brendan's special is still here in abundance: great music and a friendly, unpretentious atmosphere.

This weekend marks Brendan's grand opening. On Thursday, July 10, Michael Hornbuckle will play from 8 p.m. to midnight. Five bucks will get you in and buy you three drink tickets; proceeds from the evening will go to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Nina Storey gets things going early on Friday, with a non-smoking show from 8 to 10 p.m.; a portion of the $12 cover will also benefit the CCH. Brendan's all-star house band will close out Friday night and be back on stage Saturday with Diana Castro.

As for Mr. Permagrin? That entertainment is free.

Fresh-squeezed: Chris Sauthoff (aka Citrus) left his gig as guitarist with Lord of Word and the Disciples of Bass over a decade ago -- but he still has plenty of love for the Lord. "That man is my brother and my hero," he says of Theo Smith. "Thanks for sparkin' all those memories."

I wrote about Theo in the June 26 Beatdown, after running into him at Rise, where he's dancing at night while preparing a new album, Lordgasm, by day. And it turns out that Citrus, too, is busy planning a second coming. When he's not performing stage-manager duties for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic -- which he's been doing since he left DOB in 1994 -- or playing with P-Funk, he's fronting the recently re-formed Stone Koolies, the band he left to join up with Theo. The Koolies will have a few local dates before Citrus hits the road with Clinton in August; in the meantime, you can catch him on Monday nights at Dulcinea's 100th Monkey (717 East Colfax Avenue), where he's been sitting in with the Byron Shaw Project (Jonez, Judge Roughneck) and Cocktail Revolution, a drum-and-bass ensemble, in the venue's 3D Lounge.

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