High Plains Underground Archive

194 Photos From the Heyday of Rhinoceropolis

From 2008 through 2010, the DIY space Rhinoceropolis and its sister venue Glob experienced their most active periods. The DIY touring circuit was still in full swing and many of the buzz bands in the underground made Rhino a stop along their route across America. I went to Rhino and Glob and shows in general most often during these years, because you could be sure to run into a band you knew little about and become inspired by the show both in terms of quality and diversity. For me, Rhino and Glob were high on the list of places to see bands like HEALTH, Women, Lovers, Author & Punisher, Vivian Girls, High Places, Dan Deacon, Future Islands and the like before any of them much played a more commercial venue in Colorado. Some of the bands went on to some degree of mainstream success, some did not, but I never regretted going to a show at Rhino or Glob at that time. Even when Hog Splitter brought in an actual hog's head from a meat shop and I had assumed it was very convincing even down to the dripping liquid as the head thawed. Horrifying, yes, but unforgettable. But mostly it was shows where you got to see stuff that wouldn't necessarily happen anywhere else and acts that preferred the grittiness of DIY spaces to the other kind of grittiness found in dive bars.

There are a ton of pictures this go 'round so I won't summarize much except to say that I had to cut a great deal from what I'm sharing in the interest of space and will perhaps share more at a later date for another project. For now, enjoy a glimpse into Rhino and Glob during their busiest years from 2008 to 2010. Also, the final two installments of this photo retrospective will be the photography of the late Kyle King and the later/current Rhino/Glob years. You can see the first one here.




*Author's Note on the High Plains Underground Archive: In the late 1990s, I started going to local shows on a regular basis. Growing up in the '70s and '80s, I didn't know there was such a thing as local music worth checking out. But I was drawn in after seeing a band called Rainbow Sugar (an all-female punk/hip-hop/experimental guitar rock extravaganza) opening for Sleater-Kinney's first show in Colorado at The Fox Theatre in October 1998. Next, I learned about a show at the now-defunct Rebis Galleries. From there I went to the first Monkey Mania show, and there was no looking back.

Rainbow Sugar was the first local band I photographed at Herman's Hideaway in 1999. But it was in 2005 when I got my first digital camera that my extensive photo archive started. In this series, called High Plains Underground Archive, I will share a small fraction of the tens of thousands of those photos, focusing on specific venues, bands, time periods, movements and whatever else seems to make sense. The title of this series comes from the working title of my book on the history of underground music in Denver 1975 to the present.

- Seven of Denver's Most Underrated Bands
- Wolf Eyes' John Olson Talks About the Importance of Music Communities
- Why DIY Venues Are Vital Are Vital to the Health of the Entire Music Scene
- DIY or Die: Why Denver Need Under-The-Radar, All-Ages Arts Spaces

If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.
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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.