Seventeen years! It's hard to believe we've been doing the Westword Music Showcase for that long. I can still remember being at the first one in LoDo nearly two decades ago. And when I think back, it seems like that cold, rainy Sunday night was just a few years ago.
But then I get to thinking of all the summers that have passed since and all the great headliners who have performed at the Showcase over the years -- Guided by Voices, Violent Femmes, Built to Spill, Dinosaur Jr., Superchunk, A Place to Bury Strangers, Ghostland Observatory, Drive-By Truckers, Lucero, Dirty Projectors, Neon Indian, Ra Ra Riot -- and I marvel at how far it's come since then.
And that's just a short list of the acts I can remember headlining since I've been at Westword, a list that doesn't include all of the homegrown outfits that have performed at the Showcase. From the Fray and the Flobots to Nathaniel Rateliff and the Rouge to Pictureplane and Chain Gang of 1974, we've had the privilege of hosting some of Denver's best up-and-coming acts over the years -- and then elevating them to our unofficial hall of fame when they reach a certain level of success.
And that, after all, is what the Showcase is all about, the whole reason the festival was created: to showcase the best locals, and help them along. That's where the Music Showcase Ballot comes in. Arriving at this list every year is a painstaking process. Having helped curate the festival for nearly a decade, I can tell you that the job gets more challenging every year, thanks to the staggering number of new acts that keep emerging.
If you're just joining us, here's how the process works: After we've hand-picked the main-stage performers, we reach out to our nominating committee -- people from every part of the scene -- for their input and ask them simply to list the twenty bands who made the biggest impression on them in the past year. (We also ask that they refrain from nominating their friends, relatives, collaborators, colleagues, business associates or anybody else they might have ties to.)
After determining that some acts, like Rateliff this year, have grown too big for the ballot, we basically match the committee's picks against ours and formulate the list, doing our best to put the artists in the appropriate categories. This is probably the most hand-wringing part of the process, since -- and this is certainly a testament to the diversity of our scene -- many of the acts in Denver don't fit neatly into a single category. Just the same, we do our best.
This year, based upon feedback we received last year, we added some new categories, eliminated some old ones and simplified and/or altered others. In the end, we ended up with a ballot that consists of 235 acts in forty categories. We had to make some tough decisions and, as a result, we may have left off some acts that you feel are deserving. Unfortunately, this is an unavoidable part of the process.
But you don't have to suffer in silence. If you think something's missing, don't be shy. Let us know which acts were overlooked by adding their names on the write-in portion of the ballot in the category that makes sense. And if you think we blew it with the categories, let us know that, too. We're listening, and your feedback could make a difference next year.
Important: if your act is listed on the following pages, please drop us a line as soon as possible so that we can get your current contact info and ensure you're included in our Showcase coverage this year.
Click through for the list of acts appearing on this Westword Music Showcase Ballot and then be sure to cast your vote!
POP - TRADITIONAL Boys Della The Heyday The Northern Way Regret Night
POP - ALTERNATIVE The Centennial The Congress The Epilogues Flashbulb Fires Monroe Monroe My Body Sings Electric Take to the Oars Traitors to the Queen Vices I Admire Young Cities
POP - INDIE Fingers of the Sun Kissing Party Lil' Slugger Port Au Prince SAUNA
ROCK - TRADITIONAL The Big Motif The Foot. Kinetix Musketeer Gripweed Something Underground
ROCK - ALTERNATIVE The Knew Bad Weather California Houses Overcasters The Swayback
ROCK - INDIE Achille Lauro Amazing Twin FaceMan Fierce Bad Rabbit Hearts In Space Hindershot Jim McTurnan & the Kids that Killed the Man Le Divorce Pacific Pride Snake Rattle Rattle Snake
ROCK - HEAVY The Mighty 18 Wheeler Holley 750 Kingdom of Magic Lords of Fuzz Space In Time
ROCK - PROGRESSIVE Eolian The Inactivists I Sank Molly Brown Panal S.A. DE C.V. Yerkish
ROCK - PSYCH ROCK/SHOEGAZE A Shoreline Dream Gauntlet Hair Tjutjuna Vitamins Woodsman
ROCK - ROOTS 4H-Royalty Arliss Nancy Surplus Cheaper Hands The Gromet Tin Horn Prayer
ROCK - JAM/IMPROV Frogs Gone Fishin' Jet Edison Mountain Standard Time Whiskey Tango Yamn
HIP-HOP - MC (MALE) Cavem Moetavation Haven Innerstate Ike King FOE Mane Rok Midas Rockie SP Double Spoke In Wordz Whygee
HIP-HOP - MC (FEMALE) Bianca Mikahn D'Girl Isis Speaks Kalyn Heffernan (Wheelchair Sports Camp) Rie Rie
HIP-HOP - GROUP BLKHRTS Diamond Boiz Fresh Breath Committee The Pirate Signal Prime Element
HIP-HOP - BAND Air Dubai Big Wheel Electrosoul The Food Chain MTHDS Whiskey Blanket
HIP-HOP - PRODUCER Boonie Mayfield Davey Boy Es-Nine GirlGrabbers Kid Hum
PUNK Boldtype Elway Frontside Five Thee Goochi Boiz King Rat Lola Black Lyin' Bitch and the Restraining Orders Reno Divorce Synthetic Elements St. Fall Apart
POST-PUNK Accordion Crimes Gangcharger Ideal Fathers Lion Sized Lust-Cats of the Gutters Night of Joy The Photo Atlas The Uncertain Sea Vicious Women Wire Faces
HARDCORE/POST-HARDCORE Git Some Glass Hits Il Cattivo Joy Subtraction Solar Bear
METAL Adai Arcanium Black Sleep of Kali Cannons Havok Horse Lost Point Novus Folium Spools of Dark Thread Trees
METAL - EXTREME Allegaeon Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire Enemy Reign Ploy for Extinction To Be Eaten
AMERICANA Boulder Acoustic Society Elephant Revival Paper Bird Safe Boating Is No Accident The Raven and the Writing Desk
FOLK/ACOUSTIC Churchill Dovekins Glowing House Radical Knitting Circle Sunshine House
BLUEGRASS Head for the Hills Long Road Home Oakhurst Spring Creek
SINGER-SONGWRITER A. Tom Collins Kal Cahoone John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light Ian Cooke Danielle Ate the Sandwich Patrick Dethlefs Rob Drabkin Katey Laurel Mike Marchant's Outer Space Party Unit Caleb Slade
COUNTRY Casey James Prestwood & the Burning Angels Halden Wofford & the High Beams The Hollyfelds Marty Jones & the Great Unknowns The New Ben Franklins
ELECTRONIC ALERT CacheFlowe Big Gigantic Paper Diamond Signal Path
ELECTRONIC - EXPERIMENTAL Alphabets Candy Claws Nervesandgel Modern Witch Pictureplane
AMBIENT/NOISE Married In Berdichev Iuengliss Kevin Costner Suicide Pact Page 27 Novasak
ELECTRO POP Flashlights Force Publique Hideous Men ManCub King Mob
JAZZ Aakash Mittal Group Convergence Greg Harris Vibe Quintet Ninth + Lincoln Orchestra SuperCollider
BLUES The Informants Lionel Young Boa and the Constrictors John Alex Mason Reckless Red
FUNK Bop Skizzum Demon Funkies Filthy Children Funkiphino Juno What
SOUL/R&B Dae Dai Adam Duncan Will Guice The Love Royale Sista Soul
REGGAE/DUB Apex Vibe Desciples Dubskin Judge Roughneck Slaughterhouse Rootz
GOTHIC Beryl Beloved Choke the Word The Siren Project The Silver Chord The Widow's Bane
WORLD Colcannon Euforquestra The Indulgers Pink Hawks Potcheen
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DJ - DANCE Dragon Ishe Kostas K Manufactured Superstars Trajikk
DJ -HIP-HOP Cysko Rokwel KTone Lowkey Sounds Supreme Vajra
DJ - PROGRESSIVE Peter Black boyhollow Ginger Perry Klaw MU$A
Nominating Committee: Dominic Atencio, David Barber, John Baxter, Kim Baxter, Cassidy Bednark, Morris Beegle, Mark Bliesener, Jonathan Bitz, Christian Blochinger, Hillary Bonner, Chris Callaway, Britt Chester, Sean Choi, Ryan Chrys, Gretta Cornett, Bree Davies, Virgil Dickerson, Daniel Ericson, Guy Errickson, Tyler Gillmore, Pete Gurule, Eric Halborg, Sam Hanson, Dave Herrera, Jamie Hillyer, Leonard Jackson, Angelica Jimenez, Lucas Johannes, Ru Johnson, Thorin Klosowski, Chris Kresge, Scott LaBarbera, John Le, Sarah Levin, Kamau Martinez, Chris Meehan, Dave Meyer, Ryan McRyhew, Evan Mellichampe, Tom Murphy, Paul Padilla, Adam Perry, Sid Pink, Nathan Reid, Rob Rodgers, Rachael Romero, Quibian Salazar-Moreno, Dutch Seyfarth, Sarah Slater, Jon Solomon, Chase Squires, Angie Stevens, Mark Sundermeier, Doug Tackett, Amber Taufen, Billy Thieme, Andy Thomas, Chris Thomas, Michael Trundle, Tim Weilert, D. Williams, John Wenzel