Backbeat's 2014 Colorado bucket list: #15-6
What are the hundred things everyone should do in Colorado before they die? We posed this question to our writers and editors, and over the next week, we'll be rolling out the answers across our blogs. Check back on tomorrow for the full list -- and in the meantime, feel free to post your own suggestions below.
15. See a summer concert at Chautauqua Auditorium
Built over a century ago, the Chautauqua Auditorium is one of most distinctive venues in the state with its barn-like construction. The 1,300-person spot, which is open from May through September, brings in an impressive line-up every summer; folks like Chris Isaak, Lyle Lovett, Joan Baez and Wynton Marsalis have all played there.
14. See a summer concert at Mishawaka Amphitheatre
For decades, the Mishawaka Amphitheatre has been one of the state's legendary outdoor music venues, bringing in stellar line-ups of both national and local acts every summer. Located right next to the Poudre River, not too far from Fort Collins, the Mish is small enough with a 750-person capacity to good view of any of the rock, jam-centric, bluegrass, reggae bands the venue brings in.
13. Play the open mic night at the Meadowlark
While the intimate Meadowlark hosts a stellar weekly jazz jam on Mondays, it's also had a long-running Tuesday night open stage. The weekly gathering on the small basement stage has attracted a number of the city's finest singer-songwriters over the years who have come to test new material or refine older songs. Come play in the spot where the Lumineers, then a duo after moving here from the East Coast, first got their start, playing many an open stage here before moving on to bigger venues.
12. Play at the blues jam at Ziggies
Established four decades ago, Ziggie's has been known as the oldest blues bar in Denver. And over the years, the Sunday blues jams there have become legendary. While the Blues AllStars and Doc Brown Blues Band alone are reason enough to visit the spot on Sundays, jammers are given a warm welcome here, and it's an inviting spot to hone your chops.
11. See a show at a DIY space like Rhinoceropolis or 7th Circle Music Collective
Denver has a long tradition of off-the-beaten path one-off shows and DIY venues going back to at least the '70s. Today, this approach is best embodied at Rhinoceropolis and 7th Circle Music Collective. These are places where you can most easily witness emerging and developing talent before it plays more commercial spaces. Much of the underground show circuit still exists and can only be seen at places like Rhino and 7th Circle. In years past, acts like HEALTH, Lightning Bolt, Dan Deacon, Matt & Kim, High Places and Indian Jewelry tried to only play DIY venues for the level of freedom of performance presentation it offered and for the access those places offer to people under drinking age. Yeah, you won't be able to buy alcohol at these places, but if you want to see something before it gets too refined, look no further. You can say you were there when instead of merely reading about it later.
Ken Hamblin III
10. Go to Lipgloss
With the exception of perhaps only one other famed club night, which has lasted since the early '90s, Lipgloss is Denver's longest running club night. More than a dozen years after first being launched, the night, helmed by co-founder Michael Trundle, still attracts a throng of dancers every Friday night to Beauty Bar, where Lipgloss moved from its former home at La Rumba nearly two years ago. Make it a point to come out and see why Lipgloss has lasted so long, and why its played host to so many high profile guest DJs over the years like Andy Rourke from the Smiths and Peter Hook from Joy Division and New Order.
9. See a jazz show at El Chapultepec
Aside from jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, Eddie Harris, rockers like Bono and Mick Jagger, even former president Bill Clinton, have stopped by El Chapultepec since Jerry Krantz, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 77, inherited it 1968 from his father-in-law Tony Romano. As saxophonist Max Wagner, who headed up the house band there for three years, says, "The best of the best and the greatest of the greatest came through that place and played there because they could count on a great rhythm section and an open door policy to visiting jazz dignitaries that is very rare across the county."
8. See a jazz show at Dazzle
While it's one thing to see jazz luminaries at some bigger venues in the area, seeing legends like Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Lee Konitz, Jim Hall or Bill Frisell in the intimate confines of Dazzle is a completely captivating experience. With a feel not too far off from New York's famed Village Vanguard, Dazzle doesn't really have a bad seat in the house.
7. Crate dig at Twist & Shout and Wax Trax
While CDs sales were down 14.5 percent last year, vinyl sales increased 32 percent last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Sure, it's much easier to get your hands on newer vinyl releases and vinyl reissues these days, but there's still the thrill of the hunt for rare and unique stuff that you'd never find digitally, and both Twist & Shout and Wax Trax are two of the best spots in town to flip through the wax.
6. Record a song at the Blasting Room
Recording at the Blasting Room in and of itself won't make you famous, but it will make you feel that way when you stop to think about all of the acts that have recorded there. Name a topshelf local act and chances are better than good that they've tracked here -- and so has a parade of other lauded out-of-towners like Rise Against, NOFX, Gogol Bordello and As I Lay Dying. It's the facilities as much as the people running it. Founded in the mid '90s by Bill Stevenson of the Descendents, the Fort Collins studio also boasts the keen ear of Stevenson's partner Jason Livermore and Andrew Berlin. Trust us: You can hear the difference.
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