It can be odd to visit a place where you haven't been for more than a decade. You get a picture in your head, and it stays there until you finally get another look at the real thing.

I went to the Catacombs, in the basement of the Hotel Boulderado (2115 13th Street, Boulder), quite a few times in the late '90s. I saw Lionel Young completely killing it on a violin during one of the blues jams he used to host every week. Dude was holding his violin like a guitarist would and laying down some truly bad-ass, Hendrix-inspired riffs soaked in distortion. I went back to hear him several more times and even sat in on a few of those blues jams. I'd never seen anyone play the violin the way he did, and it isn't the kind of thing you forget, even a decade later.

I didn't forget how the live-music room at the Catacombs looked, either: dark and cavernous, almost like Francis Ford Coppola's take on Dracula, minus Keanu Reeves's absurd British accent.



So when I popped in after a recent show at the Boulder Theater, I was surprised to find my memory playing tricks on me. For starters, I couldn't get my bearings: It's a frickin' labyrinth down there, with so many rooms I lost track. But the place definitely seemed a lot better lit than before — which was a good thing, since a guy might have trouble finding the head if the lights were any dimmer, especially after a few beers.

My two friends and I finally found the room where Young used to play. It was downright bright, filled with happy drinkers. We walked into the next room, and a guy playing pool asked if we'd won.

"You can't win if you don't play," my buddy said.

"Yeah, you're right," the pool player said. "It's kinda like the presidential election."

Turns out that Geeks Who Drink were hosting a game in the space where Young once played.

And there were definitely a few ways to win that night, whether at trivia, pool, air hockey, scoring with someone — or just updating old memories.

Club scout: Cherry Creek should get a little livelier now that more places are offering live music. This past weekend, Tambien (250 Steele) kicked off its weekly Rockabilly and Ribs, running every Sunday through the summer from 2 to 7 p.m. In addition to host DJ DogBoy spinning platters, the restaurant will feature rockabilly, honky-tonk and roots bands, and serve up Mexican barbecue and $2.50 Modelos. The new Q Blues & Jazz Bar (2817 East Third Avenue), next to Q Worldly Barbeque, will soon bring in bands Wednesdays through Sundays. And a block away, Plush Lounge (2710 East Third Avenue) is now hosting live Latin music from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

In LoDo, Monarck (1416 Market Street) and the upstairs 24K are throwing a Glow in the Dark Tour Pre-Party on Thursday, April 24, when they'll give away five pairs of tickets for Kanye West's April 27 show at the Pepsi Center. But for a chance to win the tix, you have send an RSVP to Kevin Larson will host his sixth annual Twisted Birthday Bash on Saturday, April 26, at the Curtis (1405 Curtis Street), where DJs Brian Howe, Devo and MLE will be at the decks. This year, Larson has added a Balloon Couture Fashion Show, with Quill creating balloon outfits that each take four to five hours to tie. You might want to leave the darts at home.


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