The Aztlan Theater, at 974 Santa Fe Drive, has held a soft spot in my heart ever since it introduced me to some of the amazing music available in the city I'd moved to (specifically, Moore and Love .45's original incarnation, known as Undertow back then). But every time I've been in the venue lately, it's looked worse than the time before. Owner Tim Correa, who leases the building to other promoters, has long wanted to sell the building (asking price: $900,000); in the meantime, as it continues to decompose, the Aztlan holds less and less appeal for acts and attendees alike.
Not for Mike Harrer, though. The Ohio transplant loves the Aztlan, and he has a plan for restoring its former glory. He's rented the place on July 16, when he'll fill it with top local bands the Fray, Antik and Misunderstood, along with newcomer A Hint of the Red, in an attempt to show Correa "what I can bring to the table," Harrer explains. A promoter as well as a performer, he's already set up his own $20,000 sound system in the Aztlan for next week's show and has bought ads on 93.3-FM to promote it. If the concert's a success, he promises that he has more in the works.
Harrer's already earned local music lovers' respect by introducing near-weekly Friday-night performances at Chammps Americana restaurant in Park Meadows. If he can save the Aztlan, he'll be a real hero.
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Morris Beegle of Hapi Skratch Records (www.hapiskratch.com) insists that "the heart of rock and roll is in Loveland!" -- and to prove that it's still beating there, he's launched the Hapi Skratch Original Music Showcase at Out of Bounds, a club at 281-A East 29th Street in Loveland. Previously devoted to standard bar stylings and a revolving schedule of cover acts, Out of Bounds was transformed over the past year by Loveland native Greg Koch, who books the bar and drums for one of its regular bands, 69 Times. Thanks to impressive, laborious work by Koch, the venue's sound and lighting systems are greatly improved, as is the stage. Hapi Skratch's Chris K now describes the place as "phenomenal," and an obvious choice for such worthy Showcase events as Rubber Planet on July 14 and Until We Wake on July 21.