Some good news on the local club scene.
Club Mecca, at 1360 College Avenue in Boulder, provides something that the Denver-Boulder area has never really had--an all-ages, no-alcohol, after-hours hip-hop club. The venue is in the space that once housed Ground Zero, a nightspot known for its dark, semi-industrial look, but members of Project Interact, a four-year-old urban art coalition and creative sanctuary to young graffiti artists in the area, have remade it. Carlos Windham, co-founder of the project with Mecca owner Robert Territo, says, "We did absolutely amazing things. Plus we redid the sound system so it's appropriate to hip-hop and some of the other music we're doing down here." Adds Windham, who is also a partner alongside David Dodson, aka Divine Son Incarnate, in Ringshout Productions, one of the primary firms behind the club, Mecca also sports a "fun room" for live performances, a back room featuring pool tables, arcade games and a jukebox loaded with hip-hop, and a smoking room for tobacco junkies who are welcome at few other public places in Boulder.
Windham--known as Los the Scribe--is only 24, but he displays a thorough knowledge of the genre's mores. "We grew up on this music," he says, "and we really understand the traditions." He adds that since Mecca's spectacular late-June opening, which drew over 1,100 people, "things have been real peaceful, real mellow. It's a real community effort. We've finally found how to come off tight instead of competing with each other. We come as a united force to give people an accurate, honest representation of hip-hop."
To that end, Ringshout, which is overseeing Wednesday festivities at the club, has scheduled a wide variety of events, including a July 17 DJ contest called "King of the Hill," to be judged by Mussa Bailey; among the contestants expected to appear are Chonz and Hen-gee. Sol Productions and 3-Deep Productions are also regular contributors to Mecca, sponsoring everything from dance nights replete with techno and jungle jams to a Saturday, July 13, appearance by Tha Alkaholiks--a first-rate trio, albeit one whose name is somewhat ironic given the club's liquorless approach. Clearly, Mecca is accurately named--and Windham hopes its positive vibe will keep it hip-hopping over the long haul. "We say on all our fliers, 'Come in peace or don't come at all.' We don't want to rip anything down--because this is about the evolution of a music."
Another new place to spend your evenings is Area 39, at 3900 Pecos. Owner Haylar Garcia is known to locals as frontman with the defunct Hippie Werewolves and the current combo Johnson; hence, he's dedicated to bringing a musician's sensibility to management. In terms of the sounds he'll feature, he says, "I don't want to stick to any format. I want to have a nice variety of stuff--some strangeness and some plainness and some whatever." Live music is on the bill Thursdays through Sundays, with Thursdays dominated by an open stage emceed by Baggs Patrick.
In the next several months, Area 39 will also boast an attribute unique to local clubs--a complete, on-site recording studio that will be open for regular business whenever the venue is not. "We'll have the whole thing inside the building but separated from the bar," Garcia says. "If a band chooses, they can overdub pieces of their live recordings that they can mix at a later date." He admits that Area 39's address sounds somewhat off the beaten track, but he contends that it's actually less than five minutes from lower downtown: "I honestly feel that if people can stomach Glendale, they'll definitely be able to do it here. I hope. God, I'm hoping."
Letters, we get letters. Ralph Raden of Arvada recently wrote to complain about charges tacked onto ticket prices printed in our concert calendar; specifically, an August "House of Blues" tour date at Red Rocks that was listed at $25/$27.50 wound up costing him $34.15. Asked Raden, "Ought Westword parti-cipate in this charade?" In a word, no--but unfortunately, we don't have the personnel to check final totals for each concert. Still, something should be done--so beginning this week and continuing indefinitely, a note will appear atop our "Upcoming Concerts" section stating that prices listed may be subject to additional service charges.
As alluded to in our Best of Denver issue, filmmaker/musician/provocateur Joe Christ is leaving Denver this month; his going-away show takes place at Rock Island Thursday, July 11. The reason for the move? "I was offered a warehouse space in Pennsylvania that's big enough to set up a movie studio in." Nonetheless, he promises to make regular stops in Denver, either to record at the Time Capsule studio or to shock the populace with his latest cinematic assaults.
The R&B band One-Up is also in a traveling frame of mind. Vocalist Kenny Jones reveals that the outfit has been hired to play Hard Rock Cafes in Shanghai and Manila over the course of the next two months. (Dreams, the act's latest CD, earned it the invitation.) The group departs July 13; in the meantime, Jones is boning up on his Chinese.
The worm has turned for Electrolux's Mike Elkerton. Last week, we reported that a urinating-in-public charge against him had been tossed out. But shortly thereafter, five amps and other assorted equipment owned by his trio, the Chris Kiest Project and Fox Force 5 were stolen from a Capitol Hill rehearsal space they share. Fox Force 5 was especially hard hit; Chrome Chuck, a vibrator that's an honorary member of the band, is also missing. "If he's gone for quite a while, we'll have to replace him," moans main Fox Heather Dalton, "although nothing could really replace the original Chuck. We're going to scour the city looking for him--and if we get him back, we're going to have him tested." Anyone with information about this crime should call 839-8845.
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Other bashes associated with the Denver Rock N' Rhythm-Billy Weekend (see "Hit Pick," page 95, for an overview of the event): On Thursday, July 11, Indiana's Blue Moon Boys visit the Aeroplane Club, 3312 West Alameda; Wildfire Willie and the Ramblers and Voodoo Swing land there on Sunday, July 14.
What else? On Thursday, July 11, Windowpane headlines this week's edition of the Rooftop Music Series at the Tabor Center. On Friday, July 12, Tequila Mockingbird goes on trial at Cricket on the Hill, and Baldo Rex goes acoustic at Paris on the Platte. On Saturday, July 13, Charles Sawtelle and others participate in the thirteenth Boulder Folk and Bluegrass Festival, at Chautauqua; Spell, Zoon Politikon and Saw are part of the Left Bank Arts Festival at the Bug Theatre; and the LaDonnas, Boss 302 and the Emirs get together at the Bluebird. On Tuesday, July 16, the Buzzcocks buzz at the Mercury Cafe, with Supernova. And on Wednesday, July 17, Satellite is launched at the Cricket. Blast off.
Backbeat's e-mail address is Michael_Roberts@ westword.comMichael_Roberts@