While watching four middle-aged guys run through Free's "All Right Now" at Hicc Ups III (1541 Cortez Street), which opened last month, I started thinking about what makes a good cover band. It was a solid version of the song, pretty damn close to the original. Then they went into "Closer to Home," a tune I'd heard before; if I'd been born ten years earlier, I probably would've known it was Grand Funk Railroad. I once heard another cover band do "No Matter What," a tune I'd listened to many times without ever wondering who'd written the track. After that rendition, though, I did some research and found out that it originated with Badfinger, a band that had a promising start but shitty management, which resulted in bankruptcy and two of the guys killing themselves. I don't think I want to know what happened to Grand Funk.
I was jarred back to reality when the blond bartender wearing ass-less leather chaps, black panties and fishnets asked if I wanted another beer. Oh, yeah. Five of the six female bartenders and waitresses were wearing similar getups, but the gal with pink-and-white striped panties stuck out. While 3 Kings Tavern (60 South Broadway) has Panties at the Bar on Mondays, a guy can see skin every night at all three Hicc Ups locations. So even on this Wednesday, when there was a shortage of female customers, there was something to look at.
And listen to. Right then, the band went into James Gang's "Walk Away," with its famous "Seems to me, you don't wanna talk about it" refrain. Even with his slicked-back mullet, the singer looked and sounded a lot like Joe Walsh. Those similarities didn't quite work on the Rolling Stones's "Bitch," so maybe part of being a good cover band is selecting the right songs. That thought reminded me of a cover band I was in about a decade ago. We had this gal singer who wasn't too bad on most of the tunes, but her whitewashed, soulless version of Etta James's "At Last" didn't work at all for me. I always wondered if the other guys in the band felt the same way, but none of us ever talked about it — much less told her.
Hicc Ups III
During the set break, a guy asked the bartender if they were serving free beer. Turns out that Hicc Ups II (10250 Ura Lane, Thornton) offers free draft beer from 9 to 11 p.m. on Wednesdays as part of that bar's customer appreciation night. Free beer, a good cover band and chicks in panties and chaps: What more could a guy want?
Club scout: With Halloween almost here, there's plenty to ogle around town. The festivities kick off October 25 at Jet Hotel (1621 Wazee Street), where the haunted-hotel theme includes a basement graveyard. The fun repeats on October 27; DJ Amen is on the tables on Friday, Alex K on Saturday, and DJ Ty Tek spins both nights. Admission is $15 in advance, $25 at the door; there's free Absolut 100 Witches Brew from 9 p.m. to midnight, and prizes for the best, sexiest and scariest costumes.
On October 26, go as your favorite dead celebrity to the Haunted Hollywood Ball at the Parkside Mansion (1859 York Street), where a DJ will spin in the ballroom while the Bondage Babes From Hell and the Ghostly Beefcake Revue perform in the "Deadly Dungeon" area. Doors open at 8 p.m., and $25 gets you in. That same night, the new Ginn Mill (2041 Larimer Street) will host a "Trickeration" party with live music by the Ground Below and a costume contest with various prizes. The $30 admission buys an open bar with Coors, Absolut vodka and other premium liquors, and proceeds benefit the Two Angels Foundation. Also on October 26, The Church (1160 Lincoln Street) will host Grind House, with a costume contest offering prizes of $500, an iPod or Avalanche tickets. DJs Ascension, Devious D and Steve Moller will lay down the cuts all night long.
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On October 27, Kevin Larson serves up his eighth annual Victorian Fetish Ball, taking over Tabú, Alley Cat and the Diamond Cabaret (all at 1222 Glenarm) for this sensual dance and costume party. More than sixty acts will perform such entertainments as bondage and bloodletting and an oil show; DJs MLE and Brian Howe will be on hand. And there's legal nudity, but costumes are mandatory to get in — as are cover charges ($30-$75).
On October 28, the Church will host its eleventh annual Masquerade Ball for service-industry folks. Vinyl (1082 Broadway) will host another service-industry Halloween party on October 30. No cover and $1 drinks until midnight; best costume wins future VIP bottle service at the club.
On October 30, La Bohème Gentlemen's Cabaret (1443 Stout Street) will throw a La "Boo" Hem bash with some killer music by Dollz at Play, Spindler, Ivy, Satori C and Thomas, as well as a live set by Friends in Stereo. Playboy Playmate Nichole Van Croft and birthday boy Kaz Q will also be on hand. The fun runs from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m.; ladies get in free, and it's $10 for guys.
On Halloween itself, Carte Blanche Entertainment will host its first annual Masquerade Ball at Mile High Station (2027 West Colfax Avenue). The only rule for that costume contest — best outfit wins a $500 shopping spree at Cherry Creek — is that you must cover up your goodies. The cost is $45 ($65 VIP) to get in, but special drinks will be free from 8 to 10 p.m. Also on October 31, Theorie (1920 Market Street) is throwing a Fantasy Hollywood party, with DJ Amen at the decks. In keeping with the theme, you should dress as your favorite Hollywood celebrity, hero, character from a film or rock star; after you pay the $5 admission, there will be a red-carpet entry and paparazzi photo shoot. The free Naughty Halloween party takes over 5º (1475 Lawrence Street), with the person in the most risqué costume winning a trip to Las Vegas. DJ Maciek will be laying down dance grooves and haunted-house beats in the fog-filled room. And finally, Vinyl will host house and techno masters M.A.N.D.Y — all the way from Germany. Getting physical is the theme, so throw on your Spandex and leotards. Scary stuff!