Back in 1981, a camp counselor convinced me that disco sucked and finally weaned me off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. That was the same year that Mötley Crüe released its debut album, Too Fast for Love, but it took me a while to warm to hair metal. First an older cousin fed me a steady diet of Stones, Hendrix and Zeppelin, and then a friend's brother turned me on to the Clash, the Sex Pistols and Black Flag.
Throughout the '80s, I kept spinning punk and new wave, but never gave hair metal a chance. I assumed that it was just for teens with mullets and tight jeans who lived in places like Arvada or Thornton. Or Lakewood, where Eck's Saloon (9890 West Girton Drive) opened the same year that Too Fast for Love hit the charts.
Mike Bruno, the owner of Eck's as well as Bruno's Saloon (8501 East Colfax Avenue), obviously digs both hair metal and heavy rock. A wall near the stage at Eck's is filled with autographed pictures of some of the bands Bruno has brought in over the years, bands like Skid Row, Bang Tango and Faster Pussycat. And on the club's website, there are photos of Poison's Bret Michaels, Warrant, Winger and Enuff Z Nuff playing the spot.
Eck's still celebrates the sound on Metal Madness Wednesdays. Last week, Buck25 was up on stage, blasting out original rock that borrowed as much from hair-metal bands as it did early-'90s grunge. During Buck25's set, a gal came up to the bar and, after changing her mind several times, ordered eight shots of Jack and Seven for herself and her friends. She was taking advantage of the $3 you-call-its on Wednesdays.
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While watching both the gal and the band, I was also keeping an eye on the Nuggets' playoff game: Eck's has about forty TVs in its 9,000 square feet, which are sectioned off into three rooms and a decent-sized smoking patio. Pretty much any night of the week, there's something shaking at this club, whether it's live hard rock Thursdays through Saturdays (and occasionally on Wednesdays), or karaoke on Sundays, or trivia on Mondays and poker on Tuesdays. But disco? Never.
Club scout: Across town, Tooey's Off Colfax (1521 Marion Street) is now hosting Widespread Tuesdays. Every week, this club — named Best New Bar in the Best of Denver 2009 — will play Widespread Panic shows as well as bring in live bands. On May 5, Keith Conant and Shawn Riley of the Quentin Young Band are slated to perform; the following week, it's Damon Wood of Harmonious Junk. On Tuesdays, Tooey's also offers $3 Flying Dog bottles and $4 Maker's Mark specials.
Tambien (250 Steele Street) has relaunched its Rockabilly and Ribs series, which runs from 2 to 7 p.m. Sundays throughout the summer and features barbecue on the patio along with honky-tonk and roots DJs and bands. DJ Big Mike will be on the turntables on May 3; Mad Max & the Wild Ones perform the following week.
From 7 p.m. until midnight on Wednesday, May 1, the cigar lounge at the Robusto Room (9535 Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree) hosts Drew Estate, which will be showing off its Acid line of herbal cigars. DJ Mada will be at the decks, and ladies will get a free Acid Blondie cigar. Also on tap: free appetizers and $4 Acid martinis.