It's game over for live music at the 1Up Colfax. The popular arcade bar remains open, but will no longer host concerts in its 500-capacity venue space, effective immediately.
In 2013, owner Jourdan Adler expanded the 1Up's second location to include a well-equipped concert venue. While the space enjoyed successes and hosted well-known national acts such as Umphrey's McGee, the Internet, Washed Out and Jamie xx, staff say it was not enough to sustain the business model.
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According to marketing manager Craig Bailey, the Denver music scene is "highly competitive," and "Jourdan wants to leave live music to the experts."
Nine scheduled shows were canceled and tickets refunded. To Bailey's knowledge, most of the shows have already been rebooked at other venues, including Maribou State at Club Vinyl on December 2. "We honored all contracts and tried to help as much as we could," Bailey says.
The plan to shut down music programming at 1Up was put into place "fairly quickly," Bailey says, with staff notified last week. The decision to focus on the original core business of the arcade bar has been something Adler has been considering carefully, according to Bailey.
"It was never just an experiment. The idea was to break into the live-music business," Bailey says, and to create a venue "that would satisfy national touring acts."
The space did seem to satisfy, based on the reputation of its Brown Note Productions sound system and well-attended shows, such as two performances by RAQ just last weekend.
"Independent music venues are few and far between here," Bailey says. "It's not good or bad, just difficult for independents. I wouldn't say the market is over-saturated, just very competitive. On any given night, there are so many options. It's great for customers, but difficult."
Right now there are no definite plans for how the former concert space or sound system will be used. The space still owns the appropriate license for live music, but there are no current plans for future events. According to Bailey, the 1Up's focus is to expand the arcade-bar format to a third location. They may use the venue area on Colfax as a staging area for games for the new space, which does not yet have a location.
The Dean Ween Group play The 1Up Colfax on October 17, 2015.
J. Mimna Photography