The Broke Music Fan's Guide to Denver
Danish band Iceage performed at Rhinoceropolis in 2011. Cover charge was cheap.
Being a music fan in Denver is kind of the best. There is no shortage of shows and talent, and there is some event or band news to bring a smile to a music lover's face every day of the week. However, if you fall into the main demographic of music lovers (young, city-dwelling), your finances may be stretched pretty thin before you get to the business of buying tickets. Thankfully, music — and local music, especially — is not just for the elite who can shell out for every show at Red Rocks.
If you’re the kind of music fan who aims to go to a show every week but realistically spends the last week of the month counting every cent to make your rent, we can help. Here are some tips to make sure you stay connected while your bank account stays in the green.
Solypsis performs at 1010 Workshop.
1. Go to a DIY venue.
DIY venues abound in Denver. While in the past you had to "know a punk" to get the details on an underground show, today you can just check your Facebook events and find something awesome happening at Rhinoceropolis, Club Scum, Deep Club, GLOB or 1010 Workshop. The shows are normally cheap or donation-based, you can bring your own booze, and you get to see amazing music in a unique setting. Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw up-and-comer Thug Entrancer play a 1 a.m. set at the secret Deep Club hideout. It was an unparalleled experience.
You can actually buy tickets for shows at the Bluebird at the Bluebird.
2. Buy concert tickets from the physical box office or the band.
Service fees suck. If you buy online, you often end up paying more than 50 percent of the original ticket price just to have your ticket e-mailed to you. Instead, contact the band directly to see if they are selling physical tickets (many local bands do this). You can also go to the venue in person and pick up tickets, which sometimes saves you from service fees. In addition, ticket prices usually go up on the day of the show. If you can plan more than 24 hours in advance, do so and save yourself a few bucks, at least, which you can throw into your bar tab or even a “music savings account.”
3. Go to the Open Music Sessions on First Fridays.
If you want to know what’s happening locally or catch a band you’ve never heard of, Denver Open Media is the place. Every First Friday, the awesome organization hosts a musical performance that airs later on TV. It’s intimate, free, and a great opportunity to see local talent like Rossonian, Natalie Tate and the Still Tide, who have all performed at these events. Plus, an Open Music Session usually includes some free food and refreshments, and the event takes place early, right around dinnertime. The next Open Music Session is this Friday, April 1.
Surely it can't be that hard to sneak into the Lion's Lair?
4. (Don't) Sneak into the venue.
Okay, so this is not something we recommend or have ever officially tried, but we can imagine that if you're desperate enough (and have consumed enough happy-hour-priced PBR), you might be tempted to attempt sneaking into a show at one of Denver's venues. You might try the "herd" technique, getting in the middle of a group of already-wristbanded folks on the patio and using them as camouflage for entry. You might scale the back fence at the Larimer Lounge, then time your descent with a big guitar riff so no one hears you fall. We do not recommend this. First, because you might be broke, but so are a lot of bands — especially the ones whose shows you're sneaking into, and you could be taking money from their pockets. And second, the risk — and the expense — of getting caught, getting charged or thrown to the curb by the doorman makes us think the cover fee might be money well spent.
Editor's note: Westword will not bail you out.
Strawberry Runners perform at Sofar Sounds secret show. The band plays the Larimer Lounge this Friday.
5. Check out these upcoming shows for $10 or less:
French Horn Rebellion, Wednesday, March 30, Lost Lake Lounge, $10
Strawberry Runners, Friday, April 1, Larimer Lounge, $10
Pete Yorn, Wednesday, April 6, Twist & Shout, free
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