The Denver scene says goodbye to one of its biggest fans this weekend at the Toad Tavern

The Denver scene says goodbye to one of its biggest fans this weekend at the Toad Tavern

Today marks yet another bittersweet day for the scene, a day when we bring you word that Tommy Nahulu, a tireless champion of Denver music over the years, is picking up stakes and moving back to his native Hawaii. To commemorate the occasion, the Toad Tavern is hosting the second annual Tommypalooza, a three-day extravaganza that kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday, and which will pay tribute to Tommy with performances from some of his favorite songwriters, folks like Liz Clark, Angie Stevens, Elizabeth Rose, Lannie Garrett and Melanie Susuras, as well as a number of bands such as Demon Funkies, the Trampolines, the Flash Mob and Zuet, among others.

While people move every day, Tommy's departure strikes us as especially poignant, particularly when we consider just how ingrained in the fabric of the scene he's become. In addition to working closely with a countless number of local acts from Liz Clark to Nina Storey, he founded and co-founded several local music efforts such as LMNOP (Local Music Network of Patrons) and Rock On Colorado. And when he wasn't busy with that, he was snapping photos at innumerable shows.

For as long as we can remember, we haven't gone more than a few weeks at time without running into the guy at

a show. From Herman's to Brendan's Pub to the Cricket on the Hill to

the Larimer Lounge, Tommy was everywhere we were, it seemed. If you

didn't know any better, you'd think he's literally planned his life

around supporting the men and women making music in this town. Knowing

Tommy as we do, that wouldn't be too far from the truth.


his passion for the scene extends well beyond the Colorado borders.

Believe us when we tell you, his heart's in Denver even when he isn't.

Our fondest memory? Easy. A few years back, we ran into Tommy, also an

accomplished muralist -- his Johnny Cash portrait proudly adorns the

east wall of Bender's Tavern -- at an NBC soundstage in Burbank,

California, of all places.

We were in town to catch the Fray's Tonight Show debut, and as

we were

making our way to our seat, we heard a disembodied voice emenating from

the lower seats in another section, feintly calling our

name. We scanned the crowd and didn't see anyone we recognized at

first. And then, next thing we know, there's Tommy, bearing a grin as

wide as a eight-lane SoCal

freeway and as welcoming as a bucket full of ice cold, unattended

Coronas. 'What the heck are you doing here?' we thought.


answer should've been obivous. Tommy was doing what he's always done --

getting behind the home team. He was temporarily living in San Diego at

the time, where he'd been commissioned to paint a mural. And evidently,

upon catching wind of the Fray's Tonight Show appearance, he somehow

managed to get his hands on tickets to the taping, at which point, of

course, he took the day off and convinced a friend to drive with him

two hours north to see Isaac Slade and company, a band he'd followed

since the beginning, play for less than ten minutes.

That's dedication.

And moments like that are common with Tommy. If you ask around, chances

are, you'll hear story after story of his tireless devotion to the

musicians in this town. So that's why news of Tommy's leaving is

bittersweet for us. Bet you won't have to look hard to find other

people at the Toad this weekend (full line-up after the jump) who feel

exactly the same way. While we're stoked that he's able to go back home

and spend quality time with his family, we're going to miss his

enthusiasm and postivity. Not only was it infectious, it was


Godspeed, amigo.

Friday, December 11
7:00 Demon Funkies

8:00 Mike Marchant (Widowers)

9:00 Random Hero...

10:00 Gription...

11:00 The Flash Mob

12:00 My Friend Tom


Saturday, December 12
6:00 Boa & The Constrictors:

7:00 Elizabeth Rose

8-8:30 The Trampolines

9:00 Quillion

10:00 Molina Soleil & Aju

11:00 Melanie Susuras Band

Sunday, December 13
3:00 Kristina Ingham

4:00 Zeut

5:00 Liza Oxnard

6:00 Melissa Ivey

7:00 Coles Whalen

8- 8:15 Lannie Garrett

8:30-9:15 Angie Stevens

9:30-10:15 Liz Clark

10:30-11:15 Jen Korte

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