The Twenty Best Indie-Rock Bassists in Denver, 2016 Edition

Suzi Allegra of Fingers of the Sun.
Suzi Allegra of Fingers of the Sun.
Tom Murphy

The bassist is an oft-underappreciated member of a band. But the low end is the soul of the music, and a talented, mindful, imaginative and patient bass player can turn a merely good song into a great one by giving it texture.

Denver is especially brimming with talented bassists who represent a wide spectrum of musical genres. But this list is limited to those who play indie rock.

Here are twenty of the best, listed in alphabetical order by first name or stage moniker.

Amadeus Tonguefingers (right).
Amadeus Tonguefingers (right).
Tom Murphy

1. Amadeus Tonguefingers (Little Fyodor & Babushka Band)
The longtime bassist of punk/experimental rock band Little Fyodor & Babushka Band, Amadeus Tonguefingers isn't a flashy player, but his creative bass lines — synced with the expressive but simple and powerful drumming of Tricky Dick Wicket — have anchored the band's crazy antics for years. Tonguefingers is also a producer and talented synth player in projects like Robot Mandala and Drones.

Brett Schreiber.
Brett Schreiber.
Tom Murphy

2. Brett Schreiber (Pep*Squad and Stella Luce)
Brett Schreiber has been a true staple of the Fort Collins music scene for more than a decade. Currently playing in avant-pop band Stella Luce, Schreiber got people on the dance floor with his funky bass lines and high-energy stage presence as a member of Pep*Squad.

Casey Sidwell.
Casey Sidwell.
Megan Ranegar

3. Casey Sidwell (Break Mechanics, Megan Burtt and Dragondeer)
Versatility, chops and imagination make for a great bass player, and Casey Sidwell is a fine example. Whether playing with hip-hop groups like Break Mechanics, singer-songwriter Megan Burtt or blues-rock phenom Dragondeer, Sidwell stands out because his playing can embody any kind of music.

Daniel DiMarchi (left).
Daniel DiMarchi (left).
Tom Murphy

4. Daniel DiMarchi (Tyto Alba and Major Babes)
Daniel DiMarchi may be a quiet presence on stage, but he has an intensity and avulnerability that make his music electric. Influenced more by electronic music, DiMarchi mixes tone, atmosphere and beat-making in a way that might be expected from a deep-house artist. But he plays in rock bands.

Ian O'Dougherty (far left).
Ian O'Dougherty (far left).
Tom Murphy

5. Ian O'Dougherty (Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Ian Cooke, Uphollow, Fauxgazi)
O'Dougherty has been playing in some of the most interesting musical projects in Denver since the early '90s. While in middle school, he founded Uphollow. Then he started playing in the solo project of his Uphollow bandmate Ian Cooke and helped bring Cooke's sophisticated art to life. He was a member of Fugazi cover band Fauxgazi, and for the past few years has been a member of Slim Cessna's Auto Club. Beyond his considerable versatility and tastefulness as a player, O'Dougherty is a keen observer of the Denver music scene.

Jeremy Averitt.
Jeremy Averitt.
Tom Murphy

6. Jeremy Averitt (Esmé Patterson, Kitty Crimes, the Shift, Natalie Tate, Paper Bird and Dovekins)
Between playing hip-hop with Kitty Crimes and prog in the Shift, Averitt is a musical chameleon. He is also a gifted sound engineer, which probably helped sculpt his ear and versatility.

Jeremy Ziehe.
Jeremy Ziehe.
Tom Murphy

7. Jeremy Ziehe (See Cities From Space, Red Cloud West, Bad Luck City and New Ben Franklins)
Jeremy Ziehe emphasizes tone rather than notes and keeps the low end solid rather than showing off. He mostly plays with alt-country band New Ben Franklins, but sometimes plays in Bad Luck City.

Joe Pope (right).
Joe Pope (right).
Tom Murphy

8. Joe Pope (Born in the Flood, the Seven Hats, Miss America, the Wheel and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats)
Joe Pope made his mark in Denver as part of indie-rock band Born in the Flood, headed by Nathaniel Rateliff. Since then, he has been part of Rateliff's various projects, including the Night Sweats. It's difficult to nail down Pope's style, but his ability to play a song with power and fluidity has been a great benefit for the groups he's been involved with.

John Golter (left).
John Golter (left).
Tom Murphy

9. John Golter (Artillian Death Sword, Pleistocene, Deep Satisfaction and Black Kali Ma)
When Golter moved to Denver shortly after 2000, he found himself making something of a living as the bass player in improvisational rock band Black Kali Ma. But he would go on to make an impact in the local scene as a recording engineer running Glob and as a player in a series of fascinating experimental bands, including Deep Satisfaction. A bit of a technical wizard on bass, Golter never overplays, and masterfully commands his instrument and his songwriting.

Jon Evans (center).
Jon Evans (center).
Tom Murphy

10. Jon Evans (Achille Lauro, Science Partner and Snake Rattle Rattle Snake)
Jon Evans is among the most dynamic performers on stage, regardless of the band he's playing with. There is a jazz-like sensibility to his playing that he can translate to a variety of bands, from ambitious and thoughtful pop band Science Partner to the space rock/funk of Achille Lauro or the brooding post-punk of Snake Rattle Rattle Snake. These days Evans seems to be doing more tour managing than performing, but if you get a chance to catch the gifted player on stage, don't pass it up.

Keep reading for more of Denver's top indie-rock bassists.



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