"How does it feel to almost be forty?" asked the bartender at Kazmos Lounge (1381 Kalamath Street) after looking at my driver's license. "I'll be forty in a few months, too."
It took me a few moments to formulate a coherent sentence. "Uh, I try to not to think about it too much," I told him.
Instead of thinking about my impending big birthday, I concentrated on the drum-and-bass tunes that the Wicked Wayz guys were spinning. As the beats pumped, I tried to recall how Kazmos had looked the last time I'd dropped in, nearly two years ago, for one of its long-running Saturday-night reggae and dancehall parties. The club was recently remodeled and held a grand reopening party last month. As far as I could tell, the big change is a bigger dance floor — which makes sense, since Kazmos brings in a steady stream of DJs Thursdays through Sundays. And the club's Sunrise Sundays, which start at 7 a.m., remain quite popular.
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When the bartender came back with my second beer, I noticed his Kraftwerk T-shirt and asked him if he'd seen the band at the Fillmore a year ago. Hell, yes, he said. He knew all about Kraftwerk, a band that dates back to 1970, and recognized what a rare chance that show was to see one of the most influential electronic acts in history. As I looked around the room at all the twenty-somethings, I wondered if they had any idea that the music the DJ was playing might have been entirely different if Kraftwerk hadn't come along. And I felt fortunate to have discovered the band's Man Machine not long after its release in 1978 — even if it means that pretty soon, I'll be marking my fortieth birthday.
Club scout: Speaking of fortieth birthdays, Kevin Larson decided to close both Wish Nightclub (511 West Colfax Avenue) and Orchid Lounge (the club inside Wish) the day after he celebrated his fortieth at his Twisted Birthday Bash on April 24. "It's just not worth the headaches right now, in this time," Larson explains. He says he might sell the place; in the meantime, he's focusing on corporate events and his annual parties.
Luke Schmaltz and Jennifer "Mama" Forman, who've been working at Bender's Tavern (314 East 13th Avenue) since the club opened in 2004, recently bought the joint. Schmaltz, the frontman for local punk band King Rat, has been the general manager at Bender's for the past three years; Forman is the ace-in-the-hole bartender. Since they'd basically been running the place, they decided to buy Bender's from father-and-son owners Randy and Ron Scott when it became available. For now, they're going keep things as they have been, with an open mike on Mondays, karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Denver Joe on Wednesdays, and local acts and big-name underground touring bands on the weekends.
Pure Nightlife (2549 Welton Street) is featuring scantily clad (and even topless) staffers. Joe Richards, who took over the former Roxy space with Olga Hernandez last December, says crowds are loving the new look, which Richards introduced after hiring dancers who also wanted to be cocktail waitresses. But there's more than skin at Pure. On Fridays, the club hosts Steam, a weekly industrial and goth night; Saturdays see various events; Sundays are college nights with DJs TK and Blizz; and every third Thursday, Pure hosts a hip-hop showcase.