It's sometimes difficult to see the stage at the 15th Street Tavern, a teeny club on the semi-seedy side of LoDo, especially if you've made the mistake of showing up late on a Saturday night when the faithful crowd the floor and a thirsty, critical mass wraps three-deep around the curved bar. From a sight-line perspective, promoter Scott Campbell's knack for bringing in raucous, rugged and righteous touring and local acts is a complication; from a musical one, however, it's a gift. The Tavern ain't pretty -- expect some coagulated goo on the floor and an aroma reminiscent of the smoking lounge at the Vegas airport. Instead, the club's beauty lies in the fact that it provides a chance to see up-and-coming bands like the Forty-Fives, the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and Sweep the Leg Johnny in an intimate setting, usually for under ten bucks. Cheap drinks (made even cheaper by checking the ever-revolving code phrase posted weekly on www.15thstreettavern.com) sweeten the deal. Though it's not recommended for the meek, the Tavern is the kind of place that reminds us of rock and roll's gritty power. Just don't forget your earplugs.

Readers' choice: Herman's Hideaway

It's sometimes difficult to see the stage at the 15th Street Tavern, a teeny club on the semi-seedy side of LoDo, especially if you've made the mistake of showing up late on a Saturday night when the faithful crowd the floor and a thirsty, critical mass wraps three-deep around the curved bar. From a sight-line perspective, promoter Scott Campbell's knack for bringing in raucous, rugged and righteous touring and local acts is a complication; from a musical one, however, it's a gift. The Tavern ain't pretty -- expect some coagulated goo on the floor and an aroma reminiscent of the smoking lounge at the Vegas airport. Instead, the club's beauty lies in the fact that it provides a chance to see up-and-coming bands like the Forty-Fives, the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and Sweep the Leg Johnny in an intimate setting, usually for under ten bucks. Cheap drinks (made even cheaper by checking the ever-revolving code phrase posted weekly on www.15thstreettavern.com) sweeten the deal. Though it's not recommended for the meek, the Tavern is the kind of place that reminds us of rock and roll's gritty power. Just don't forget your earplugs.

Readers' choice: Herman's Hideaway

Writer/director Koti Mitani's Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald was the most unexpected sort of Japanese film imaginable: Inspired by classic Hollywood comedies like those of Preston Sturges, Mitani's madcap farce is set initially in a Tokyo radio station, where a housewife's prize-winning melodrama is about to be performed on the air. But when the leading lady suddenly insists on changing the name of her character, she sets into motion a series of improvisations, minor catastrophes and major disasters that turn the original script into an unrecognizable action-adventure.

Writer/director Koti Mitani's Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald was the most unexpected sort of Japanese film imaginable: Inspired by classic Hollywood comedies like those of Preston Sturges, Mitani's madcap farce is set initially in a Tokyo radio station, where a housewife's prize-winning melodrama is about to be performed on the air. But when the leading lady suddenly insists on changing the name of her character, she sets into motion a series of improvisations, minor catastrophes and major disasters that turn the original script into an unrecognizable action-adventure.

Co-promoters Mike Jerk (of Boulder-based Soda Jerk Records) and Jason Cotter (of the local outfit the Family Men) have recently put more muscle into their efforts to make the Raven fly. They've implemented regular all-ages nights and begun hosting live music throughout the week, not just on weekends. The stepped-up campaign only enhances the already quality fare that local punk fans have come to expect of the club. Basically an open room that looks like an abandoned Mexican restaurant, the Raven seems to personify some of the tenets of punk philosophy: no frills, no excess, just good music, played loud. Quote us, Raven: We want more.

Readers' choice: The Raven

Co-promoters Mike Jerk (of Boulder-based Soda Jerk Records) and Jason Cotter (of the local outfit the Family Men) have recently put more muscle into their efforts to make the Raven fly. They've implemented regular all-ages nights and begun hosting live music throughout the week, not just on weekends. The stepped-up campaign only enhances the already quality fare that local punk fans have come to expect of the club. Basically an open room that looks like an abandoned Mexican restaurant, the Raven seems to personify some of the tenets of punk philosophy: no frills, no excess, just good music, played loud. Quote us, Raven: We want more.

Readers' choice: The Raven

During a crowded punk rock show last spring, deep inside the 15th Street Tavern, a bassist for Hemi Cuda shot a sudden I-can't-hear-myself glare toward the sound guy. The sound guy, in turn, leaned over to the toe-tapping, head-bobbing man standing next to him, Denver police officer Steve Gonzales. What happened next could be considered a peace offering in the long-troubled history of punker-copper relations: After receiving his directions, Gonzales scurried up on stage, studied the knobs on the bass amplifier, pinched the volume knob, and turned it up. "He's a really cool guy," says Tavern manager Scott Campbell of his blues-playing crowd-control cop. "All the Tavern employees dig him." As do bass players and patrons.
During a crowded punk rock show last spring, deep inside the 15th Street Tavern, a bassist for Hemi Cuda shot a sudden I-can't-hear-myself glare toward the sound guy. The sound guy, in turn, leaned over to the toe-tapping, head-bobbing man standing next to him, Denver police officer Steve Gonzales. What happened next could be considered a peace offering in the long-troubled history of punker-copper relations: After receiving his directions, Gonzales scurried up on stage, studied the knobs on the bass amplifier, pinched the volume knob, and turned it up. "He's a really cool guy," says Tavern manager Scott Campbell of his blues-playing crowd-control cop. "All the Tavern employees dig him." As do bass players and patrons.
Named after an intoxicating plant that induces a feeling of relaxation and euphoria, Soma boasts an aphrodisiacal atmosphere that has steadily made it one of the most innovative clubs in the state -- and the nation. Brothers Hardy and Lucas Kalisher have made a regular habit of bringing national and international talent into the Boulder den; in the past year, dance-world superstar DJs such as LTJ Bukem, Mark Farina and Alec Gopher have all graced the turntables of the posh and intimate club. This brotherly pair is doing its best to dance all over the area's cowtown reputation -- and succeeding blissfully.

Readers' choice: The Church

Named after an intoxicating plant that induces a feeling of relaxation and euphoria, Soma boasts an aphrodisiacal atmosphere that has steadily made it one of the most innovative clubs in the state -- and the nation. Brothers Hardy and Lucas Kalisher have made a regular habit of bringing national and international talent into the Boulder den; in the past year, dance-world superstar DJs such as LTJ Bukem, Mark Farina and Alec Gopher have all graced the turntables of the posh and intimate club. This brotherly pair is doing its best to dance all over the area's cowtown reputation -- and succeeding blissfully.

Readers' choice: The Church

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