Best Band Name 2009 | Sega Genocide | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Sometimes, all you need to know about a band is its name to know that it is some kind of awesome. For our money, Sega Genocide is just such a name. Combining nostalgia for our 16-bit, Blast-Processing youth with the bad taste inherent in any reference to genocide, Sega Genocide is a name that captures the imagination in that special, blackly humorous, WTF sort of way that pretty much compels you to check the act out to see what they're all about. And isn't that exactly what a band name is supposed to do?
Once upon a time, an Achille Lauro show was a rare and remarkable event. With multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Brian Joseph on the road working sound for hotshots like the Fray and Bon Iver, the group just couldn't pull together very often. A few months ago, however, Achille Lauro and Joseph decided it made sense to head in different directions. This decision has made for more frequent public appearances and has also completely transformed the band's sound. More electronics have been added, giving the outfit a Steely Dan-meets-Radiohead vibe, and dueling frontmen Luke Mossman and Matt Close make an even stronger impression with their voices and musicianship. Even the songwriting seems to have taken a turn that is simultaneously more experimental and poppier. A recent gig at the hi-dive proved that Achille Lauro is a Denver act to watch — now more than ever.

Best Band Playing Country the Way It Was Meant to Be Played

The Hollyfelds

The Hollyfelds five — Eryn and Keith Hoerig, Kate Grigsby, Tim Mallot and "Magic" Sam Spitzer — are blessed with talent to spare. The music on Saratoga, their most recent full-length, and the forthcoming EP Black Heart Blue, offer up crystalline harmonies, irresistible melodies, sturdy playing, and lyrics that feel lived rather than invented. But arguably their most important quality is sincerity. Instead of smirking at country music's verities, the players unabashedly celebrate them — and that makes all the difference.
Ask Barker Lounge co-owner Patrick Vigil whether dogs are allowed in his canine-themed bar, and he'll laugh like you've posed the most obvious question he's ever heard. Look around, he'll say, aiming his arm at every man inside his stray (straight + gay) establishment. Of course they're welcome! All men are dogs. (Get it?) But the four-legged variety? "We see dogs every day," Vigil says. "Dogs get bones before their owners get drinks." As long as hounds stay on their leashes, they're all invited, day or night. "When people are out walking their dogs," Vigil adds, "the dogs walk them to the Barker lounge." And then, at the end of the night they can walk their owners home.
Be it fact or folklore, the Stadium Inn claims to sell more Jim Beam per square foot than any other bar in the country. This stat means $2 Beam drinks and shots all day, every day. It also means that each October, the first fifty lushes to sample all seven varieties of Beam that the bar offers receive a Degree of Bourbonology, an honor confirmed the following January in a cap-and-gown ceremony and other shenanigans. With these wallet-friendly (and resumé-building) incentives, how can you afford not to wander into (and later stumble out of) the Stadium Inn for some cheap, cheap Beam?
Bars love gimmicks — they get you in the door, they get ya drinking more. And while any ol' place will sling a free drink or two for correctly calling a coin flip or sinking a quarter in a shot glass, only the true neighborhood joints shill drinks and cash. At the Edgewater Inn, it's all about back-alley Yahtzee. Pay a buck and get three rolls of five dice: Land a straight, four of a kind or a full house, score a free well drink or signature schooner of draft beer; drop five of a kind and win the progressive pot, which often climbs up over $200. You only get one shot at riches per visit, so make it count.
Barista Greg Lefcourt has everything we've ever wanted in a java jockey. He's certainly got the skills, since his just-right java earned him the gold at the Mountain Regional Barista Championship in Thornton this past January. But he's also got the right amount of chutzpah to go along with his lattes. Whether it's boasting that Boulder cafes beat the beans out of Denver's or dismissively wagging his porta-filter at any barista who dares challenge his caffeinated concoctions, this guy's love of the grind and the game comes across as vibrantly as a cup of perfectly roasted beans.
Northern Colorado artist Jack Balas has made a habit of approaching handsome young men over the years. His intentions are noble, however: He simply wants to take their pictures and use the photos as preliminary works for his eye-catching drawings, watercolors and paintings. Tattoo Detour, mounted in the dog days of July, was made up of images based on the guys that he met on a working vacation in Hawaii. It was the first time Balas had worked out of a suitcase instead of his well-appointed studio, and he loved the experience. The expertly drawn and painted figures — surfers, in particular — mostly hit the mark, and the show was therefore unforgettable.
Early mornings are for coffee and late nights are for beer, but the rest of the day? That's for Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, a powerful seasonal brew from Great Divide Brewing Company that's been infused with espresso from Pablo's Coffee. The two Denver stalwarts (Great Divide popped its top in the Ballpark neighborhood in 1994, while Pablo's steamed to life at 630 East Sixth Avenue a year later) have similar business models and independent streaks, which is why the combo is such a great wake-up call.
Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey has its roots in beer, since the Denver micro-distiller was founded by Aspen Renaissance man and gonzo legend George Stranahan, who also started Flying Dog Brewery, which left Colorado last year for Maryland. But the award-winning hooch producer got even deeper into the beer world recently, by deciding to give its used whiskey barrels to local breweries like Oskar Blues, which uses them to age some incredible special beers. And Oskar Blues is returning the favor, giving a hundred barrels of "wash" (unhopped, fermented beer) every week to Stranahan's, which runs it through the still to begin the whiskey-making process. How can you not drink to that?

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