In 2010, Hot White opened for No Age at the Bluebird and the Warlock Pinchers at the Gothic, but the band is equally content playing basement shows and house parties. Whether climbing tables at the Meadowlark or scraping the cement at Rhinoceropolis, the trio of young punks easily fills any size room with plenty of attitude and noise. The bitter sawing of Tiana Bernard's bass and vocal wails combined with Kevin Wesley's back-to-the-floor guitar playing and the smiling terror of Darren Kulback's drumming make Hot White one of the best live bands to see in Denver any night of the week — on a stage or in your living room.

What better band to see on a date than one that sings about awesome dates? With Lust-Cats of the Gutters, the dual vocals of Robin Edwards and Alex Edgeworth are like a personal cheerleading section, singing about really wanting to get to know you, hanging out with your grandma and, eventually, sticking their tongues in your mouth. Or close enough. The duo's Bratmobile-meets-the-Sonics style works like an intelligent sidekick, a musical wingman that feeds you lines during those awkward moments when you're just getting to know that special new someone. And if that budding relationship doesn't work out, you can always console yourself with Lust-Cats' anti-date anthem, "Nothing Cool Happens on Dates."

Lincoln's Road House might be known primarily for its meatloaf cheeseburger, pot roast burrito and Cajun food, but the bar also brings in a meaty lineup of the area's finest blues acts, including the Informants, Delta Sonics, David Booker and Stanley Milton, on the weekends. Lincoln's also books such nationally known bluesmen as Muddy Waters's son Big Bill Morganfield and Albuquerque's Todd Tijerina to play the tiny stage next to the door. There isn't a whole lot of room to dance at Lincoln's, but the colorful crew of bikers and other regulars make the most of the space and always look like they're having one hell of a good time.

Ziggies

While Ziggie's has long been hailed as Denver's oldest blues bar, in recent years it's expanded into other genres, such as rock, R&B and funk. In addition to an acoustic open-mike night on Mondays, an open jam on Tuesdays and a chance to sit in with featured musicians on Wednesdays, Ziggie's also boasts one of the longest-running blues jams in town on Sundays. And that's where the real action is. The Doc Brown Blues Band and the Blues Allstars alternate hosting the blues jams, which bring in a variety of solid musicians playing covers and originals. Keyboard players need not worry about bringing down a keyboard; the bar has one available for the jams, which kick off at 7 p.m.

From their Capitol Hill apartment, the husband-and-wife duo of Ryan McRyhew and Kristi Schaefer put out music — mostly on cassette tape — on their own Laser Palace label. Each release is a one-of-a-kind work of art in itself: Schaefer crochets some cassette cases, and others are hand-painted by Schaefer's sister, Gretchen, as well as other artists. Nine-to-fivers by day and punks by night, McRyhew and Schaefer use Laser Palace to share music by their own band, Hideous Men, as well as original work by Mystic Bummer, Iuengliss, Pictureplane and more.

Of all the conspiracy theories swirling around DIA, this may be the most awesome. Take the numbers sent by the aliens for their Earthly rendezvous in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind — 104, 44, 30, 40, 36, 10 — and plug them into Google Earth as W104° 44' 30" N40° 36' 10". What do you get? Denver International Fucking Airport! If the coordinate numbers had led Google Earth to, say, the intersection of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco, we could have dismissed this as a hilarious coincidence or intentional joke by the scriptwriters. But to have the geographical dart land on DIA, a facility that is approaching Area 51 status within Internet conspiracy culture, is almost too astoundingly synergistic to brush off. As a blogger at rabbithole2.com notes, "Back when Close Encounters of the Third Kind was made the Denver Airport was nothing more than a farmer's field. That airport would not be built at that location FOR 16 YEARS!" When we start making a replica of the terminal tent out of mashed potatoes, though, lock us up — or send as to Ault, which also tends to show up when you plug in those coordinates.

Milk
Britt Chester

When Rock Island closed in 2006 after a long, legendary run, it left a big hole in the gothic and industrial community. While there are still rumors that Rock Island will one day start up again, it's probably not going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime, for those who frequented the legendary club on 15th Street, there's a good chance you'll run into somebody you know at Milk on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when the club hosts '80s & '90s Retro/Goth nights. Resident DJ Mike Rich spins a thoroughly decent set of new wave from the Reagan era, with a bit of old-school goth thrown in; Paul Italiano, FashioNation owner, spins at the club once a month. (Both Rich and Italiano are former Rock Island DJs.) While Milk, with its Clockwork Orange theme, is a bit small, it's still a great spot to get your retro dance on and hang with a fascinating mix of folks, some decked out in full goth regalia.

The Buntport Theater Company has been working in the musical genre — in its own way — for a while; not many other theater groups would have realized the aesthetic possibilities of turning Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus into a musical, for instance. And a couple of years back, the Buntporters got the inspired idea of collaborating with artist-composer Adam Stone — even though, as they proudly and publicly asserted, none of them really knew how to sing. The brilliant result was Seal Stamp Send Bang, a musical about the postal service first produced in 2009 and revived this year. And good got even better with a second collaboration, Jugged Rabbit Stew, among Buntport's most entertaining, and memorable, productions, with the music alone — a mix of genres from rock to country-Western — worth a listen.

Best Collaboration Between Artists Who Are Also Musicians

Modern Witch

Both collage and multimedia artists in their own right, Kristy Foom and Mario Zoots make up Modern Witch, and when the two come together, the magic is multiplied. This act uses alternative modes of recording — like the microphone on an old VHS camera — to capture its dark and warbling down-tempo tracks. Since Foom works out of Amsterdam most of the year, Modern Witch shows in Denver are both rarities and gems: With a rotating cast of musical artisans and a heavy dose of visuals to complement the sounds, no two shows are alike. And even though the group works remotely 90 percent of the time, video and audio releases are plentiful, and everything, down to Modern Witch's digital tracks, comes with gorgeous collaborative artwork to match.

Stoney's Bar and Grill
Dylan Burkhardt

Stoney's Bar & Grill touts itself as "a local kind of place," and the owners take that concept pretty damn seriously. This rustic spot, which moved into the former Andrew's on Lincoln space last summer, practically screams "Colorado," with a pond and miniature campsite near the entrance, a ski gondola turned photo booth up front, 150-year-old reclaimed barn wood lining the walls, and antique skis and bikes hanging from the rafters. In keeping with the theme, Stoney's uses locally sourced meat (including some exotic critters) for its sliders and offers plenty of Colorado beers in cans — which all get recycled, with the proceeds going to local charities. And with twenty HDTVs scattered around the place and two 120-inch projection screens, Stoney's is not just a "local kind of place," but a great spot to watch the home teams.

Best Of Denver®

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