Best Women's Hip-Hop Event 2017 | Queenz of Hip Hop | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Every spring, female dancers, emcees, graffiti artists and DJs from around the country converge in Denver for the annual Queenz of Hip Hop Jam. The event showcases talented female hip-hop artists and encourages young women to pursue their craft in a genre traditionally dominated by men. Among the activities at each year's Jam are the much-anticipated dance battles, which pit contestants against one another in various categories such as "1v1 footwork," "2v2 b-girls" and a "Bonnie and Clyde" battle that matches male and female duos against each other.

When the feminist punk band Cheap Perfume wrote the song "Trump Roast" prior to last year's election, the group didn't know how relevant it would become. "Dear Don, we've got blood coming out of our wherever," sang Stephanie Byrne and "Jane No," the band's two frontwomen. The track ends with them telling the now-president to "eat a dick and die." That sentiment certainly resonated with the crowd at the Punk Against Trump concert at the Summit Music Hall this year. The band, which also includes David "Hot Dave" Grimm and Geoff Brent, came together in 2015; its members hail from Colorado Springs and Denver. Since the inauguration, Cheap Perfume has continued to speak out about number 45, including railing against his controversial immigration orders. So don't expect Cheap Perfume to lie low: In January, "Jane No" vowed to turn her "disappointment and fear into action."

When Beta opened on Memorial Day 2008 with a show by superstar DJ Danny Tenaglia, it was clear that the mammoth club was destined to be a huge player in Denver's dance scene. Not only has Beta since established itself as the best dance club in town, but the venue was voted one of the 25 Greatest Dance Clubs of All Time by Billboard in 2015, and in 2013 Rolling Stone put it at the top of its Best Dance Clubs in America list. The club's booming Funktion-One system is supreme, and Beta regularly brings in top-notch world-class talent like Paul Oakenfold, Richie Hawtin and Benny Benassi.

Readers' Choice: Beta

Karaoke has a cult following in Denver, yet before last year there were no venues dedicated solely to the activity, like you'd find all over Tokyo and Seattle's International District. Our karaoke prayers were answered when Voicebox, a swanky club and restaurant with private karaoke rooms for rent by the hour, took over a trendy corner in RiNo last June. The place has blown up in popularity ever since. It has an amazing selection of songs, and you have more time to sing with your friends without all the anxiety that comes with getting in front of a rowdy crowd of karaoke regulars. Voicebox charges about $6 an hour for individuals or $50 an hour for groups (prices go up during peak times).

Readers' Choice: Armida's

Courtesy of La Rumba

Since opening two decades ago, La Rumba has been the hottest place in town for salsa dancing: Saturday salsa nights bring live bands to the masses, and some of the city's best salsa DJs spin on Thursdays. Latin Fridays, which include bachata, merengue, reggaetón and more, are another great night to get your dance on. La Rumba also hosts dance classes and occasionally brings in internationally known Latin acts like Joan Soriano and Julieta Venegas.


The building at 314 East 13th Avenue has housed several different venues over the past decade, including Bender's Tavern and Quixote's True Blue, but the place didn't truly start rocking the deep bass until Sub.mission's Nicole Cacciavillano took it over and opened in the fall of 2016 as the Black Box. While the dual-room club, which sports a powerful, state-of-the-art Basscouch sound system, brings in a number of local and national dubstep acts on a regular basis, a variety of EDM artists perform in both rooms throughout the week.

Readers' Choice: The Black Box

Jeff Davis

Long before RiNo became the buzzing neighborhood that it is today, the Larimer Lounge was pretty much the only place in the area bringing the rock. And although the neighborhood has exploded in popularity in recent years, the fifteen-year-old club continues to book a steady stream of national acts, some of which (Arcade Fire and Band of Horses, for starters) have gone on to play Red Rocks and other much bigger venues. Although the emphasis at the Larimer is on rock acts — like Reverend Horton Heat, who recently did a five-night stand there — it's also a great place to see a wide-ranging assortment of bands most nights of the week.

Readers' Choice: hi-dive

Hailed as Colorado's oldest blues bar, Ziggies has been part of Denver's blues community for more than half a century. On most nights, you'll find stellar talent performing at the venue, whether it's the local or national seasoned veterans who play Thursdays through Saturdays, or up-and-coming players honing their chops at the four different jam sessions that run the other days of the week. There are a handful of places in town that cater to blues acts, but Ziggies should be first on your list.

Readers' Choice: El Chapultepec

Courtesy of Nocturne

In the two years since Nicole and Scott Mattson opened Nocturne, the supper club has established itself as a stellar jazz venue as well as becoming an integral part of the RiNo neighborhood. With a modern take on 1920s East Coast art deco, Nocturne provides an elegant setting in which to catch some of the area's finest jazz musicians — both veterans and up-and-coming players — along with touring national acts. And while the jazz talent is reason enough to visit Nocturne, the venue's menu offers creative cuisine from chef Greg Weadick, and the bar staff knows how to serve a wicked cocktail.

Readers' Choice: Nocturne

Since starting Mile High Soul Club nearly a decade ago, DJs Tyler Jacobson and DogBoy have turned their monthly night into Denver's foremost place to hear vintage and rare Northern Soul, R&B and funk from the late '50s to early '70s, whether it be the Jones Girls or Gus "the Groove" Lewis. MHSC brought on resident DJs Steve Cervantes in 2012 and Jason Heller last year; they eventually started a companion night called Funk Club. The crew also recruits guest DJs like Nick Waterhouse or soul singer Nikki Hill. Catch Mile High Soul Club every month at Syntax Physic Opera or opening for heavies like Lenny Kravitz or Charles Bradley.

Readers' Choice: Electronic Tuesdays at the Black Box

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