On June 29, we'll present our 25th Westword Music Showcase. The event has grown dramatically since it was founded in 1995 with just a handful of bands playing around LoDo. In 2019, more than 75 local acts will fill venues throughout the Golden Triangle, while national headliners CHVRCHES, Jai Wolf, JAUZ, Bishop Briggs, Crooked Colours, lovelytheband, the Knocks, the Wrecks and SHAED will play the two main stages.
Many of the artists who have participated in the Showcase have gone on to worldwide success, while others continue to perform for loyal local audiences. And some have cashed in and left music altogether.
Indie-rock band Rubedo has proven itself to be one of Denver's most energetic acts, packing venues citywide since forming in 2010. Over the years, the group has released albums, toured nationally and created a sound that is energizing and chaotic. Drummer Gregg Ziemba reflects on the first time his band played Showcase and how things have changed in the music scene since then.
Westword: What memories and stories do you have of playing Westword Music Showcase?
Gregg Ziemba: The first time we were asked to play Showcase was very exciting for us. It was a badge of honor, because we knew the bands were picked by the local music community. Because we were so fresh on the scene, we played super-early in the day. That allowed a younger version of myself a full day to run around the fest, no holds barred, with a VIP pass. I thoroughly enjoyed the riches as only an opening act can. The excess culminated when I saw a foreign object flying closely over head, after dark, at the main stage. I spent the rest of the night throwing things at this mini-UFO so I could knock it down and examine it. This was to no avail.
How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?
I now know what drones are. We've even used them in our own music videos. This experience informed me that humans operate these things with remote controls. And my conspiracy of a squirrel-sized being flying them from a cockpit was totally unfounded.
Denver's music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?
Twenty-five years ago in Denver, only a select few had video cameras. None of them fit in your pocket, and for sure none of them were flying overhead. People at shows lived in the moment a bit more, and this allowed our ancestors to enter the party. My hope is that our scene can find the balance where unadulterated expression can interact with past planes and not just future. And by planes I'm referring to the plane of imminence and not aircrafts with cameras on them. So maybe I am still scared of drones. I guess I've got some more growing to do.