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.
The Denver sound, perfected by Slim Cessna's Auto Club, has had relatively few adopters over the years. Gasoline Lollipops, a gothic Americana band, is one of the most recent acts of that particular lineage to make waves in town. Fronted by Clay Rose — also of the Widow's Bane — the outfit plays rough-and-tumble alt-country informed by Rose's rough-and-tumble life. We caught up with the singer to ask about his memories of the Showcase and his thoughts about Denver's music scene.
Westword: What memories and stories do you have of playing Westword Music Showcase?
Clay Rose: I remember playing in an alley behind Vybe on a flatbed trailer, sandwiched in between an industrial-sized dumpster and a row of porta-potties. It was noon, and there was no one there. Halfway through the first song, I closed my eyes to imagine a raging crowd. Lo and behold, when I opened my eyes, the raging crowd was really there! The venue had forgotten to unlock the doors, and apparently there had been a line down the block waiting to get in and restore my faith in humanity. This story was so epic, it was immortalized in the genius artwork of Westword’s own Karl Krumpholz. Check it out!
How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?
We haven’t played between dumpsters and toilets since!
Denver's music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?
I’m a big fan of evolution, and that goes doubly for the evolution of Denver’s music scene. It just keeps getting injections of new blood, making it more diverse and harder to pigeonhole. We feel right at home.