Quixote’s True Blue might have changed locations a few times over the past two decades, but the music venue and bar has always been a haven for fans of the Grateful Dead. Although owner Jay Bianchi closed the last Quixote’s incarnation at 314 East 13th Avenue (where it had been for the last four years) at the end of October, he didn’t waste any time opening another spot in a similar vein. Bianchi has taken over the former Denver Wrangler space at 1700 Logan Street and will open Be On Key Psychedelic Ripple there in December.
The moniker of the new venue is both a phonetic play on Bianchi’s name (Be-On-Key) and a nod to the ripple effect that Quixote’s has had on the Denver music community. “Everyone would always tell me how much effect we had on the scene and all that stuff, so that’s where the ripple is,” Bianchi says. “It was also a scene of hippies and the psychedelic-era kind of thing. That ripple effect. Everyone kept telling me how we changed Denver, so that’s the psychedelic ripple, and Be On Key is two meanings: to be on key, and it’s also my namesake.”
Bianchi looks at Be On Key Psychedelic Ripple kind of like a band side project. He wanted to create something slightly different with its own feel. “I wanted to put Quixote’s to rest after twenty years, and I felt like that was a good, healthy lifespan," he says.
Bianchi named Quixote’s after the Miguel de Cervantes novel, Don Quixote, and says it was a story of “a guy who failed and failed again. I was like, maybe I’ll go with a different story and give it a different mythology and all that stuff. Don Quixote was a very heroic figure, but also in the end he has to be brought down to and renounce all the things he believed on his deathbed. So I think the mythology of Don Quixote was haunting me a little bit, and I figured I’d create a new mythology.”
Bianchi says Psychedelic Ripple will be something of a hybrid of Quixote’s and Sancho’s Broken Arrow, another one of Bianchi’s Dead-centric bars. He’ll be booking similar acts, including a three-night New Year’s Eve run with Melvin Seals & JGB (Friday, December 30, through Sunday, January 1).
While Bianchi says the last Quixote’s location in Capitol Hill had more of a shut-in and self-reflexive feel, Psychedelic Ripple will have more of an airy, blossoming, outward vibe. He says the Wrangler space felt industrial and he’s making it a little more homey. Quixote’s had two stages; Psychedelic Ripple will have one stage and a game room.