“Anthony has so much energy,” Vrakas says. “He’s so vibrant and full of life, which really gets everyone into it. It’s in the way Anthony carries himself.”
For years, Ruptak, one of Denver's most compelling singer-songwriters, has served as MC for what has been recognized as the Best Open-Mic Night by Westword.
Every Tuesday at 7 p.m., Ruptak and Vrakas open the Roxy doors to a “cornucopia of genres,” as Ruptak puts it, allowing artists to play original music that ranges anywhere from singer-songwriter to folk to hip-hop. The idea is to give artists a place to test their material and a chance to play on stage.
“This is a place of love, community and learning,” Ruptak says. “We’re all peers, and we use it as an opportunity to play the newest things, the things we’re most passionate about and the things that speak to us the most. Then artists can offer backstory and real-life context for the songs.”
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Once each month, Ruptak hosts a featured artist. But that headliner isn't the only big deal on that stage. Ruptak notes that he’s seen several musicians go on to become very successful after performing at his open mic, and they often return as crowd favorites. One such musician is Maya Bennett.
“Since first going to the open-mic night a few years ago, I’ve had opportunities to play at venues: the Larimer Lounge, Lost Lake and the Roxy itself,” Bennett says. “I’ve also had the opportunity to play a few festivals around town.”
Bennett began playing the open-mic night in 2017, coming to Denver from Loveland just to play. Now living in Denver, she’s a staple of the show, and it’s the stage, the community and, of course, Rulptak that keep her coming back.
“Anthony runs great sound, and he cares about each Tuesday night so much,” she says. “He really has created a wonderful community, so you get excited to go see and hear people that you’ve built relationships with.”