The idea for the new palette-based stage outside at Black Shirt Brewing came from owner Chad Miller’s three-year-old son.
His son, who is a musically inclined toddler, was making Miller replay music videos on YouTube for him one night. In one that was played over and over, Miller began to notice that there was a stage made of palettes. This was during the time him and his brother, co-owner Brandon Miller were thinking of building a new stage for their brewery to host more shows. Miller realized, that being a brewery, Black Shirt has many palettes laying around, and so they tried some things out. “Through a couple of different experiments, we were like holy crap this works well,” Miller says.
Black Shirt Brewing opened its doors in 2013, and music was present in some way since its inception. The brothers’ father had instilled a love of music in them at an early age, making them “count rhythms and listen to melodies” and those musical teachings are clear in their work as brewers.
“Were much better brewers than musicians, but we find a lot of inspiration in music and songs,” Miller says. We really wanted to grab on to that in a powerful way.”
Black Shirt hosted its first show in mid-2013 with a makeshift stage, and the series quickly grew, turning into “BSB presents Now Playing,” and earning the brewery a partnership with Colorado Public Television.
“The word just got around and we’re now being reached out to by bands instead of us having to seek them out,” Miller said of the success.
The regular shows were all booked by Brandon Miller who is “plugged into the Denver music scene,” and Colorado Public TV has been filming some of the concerts and putting them online (link here!).
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But last year Miller realized that they would need a better set up if they wanted to keep throwing high-quality shows.
“This year we decided to make it more of an experience, and more beneficial to the sound and energy back there,” Miller says. “Bands play to the audience, and when you’re sitting on a little platform with no sound or lighting going on, the experience suffers.”
The palette idea came into being after Miller saw that Youtube video, and after the brewery realized they didn’t have the money to build what they wanted.
“It’s an idea that we were trying to build a stage and had a budget in mind that was really unrealistic,” Miller says. “Slowly we realized we were in over our heads, so like the brewery, we looked around and said how can we repurpose what we have to make this amazing.”
Palettes was a natural solution as everything “comes in and goes out on palettes.” Miller and his team worked to figure out how to make a palette based stage sound good.
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“We started looking how we can make the sound right by channeling and stratification,” Miller says. “Palettes really conducive for this to make some amazing sounds.”
The result looks a little crazy, with palettes stacked in semi-circles on the sides, but according to Miller, sounds amazing.
“It’s got a bunch of different geometry going on with it,” Miller says. “It’s as much for look as for sound reasoning. It’s pretty unique.”
Because Miller and his brother are involved in the music