Westword Music Showcase

Celebrating 25 Years of the Westword Music Showcase: Cheap Perfume

Cheap Perfume reflects on the Westword Music Showcase.
Cheap Perfume reflects on the Westword Music Showcase. Brandon Marshall
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 seventy 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 Showcase have gone on to worldwide success, while others continue to perform for loyal local audiences. And some have cashed it in and left music altogether.

Straddling Colorado Springs and Denver, the members of Cheap Perfume bring furious feminist rage to venues throughout the Front Range with songs like "It's Okay to Punch Nazis," "Fight Like a Girl" and "Slut Game Strong." For the past couple of years, Cheap Perfume has been a Showcase staple; in 2019, for the first time, the band will be headlining one of the local stages.

We caught up with lead singer Stephanie Byrne over email to get some Showcase memories, as well as her thoughts on the Denver scene.

Westword: What memories and stories do you have of playing the Westword Music Showcase?

Stephanie Byrne: We always LOVE playing the Westword Music Showcase! There is definitely a different sense of camaraderie playing it and knowing you're a part of something bigger. Walking out onto the streets and seeing all of your friends is such a wicked-cool feeling! It's like when you go to a show and watch your friends play a killer set and knowing how hard they worked to get there and how much passion is in their music times 100.

How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?

We have grown so much since the last showcase. We recorded an album (release date TBD); opened for the Descendants, the Kills, Propaghandi, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, among many other greats; and played shows with some of the best of the best Denver has.

Denver's music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?

In the time we have been going to shows collectively, we've only seen the noise get louder and the sound get better! The presence of more underrepresented demographics of musicians has grown tremendously. Hearing the roaring voices of trans, queer, POC, womxn and other marginalized groups is a breath of fresh air that we desperately need. Having the opportunity to hear experiences of oppressed folx is resulting in conversations that should have happened a long, long time ago.

The 25th Westword Music Showcase will sound off in the Golden Triangle on Saturday, June 29. Find out more about who's playing, vote for your favorite acts in the Westword Music Awards, buy tickets and find more details now at westwordshowcase.com.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris