Music News

D Note celebrates ten years, gets new owners

The D Note in Olde Town Arvada is celebrating its tenth anniversary this weekend. The two-night celebration will be bittersweet, as it will also serve as a goodbye party of sorts for the DeGraff family, who recently sold the venue to Dave and Mernie Rosenberg. Adam DeGraff, who has booked bands and curated art at the spot for the last decade, says that while some things will change, some will also stay the same, including the wildly popular salsa night on Sundays that draws between 200 and 300 people.

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"The whole family bought it in the same way it was family owned for us," DeGraff reveals of the new owners. "My brothers and I and my parents were kind of involved," he notes, adding that the Rosenbergs "have got a family thing, too. There's four kids, and they're all working now at the D Note. So they'll keep that kind of family vibe going on. They came to the D Note as fans, which is kind of an ideal situation."

While DeGraff originally envisioned the D Note as a performance space/art gallery, he says that never really panned out. "I was somewhat naive," he admits, "in that would have never financially worked out, trying to do a real art gallery where you've got some edgy art and that kind of thing."

After DeGraff joined forces with his brother Matthew, who Adam says is much more sensible about business, and Matthew's wife, the D Note eventually opened its kitchen and began serving pizza. It also started being more family oriented. Since Matthew and Monica took over most of the financial burden, Adam considers them patrons of the arts since the venue was never really a profitable enterprise for them. And since they both had day jobs and three kids, Adam says it was hard for them to really focus on the business. "They just needed to get someone in there that could really focus on it and help it to thrive," he explains. "I think it will be a good breath of fresh air to have the new owners in there."

Over the last decade, Adam DeGraff says that thousands of bands, most of them local, have played at the D Note. Even the Fray played a handful of shows there when the act was starting out, he says. With an eclectic variety of entertainment and sometimes four different events happening on weekends, DeGraff says it was at times difficult to build crowds. "It was always kind of a balancing act trying to get the music in there that we really love but also get people out," DeGraff says. "That was kind of the hard part, especially in the early years when nobody had heard of us."

DeGraff also says the D Note became a place where musicians hung out. Some musicians even met there for the first time. "That's been a really cool part of it," he says. "Just being a nexus for that community."

While the D Note was a meeting place for musicians, a lot of communities call the place home, and the spot has hosted hundreds of benefits. "In the beginning I never thought we'd do so many benefits and that kind of thing," he says. "Those kind of things end up meaning the most in the long run."

The tenth anniversary celebration kicks on this Friday, February 15, with Laughing Hands, which features flamenco guitarist Steve Mullins; then Opera on Tap and Cabaret Otaku performing selections from Mozart's The Magic Flute, Bizet's Carmen and Rossini's Duet for Cats at 9 p.m. International Blues Challenge winner Lionel Young closes out the night.

Starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, Slo Children, which features Adam DeGraff and his brother Jeremy, will play a set about D Note and will feature performances by Micah Lundy (from Zebra Junction), Allen Galton (from Wonderlic) and Melissa Ivey. Arvada-based bluegrass/rock act Stonebreaker starts at 8:30 p.m. and Oakhurst closes out the night. There's a $10 cover for both nights.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon