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Denver Rock Atlas: Double Entendre

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Our Denver Rock Atlas feature is precisely what it sounds like: a compendium of storied Denver venues, past and present, in which we pick a place and share our favorite memories of the joint. After you read our memories, please feel free to share some of your own.You haven't forgotten about Double Entendre have you? The tiny little record shop that was on South Broadway before being on South Broadway was the place to be? No? How could you forget? It was one of those places that helped define a generation.

Granted, that generation happened to be the slightly annoying screamo-cum-hipster crowd, but most everyone turned out okay in the end. We certainly can't blame the owner, Paul Kane, who helped shuffle in an enormous collection of rare seven-inches, 12-inches and a few CDs.

On top of being a store Double Entendre (which was in the space that is now home to Certified Customs) also served as a makeshift venue. And while it didn't take on many shows, when it did, it was a force to be reckoned with. It also managed to enlighten hundreds of youngsters on the joys of the all-ages rock showcase.

Running side-by-side with Monkey Mania, the Hipster Youth Halfway House and Garageland, it helped create an entire new scene of punk, hardcore and noise -- and countless bands sprung out of its ranks of regular shoppers.

Although we've got a good collection of stories to choose from, one of our favorite shows there would have to be Q and Not U. The space where bands played wasn't big -- and when we say that we mean it. It was tiny. Like, ludicrously tiny. Like, basement show tiny. Once Q and Not U actually packed in and set up, the entire crowd was ablaze with that fire you only see in the eyes of sixteen- to twenty-year-olds.

The kids weren't there just to see rock and roll, they were there to demand it. And Q and Not U was in top form. This was before they started dipping their toes deep in funk and R&B, and they were still rock. Or hardcore, or punk, or whatever. They were high-energy -- let's just go with that.

In fact, the whole show was exploding with so much energy the entire store turned into a sauna. The whole place was emitting such a fowl stench of body odor that by the end of it Double Entendre smelled more like the Broncos dirty laundry than like a venue. That's what this was all about, though; it was about getting together and rocking together. To that end, Double Entendre almost always accomplished its mission, whether it was the Locust or Lucero.

Obviously, the fun didn't last. Double Entendre eventually went out of business, just a couple years shy of the full-fledged South Broadway revitalization. Near the end of it's run, Kane started shifting his already limited and specialized inventory over to electronic music. Again, he was slightly ahead of the curve -- in fact many of the genre's mainstays probably first found the ears of Coloradoans at Double Entendre.

We still remember one of the last times we were there, when a junkie came up to the door, asked if Double Entendre was a gay techno store, to which Paul replied, "Yep, totally gay, totally techno."

Or maybe we weren't there -- maybe it's just the stuff of legend.

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