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Denver Rock Atlas: Hipster Youth Halfway House

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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. Next up on our list is the Hipster Youth Halfway House -- the neighbor (and precursor) of Garageland.

For the most part, the Hipster Youth Halfway House operated as a party outlet, but when other venues weren't available, it would take on a show here and there. It was a warehouse and a home to the venue owners, but that never seemed to stop people from having a little too much fun, especially on its roof.

The roof was a hazardous area to climb up to, which, of course, made a bunch of twenty-somethings more curious about it. It also had a slew of beat-up cars and other hazardous junk in the backyard, which, we'd venture a guess, caused at least one person to require a tetanus shot.

One of the most memorable shows was in 2003, with Dead Sexy, Kindercide and Examination of the... If memory serves, Dead Sexy was a bit of side project -- a pretty straight forward hardcore deal, with lots of screaming and yelling and what-not.

The members of Kindercide was their typical chaotic selves -- with lots of running around and punching going on by their dueling lead singers, while the drums and guitar shredded at a breakneck speed. The band was the very definition of energetic hardcore -- young and wild with blinding speed and fists in the air.

Examination of the... was the big draw. In 2003, Denver had a fascination with Midwestern hardcore acts -- they were pouring into the state in droves, always getting shows and always packing venues.

Exam wasn't too different; they packed the Hipster Youth Halfway house and brought the rock as advertised -- which was a sort of Isis-esque slow crawl, or slightly more energetic sludge. At least one member of the band liked Denver enough to eventually move here after the show, forming the band Across Tundras.

From memory, most shows at the Hipster Youth Halfway house played out this way -- a couple hardcore bands, a few touring Midwestern bands and free flowing beer. Since it was also a home to people, it never got to be as disgusting as Garageland, but it always seemed to be right on the brink of it.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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