Celebrating 25 Years of the Westword Music Showcase: Porlolo

Porlolo's Erin Roberts.EXPAND
Porlolo's Erin Roberts.
Courtesy of the artist.
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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 75 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 the Showcase have gone on to worldwide success, while others continue to perform for loyal local audiences. And some have cashed in and left music altogether.

Erin Roberts has been honing her craft for years with Porlolo, expanding and contracting her band and developing her songwriting skills. Recently she quit a job and then dropped a new song that is all about quitting. She's going full steam ahead with her music, though, with a new album in the works slated to come out this year. We recently caught up with Roberts to ask about her experiences playing the Westword Music Showcase and her thoughts about Denver's music scene.

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

Oh, my, there are some good ones. I remember watching a heartbreakingly lovely set by Natalie Tate in a tiny nook of a restaurant, then having to run her super-heavy keyboard down the street for her set with Porlolo a hundred blocks away. Or maybe three blocks — one of the two. I also remember watching drummer Joe Richmond listen to voice memos of the Still Tide songs he just learned in between songs of their set at City Hall. It was his first show with Still Tide, and he clearly was wanting to nail the parts. He nailed the parts.

How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?

Porlolo is constantly evolving — sometimes devolving, depending on the day. We bring on new players, try out new songs, strip it down, whatever we need to do. I think since the last time we played Westword Music Showcase, we've developed a much more fun live show, more energetic, with lots more rock.

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

This is a tough question, because I'm prone to nostalgia, and of course life was just really fun and easy and experimental in my twenties, and so pretty imprinted by Denver of the early 2000s. Things I loved about the scene then aren't the same now — the thriving DIY scene, the small, interconnectedness of the scene, cheap living. The bands that scene produced. But there are so many incredible bands in Denver right now, with much more diversity than before, and the quality of the music coming out is just so good. More venues, lots of collaboration among players. More women in music!

The 25th Westword Music Showcase will sound off in the Golden Triangle on Saturday, June 29. Get tickets and more details at westwordshowcase.com.

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