Widespread Panic fans mourned the loss of Moon Time Bar & Grill (846 Broadway), which closed in early August, taking Widespread Wednesdays with it. Now Highland Pacific (3934 West 32nd Avenue) is helping fill the void, bringing in Eric Martinez and Tori Pater, a pair of guitarists who often played at Moon Time, to perform at this restaurant/bar every Wednesday.
At Moon Time, you'd hear a few hours of taped Panic shows before the live music kicked in; as I walked into Highland Pacific between sets, the Black Crowes album Amorica was on the stereo. Then Martinez, Pater and a djembe drummer offered a few tunes before Cecil "P-Nut" Daniels joined them for a spirited version of the Band's "Up on Cripple Creek." The Panic posse would recognize Daniels for his horn-playing with the band at Red Rocks shows, as well as with Gov't Mule, Galactic and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Although Daniels calls San Francisco home, he comes to Denver so often you'd think the guy lives here, and he'll be back jamming with Martinez and Pater in the coming weeks.
On the next few tunes, including Little Feat's "Spanish Moon," Daniels played his MIDI woodwind controller, which looked like a plastic sax and was hooked up to a synthesizer. He could make the thing sound like a sax or a harmonica, and even play a bass line. Using another device that looked like a trumpet, he coaxed out some convincing flute sounds for Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes."
While the music was great, what I really dug about Highland Pacific was the people — I met half a dozen cool folks in my first half-hour there. When I sat down at the bar, the bartender shook my hand and introduced himself. Sure, it's a small thing, but it hardly ever happens in bars. I'll be really impressed if he remembers my name the next time I stop in. And I'll definitely be back, especially since this spot now offers live music Wednesdays through Saturdays, starting at 9:30 p.m.
Club scout: On Saturday, October 4, the Loft (821 22nd Street) kicks off Rocktober, which runs Saturdays through October, with local metal bands Nemesys and Glass Delirium and choreographed performances by the Erotic Dolls. There's also a jerk-off and fake-orgasm contest (which should be pretty damn amusing), iPod giveaways and DJs Bedz and Creature spinning between the live sets. Drink specials include $3 Miller Lite, MGD and PBR tall boys, $4 Silk Panty shots and $5 Wet Pussy shots. Also on October 4, Kinga's Lounge (1509 Marion Street), which calls itself Denver's only Polish lounge and restaurant, will celebrate its first anniversary with the Hornbuckle Brothers Blues Band, $1 Polish kielbasa specials and free cans of PBR and well drinks from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Robusto Room (9535 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree) found such success with its every-other-Sunday standup comedy nights that it's now hosting comedy every Sunday, starting at 9 p.m. The shows usually run an hour and a half, with $2.50 specials on all draft beers. The club also just launched a weekly New, New Fridays with DJ Kon-Flikt at the decks and $3 Stoli and $3 Stella Artois specials.
Finally, The Falcon (3295 South Broadway) is making itself over into Moe's Original BBQ. But while the food may have changed, the venue is still bringing in live music. And Geeks Who Drink just started a weekly Tuesday trivia night there, which starts at 8 p.m.