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Introducing the Denver Rock Atlas: The Climax Lounge

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Okay, so here's an idea we've been kicking around for a while that we think is time to bring to fruition. Our new 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.

We were first introduced to the Climax Lounge back in the '90s, when it was still known as the Raven. Located on Welton Street between 22nd Street and Park Avenue West, the place was more or less ground zero of the local punk rock scene at the time, playing host to a parade of homegrown punks, from Pinhead Circus and Qualm to Random Victim and Four.

We saw a great many memorable shows at the joint, which boasts one of the biggest disco balls around, before the chain link fences that separate the bar from the dance floor to accommodate all ages shows, were erected, and that section of the city was still considered a little sketchy to venture into.

Like we said, we saw quite a few shows at the Climax, from Boy's Life to the Fray. Yes, the Fray. No shit. Believe it or not, Isaac Slade and company played there. That's gotta be our one of favorite memories of the place (well, besides playing pinball, of course).

It was unforgettable -- not for how well the group played, but for the notably incongruous scene. Man, you should've seen the look on Jason Cotter's face, who was booking the place at the time. He had a look of utter bewilderment as he scanned the crowd, which was comprised of well-groomed suburbanites, including, as we remember it, a few women with small children saddling their hips. Priceless.

Cotter's befuddled reaction was understandable, particularly in contrast to the roughneck crowd the place generally attracted. If we hadn't witnessed it ourselves, we'd never believe it if you told us this was the same Fray that's now nominated for a Grammy.

Got a favorite memory of your own? Let's hear it.

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