Music News

Kingdom of Doom Crumbles

The warehouse at 21st and Arapahoe is quiet for the first time in years. The storied space at the edge of the Ballpark neighborhood, known most recently as Kingdom of Doom, has had at least a half-dozen names — the Purple Room, the Wilted Warehouse, the Christie Front Drive Warehouse, the Arapahoe Warehouse and Monkey Mania — and has been a cornerstone of the underground scene in this town for at least two decades.

The first show I saw there was at least fifteen years ago and featured a band called Soft Clock that did a pretty fantastic job of channeling the Doors, if memory serves. Since then, I've caught a number of other shows, some legendary (the Promise Ring, Texas Is the Reason, Mineral, the VSS, the Make Up), some not so much. And there were even more that I missed, including the now-infamous gig when Sonic Youth just happened to drop by.

But everything came to a halt a few weeks ago, when Denver's finest put the kibosh on all such activity. After reportedly staking out MySpace, subscribing to bulletins and trolling individual pages, two undercover vice cops made their way inside a gig featuring NunSlaughter, Black Market Fetus, To Be Eaten and Urophagia. And around 10:15 p.m. on April 11, as To Be Eaten was waiting to take the stage, a half-dozen or so uniformed officers showed up and promptly shut things down. While most of those on hand dispersed (including NunSlaughter, which ended up playing its set at Bar Bar later that night), the members of To Be Eaten stayed behind to collect their gear, which was still on stage. And as a result, bassist Eric Fuller and guitarist/vocalist Ben Pitts both ended up being ticketed by the Denver Police Department, charged with contributing to an illegal party.

"I'm kind of pissed off," Fuller admits. "We didn't even do anything. It seemed like they were fucking with us just to fuck with us. It was like I got a ticket for not really doing anything other than just being there. I felt like it was kind of haphazard, because there were other people there, too, yet they singled us out."

Well, not entirely. Other folks got ticketed, including one of the guys who lives at the warehouse; he received a pair of citations. The fan who'd paid to bring in the band was also cited. Even worse, he's received numerous messages from scenesters blaming him for the demise of Kingdom of Doom — as if dealing with the legal fallout weren't enough.

Upbeats and beatdowns: It's time once again to weigh in with your picks for the 2008 Westword Music Showcase. After consulting with the esteemed members of our nominating committee, we assembled this year's ballot, and you'll notice some dramatic differences. In addition to adding several new categories and making room for many more nominees, we opted not to include many of the area's heaviest hitters — groups like the Fray, 3OH!3 and the Flobots, which have achieved (or are on their way to achieving) a level of success that made their inclusion seem superfluous. You'll find the ballot on page 61 of this week's printed paper; you can also vote online here, where you'll find more details about the Showcase, set for Saturday, June 14, in the Golden Triangle.

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera