Lately, a lot of people have been asking me where I’ve been. Once a fixture of the scene – whatever that might mean to you or your mom – I seem to have disappeared. A Facebook friend – yes, I’m over thirty, and I Facebook (I also verb) – recently sent me a message that said, “Where have you been and what have you been doing?” Have I confined myself in some sort of self-imposed exile, or retired to some private island with my desert island music? Have I been banned from the city’s finest live music establishments for baring my perineum or my soul? Will I ever return?
To be honest, I’m surprised and touched by the concerned Facebook, MySpace, email and text messages. It’s nice to be missed. And it’s nice to know that my absence is noteworthy. But I haven’t really disappeared and, as much as I’d love to do so, I haven’t retired. I haven’t even left the scene – whatever that might mean. But I’ve certainly been less visible and, as your humble narrator and maker-outer, I feel I owe a brief explanation.
Sometimes economic circumstances and other life issues make it difficult to live an ideal life. That has certainly been the case for me lately. As Ben Folds once said, I’m missing the war. Nevertheless, I’m still here and still making out. Here’s how.
Last Thursday night, I stayed home, which, temporarily, is even farther away from the city I like to think of as my hometown. Like an indie rock cliché, I’m a grown man living in my parents’ basement. Granted, I don’t have the beer belly or four-foot bong that usually go along with this cliché, but I’m working on it.
To further cement the cliché, I spent the evening curled up with my laptop, watching YouTube videos of past Westword Music Showcases (I recommend searching like this: +Denver +music +Westword –“John Denver” – trust me, that last part is critical if you want to avoid sugar overdose). There’s some amazing stuff out there from Laylights, Dent, the 9th and Lincoln Orchestra, Machine Gun Blues, Black Lamb and more. There’s even a very brief snippet, showcasing Rosa Cervantez’s probation ankle bracelet, bedazzled with rhinestones by Michael Payne, aka DJ Wigdan Giddy. It was an evening well-spent, and, given the price of petrol, a reasonable surrogate for a night out.
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The weekend was consumed with wedding-related activities (see last week’s Makeout if you don’t know what I’m talking about), but Denver music still managed to find its way in. As part of my contribution to the festivities, I created a seventeen-hour iTunes playlist, and I proudly snuck in songs by the Swayback, the Wheel, Ian Cooke, the Still City, Widowers, Devotchka, Handsome Bobby, Mark Darling, Dan Craig, Bela Karoli and Tarantella. Most of the wedding attendees didn’t notice, but when I heard those tracks creep in between the Beatles and Stevie Wonder, I couldn’t suppress a smile. Come to think of it, the fact that these local gems could hold their own among such stellar company is a powerful statement indeed.
On Monday night, with the wedding behind me, I spent several delightful and intoxicating hours with a woman I’ve started seeing. She’s brilliant, funny, insightful, intense and absolutely stunning. You’ll have to meet her. However, the call of the scene was impossible to ignore. I took a brief break from my romantic reverie to hang out and laugh uproariously with the boys from Achille Lauro, who are on the verge of unveiling their first full-length CD. You’ll have to hear it.
So being unemployed and broker than Wall Street has made it tough for me to make it out to as many shows as I’m accustomed to attending, and I haven’t been warming barstools as often as I’d like. But I’m still here. And Denver’s staggeringly rich and womblike music scene is too. Like Sting said, we’ll be together tonight. Thanks for caring.