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 seventy 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 Showcase have gone on to worldwide success, while others continue to perform for loyal local audiences. And some have cashed it in and left music altogether.
Nate Cook of The Yawpers has grown from his days screaming acoustic folk songs in Boulder cafes to traveling the world, with albums put out by the Chicago alt-country label Bloodshot Records. Over the years, the band has been a mainstay at Showcase, where Cook built fans and community alike. Westword caught up with Cook to talk about his memories of playing the festival.
Westword: What memories and stories do you have of playing Westword Music Showcase?
It’s been years since we’ve played, but what I mostly remember is meeting a lot of the bands and people who would shape my life for the first time at the Westword Music Showcase. It was the first place I saw In the Whale (Nate is now my roommate, and we just finished a tour together). It was the first place I saw Dragondeer, and I’ve become incredibly close with all those guys. It was also the first time I really got to hang with the guys in Eldren, and I count Tyler, Nasir and Josh as among my best friends in the world. I honestly couldn’t tell you about a single show we actually played, however. I was having too much fun to remember anything.
How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?
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Hmmm. I don’t know, really. We’ve gotten bigger, played more shows...I guess we’ve gotten signed since the last time we played. I’m answering this email from a van on our way to a show in Glasgow, which is something I would’ve done anything for back then.
Denver's music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?
I certainly haven’t been around that long, and I’d be remiss to pretend I know the current state of the scene. We’ve always been kind of self-sequestered, aside from the few close ties we maintain. I’m pretty amped at some of the young bands I’ve seen, particularly the Beeves. I’m sure the scene is thriving, and no one wants the take of an aging cynic, anyway.
The 25th Westword Music Showcase will sound off in the Golden Triangle on Saturday, June 29. Find out more about who's playing, vote for your favorite acts on the Westword Music Awards ballot, and buy tickets at westwordshowcase.com.