High Plains Underground Archive

Rhinoceropolis and Glob In Photos: The Current Era

When Trevor Yawner moved into Rhinoceropolis in 2012, he brought some of his connections in the on-the-rise garage rock underground movement to Rhino. John Gross also brought his long-running involvement in noise locally and far beyond to the venue, and Rhinoceropolis had some of the key elements needed to bring something interesting and exciting back into the venue. You could feel that reinvigoration at shows in 2013 and without a doubt from 2014 to the present. A new group of people had discovered the long-running DIY space and classic DIY show bands like Lightning Bolt and Ed Schrader's Music Beat made the place a regular stop on touring schedules. So the new generation of artists with ties to the world that Rhinoceropolis came out of and embodied have been making Rhinoceropolis, Glob and Club Scum a destination. Bands like Linear Downfall, Underpass, Human Traffic (due to play at Club Scum on June 18th) and the like give you some hope for the future, that's for sure.

Looking back on those years I only went to that part of town for shows four times in 2013 and more than doubled that in 2014. It was perhaps a partially subconscious decision but of late I've felt that Rhino and Glob got some of its mojo back at a time when Denver metro is becoming a more unwelcoming place for off the beaten path art and music and culture generally. Hopefully Rhinoceropolis can weather this period intact, even if it has to make changes to how things are done and face whatever other challenges come up.

What follows are several of the photos I took going to shows from 2013 to the present. Going back lately I've felt like the focus on art and music is back stronger and that the newer bands that regularly play shows at Rhino, Glob and Club Scum like Future Single Mom, French Kettle Station, Future Single Mom, Cop Circles and Bang Play are keeping things vital in that part of the underground while more established artists and bands with more experienced people like Thug Entrancer, Page 27, Church Fire, Morlox, Acidbat, Echo Beds and Deep Satisfaction very much represent some of the best most interesting stuff going on not just in Denver but anywhere right now. 




*Author's Note on the High Plains Underground Archive: In the late 1990s, I started going to local shows on a regular basis. Growing up in the '70s and '80s, I didn't know there was such a thing as local music worth checking out. But I was drawn in after seeing a band called Rainbow Sugar (an all-female punk/hip-hop/experimental guitar rock extravaganza) opening for Sleater-Kinney's first show in Colorado at The Fox Theatre in October 1998. Next, I learned about a show at the now-defunct Rebis Galleries. From there I went to the first Monkey Mania show, and there was no looking back.

Rainbow Sugar was the first local band I photographed at Herman's Hideaway in 1999. But it was in 2005 when I got my first digital camera that my extensive photo archive started. In this series, called High Plains Underground Archive, I will share a small fraction of the tens of thousands of those photos, focusing on specific venues, bands, time periods, movements and whatever else seems to make sense. The title of this series comes from the working title of my book on the history of underground music in Denver 1975 to the present.

- Seven of Denver's Most Underrated Bands
- Wolf Eyes' John Olson Talks About the Importance of Music Communities
- Why DIY Venues Are Vital Are Vital to the Health of the Entire Music Scene
- DIY or Die: Why Denver Need Under-The-Radar, All-Ages Arts Spaces

If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.
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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.