Music News

The Basement is way tight — really

Before I moved back to Denver, I lived in a 350-square-foot studio in Brooklyn. The kitchen was the size of a telephone booth, and the bathroom wasn't much bigger. The doorway to the bathroom was so narrow I had to turn sideways to get through it, and the sink was right above the toilet — which I thought would come in handy if I ever got a nasty dose of food poisoning and had stuff coming out both ends.

I got used to living in small spaces, but I still wasn't quite prepared to get stuck in an elevator in the Manhattan office building where I worked at the time. There were just too many people on the thing, and it went down too far past the bottom floor and the doors wouldn't open. I was packed in there with six other people. I started sweating and damn near had a panic attack when I thought about the guy who got stuck in an elevator for a weekend in Louis Malle's film Elevator to the Gallows. Fortunately, after about ten minutes the elevator somehow inched up to where the doors could open.

As I walked into the new club Basement (1314 14th Street), which opened last month underneath Martini Ranch, I felt like I was in that elevator again. It's a small space, and since the place was packed, it seemed a lot smaller. Still, I could see how some people might really dig the wall-to-wall-crowd thing — particularly since you can rub up against people while you try to get from one end of the place to the other.

But since I moved back to Denver almost three years ago, I've gotten used to having my space again. So if I hadn't run into a friend, I probably would have left the Basement and gone back upstairs. As it was, the music was so loud that it was hard to talk. It was cool, though, that David Lyon, a violinist from the Denver Philharmonic, was playing along with songs that DJ Rex Buchanan was spinning, including a version of the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Turns out it was Lyon's first night of a Wednesday residency. And that alone may be enough to draw me back down to the Basement. The entrance to the club, which is open Wednesday through Sunday, is in the alley behind Martini Ranch.

Club scout: Wesley Wayne, who's been running Night of the Living Shred at Rockbar (3015 East Colfax Avenue) since September, is switching things up for Straight Fuckin' Rock, a weekly Thursday-night feature that starts December 4. We're talking some balls-out, no bullshit stuff: AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Van Halen — what KAZY played back in the day (Rockbar owner Jesse Morreale once had a show on the station called Metal Retardation). Wayne starts spinning at 11 p.m.; from 6 to 10 p.m., Uncle Dutchie will host strictly rock karaoke, which means no Celine Dion or Whitney Houston.

The producers of Pop-Tronica just launched Noise! Fridays at Beta (1909 Blake Street), where local resident DJs will lay down a mix of indie, pop, electronica and nu-disco. And on Saturday, December 6, Bender's Tavern will host the Ladies of '08 fashion show with designs by Eropersona, Jackson Ink, Broken, Messy Cowgirl and Shay of Lucky 13 Tattoo; Luke Schmaltz of King Rat, Brent Loveday of Reno Divorce and Boldtype will each perform acoustic sets. Cover is $8, $5 if you bring in a toy for Toys for Tots.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon