Music News

The Beatdown

Like the pre-Melo Nuggets, the Colorado Rockies are having a tough time putting asses in the seats these days. I mean, you can't give those tickets away. You know it's bad when folks would rather kick it in their cubicle farms, Joe Versus the Volcano style, than spend an afternoon at Coors Field.

I don't claim to be an authority on sports, much less a baseball expert, but I think I've put my finger on why attendance has dropped so drastically. Contrary to what all the pundits at the daily fishwraps would have you believe, the problem isn't Clint Hurdle's coaching ability or the homer-friendly environs of our ballpark, or even the fact that the organization has traded away damn near every prospect who's shown a glimmer of potential over the years. It's not even the fact that the stadium's vendors gouge fans by charging six bucks for a measly freaking hot dog. No, if you ask me, it's all about the Rockies' shitty music.

Last Thursday afternoon, as I watched the Rocks get bitch-slapped by the Milwaukee Brewers, I endured what can only be described as classic-rock hell. When the playlist wasn't painfully predictable (Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2" and Queen's "We Will Rock You"), it was plain godawful ("Hello It's Me," by Todd Rundgren, and Huey Lewis & the News's "Doing It All for My Baby") or just barely tolerable (Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way," and "Big Shot," by Billy Joel). During a few moments of respite, the music gods smiled upon us and tossed in cuts by the Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters and Metallica; even as played-out as those tunes are, they sure beat the freedom rock that had been served up until then. But then the thundering baritone of Alan Roach, 850/KOA mouthpiece and announcer for the Rockies, drowned out the tunes as he bellowed about...well, whatever it is that he bellows about between innings and batters.

Given that lame-as-fuck collection of songs, is it any wonder our Boys of Summer are cellar-dwellers? How can the players -- much less the crowd -- get fired up about anything when they're served yesterday's watered-down pablum?

Note to the Colorado Rockies: If you want to rule, you need to put the rock back in the Rockies. Forget about hiring a new coach or going after marquee players you're just going to trade anyway. What you need to do is hire a new music supervisor. Take a cue from the Nuggs, who tapped DJ Bedz and Sabotage to get fans hyped. You need to move the crowd before the crowd moves you out of town. And FYI: There are a slew of hometown artists who'd sound infinitely better than those now heard at Coors Field. And what better way to foster community relations than playing songs from the community?

Ball's in your court, fellas.

And speaking of putting the rock back in the Rockies, after the game, I made it over to the Demo Daze launch party in time to catch Hizzoner John Hickenlooper play "Purple Haze" -- well, attempt to play it, which was enough for this audience. "Somebody once told me, 'Politics is Hollywood for ugly people,'" he said to the crowd. "Now I know it's rock and roll for ugly people, too."

The Mootown mayor, who from now on shall be known as Hickenrocker, was on hand to help Demo Daze celebrate its new digs, at 2132 Curtis Street. The company, which had previously been based in Fort Collins with sales offices on both coasts as well as in Chicago, centralized its operations with a little help -- just under a quarter-million dollars -- from the Mayor's Office of Economic Development. For the uninitiated, Demo Daze is an Internet music portal not unlike Launch: Music on Yahoo!, featuring news, interviews, bios, photos and videos on a diverse collection of artists ranging from Afroman and Aesop Rock to Franz Ferdinand and the Stills. The company also delves into customized music marketing and boasts a high-profile client list that includes Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

What truly sets this outfit apart, though, is the Demo Daze Lounge, with a dozen cameras focused on a stage at the back of the nondescript warehouse. According to Josh Crick, Daze's founder, the plan is to film sets by touring acts (Cooper Temple Clause and the Samples have already taped performances, he says) and then syndicate those broadcasts to numerous sites across the web. With roughly twenty million potential viewers, Crick says he's already in negotiations with television and radio partners.

His negotiations with the city went just fine. "Denver is the final frontier, in an urban sense," Hickenrocker explained. "If we're serious about reinventing ourselves, something like this belongs in Denver. We're taking things that already exist and building on it."

Crick was a little more pragmatic when he described why Daze chose Denver as its base. "In other markets like New York or L.A.," he noted, "we'd be fighting with other organizations for their [the artists'] time."

Maybe so, but he still couldn't have picked a better city to get his rock on. As he proved Thursday night, this mayor is all about helping our entertainment scene. Now if the rest of the city would get on board -- in particular, those goddamn parking Nazis on Denver's payroll. It's bad enough that people have started avoiding LoDo, what with the recent beatdowns and all those cops in riot gear, but the real violence is being played out at the parking meters.

A few weeks ago, I left the Blue Mule at closing, only to find yet another ticket on my car: Apparently the Keystone Kops couldn't wait a second after last call to enforce that insane no-parking-between-2-a.m.-and-6-a.m. rule. Which means that if you come downtown, you have only four hours in which you can escape the heavy hand of The Man. What a bunch of horseshit: a $20 fine for staying until the club closed and then being fourteen minutes late to my car.

Since one of Hickenrocker's primary platforms was parking (remember the commercials with him walking around with all those quarters?), I asked him what was up with the bureaucratic clock-watchers.

"No creative person should ever get a parking ticket," he responded.

Ah, he had to be freaking kidding me!

And he was. "Supposedly, we clean the streets every night," he explained, promising to look into the situation. "But I live downtown, and I've checked -- and we don't clean the streets every night."

Finally, a politician who talks the rock and rocks the talk. Maybe he should run for president -- or at least take guitar lessons.

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera