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 75 local acts will fill venues throughout the Golden Triangle, while national headliners CHVRCHES, Jai Wolf, JAUZ, Bishop Briggs, Crooked Colours, 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 in and left music altogether.
We admit it: A lot of cover and tribute bands are pure snooze fests. Not so the Nuns of Brixton, "the only Clash cover band that matters," as the group bills itself. Jim Yelenick, who fronts this act, channels the magic and intensity of Joe Strummer. Dressed in nuns' habits and rocking Clash songs, the Nuns offer an experience that is at once awkward, hilarious and transcendent. (Full disclosure: Westword clubs editor Jon Solomon is a guitarist for the band.)
We caught up with the Nuns to find out more about their memories of playing the Westword Music Showcase and their thoughts on the Denver music scene.
Westword: What memories and stories do you have of playing the Westword Music Showcase?
The Nuns of Brixton: While we’ve only played Showcase once, it was a really fun set at Stoney’s in 2017. Since it was quite hot that day and we wear polyester habits, it was one of our sweatier gigs. The cool thing about the Westword Music Showcase is the chance to play for people who have never seen us live before, and we added some folks to our fan base because of the Showcase.
How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?
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We’ve gotten tighter, to the point where the music of the Clash is ingrained in our psyches, so much so that playing is even more second nature.
Denver's music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?
It seems as though the number and variety of tribute/cover acts has grown considerably over the last quarter of a decade, and that might have taken some of the stigma off actually playing in one. Tribute and cover acts seem to be embraced more by a larger audience in Denver these days, which we think is a great thing.