DIY

Twelve Defunct DIY Spaces That Shaped Colorado's Underground Music Scene

Monkey Mania sign, December 3, 2005.
Monkey Mania sign, December 3, 2005. Tom Murphy
Colorado has been home to DIY spaces since at least the ’80s. These venues have been critical to the growth of the local music scene, providing places outside of commercial venues for musicians to experiment. What follows are twelve of the most important DIY spaces to have emerged in Front Range cities since the turn of the century.
click to enlarge Echo Beds at 1.21 Jigga Watts in September 2011. - TOM MURPHY
Echo Beds at 1.21 Jigga Watts in September 2011.
Tom Murphy
1. 1.21 Jigga Watts

Before starting up as a DIY venue in roughly 2010, Jigga Watts was known as the Tree House, a downtown space where various bands lived and practiced for several years. As 1.21 Jigga Watts, the venue hosted punk and metal bands as well as the occasional experimental outfit. It was decked out with an indoor skate ramp, making it unlike any other space in town.
click to enlarge Night of Joy at Astroland, April 2011. - TOM MURPHY
Night of Joy at Astroland, April 2011.
Tom Murphy
2. Astroland

In a nondescript building bordering the woods, Astroland was the only active DIY space in Boulder for a few years. It was an early home to the nascent garage-rock/punk world of the 2010s and hosted touring and local acts regularly until 2012, by which time it had become inactive.
click to enlarge Cave at Further Shoppe, November 2011. - TOM MURPHY
Cave at Further Shoppe, November 2011.
Tom Murphy
3. Further Shoppe

This unmarked space between Carioca Cafe and the defunct Old Curtis Street Bar put on shows by touring bands and the local metal, punk and experimental music scene, and also served as an info shop. Operating quietly for a handful of years, Further Shoppe stopped hosting shows by 2012.
click to enlarge Eric in the Kitchen at GNU: Experience Gallery, August 2012. - TOM MURPHY
Eric in the Kitchen at GNU: Experience Gallery, August 2012.
Tom Murphy
4. GNU: Experience Gallery


Located in a basement in historic downtown Fort Collins, GNU: Experience Gallery was led by Brandton Manshel and was one of the more ambitious efforts in the local DIY scene. Manshel reached out to bands up and down the Front Range and touring acts alike to come play shows. Even after GNU shut down in 2013 and Manshel took his connections to the emerging Downtown Artery, he was able to bring that circuit of touring and local acts from elsewhere to the new venue before moving to Trinidad in 2015.
click to enlarge Git Some at Kingdom of Doom, April 2007. - TOM MURPHY
Git Some at Kingdom of Doom, April 2007.
Tom Murphy
5. Kingdom of Doom (Funhaus, Aqualung's Community Music Space)

Ethan McCarthy of the doom band Primitive Man has exerted some influence on the local scene by running spaces such as Funhaus, Aqualung's Community Music Space and Blast-O-Mat. But first he became a part of Monkey Mania in 2006 and changed the name to Kingdom of Doom after he took over booking and made it a home for metal, grindcore, punk and experimental music. In the fall of 2008, Kingdom of Doom was shut down in the wake of the city's crackdown on underground venues after the Democratic National Convention.

Read on for more of Denver's now-defunct DIY spaces.
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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.