Last night, soul singer Leon Bridges somehow upped his cool factor another thousand percent when he showed up unannounced to Goosetown Tavern's Turn It Up Tuesdays open-mike night. The 26-year-old artist, known for his stripped-down take on retro soul, performs at the Paramount Theater tonight, Wednesday, May 25, but he and his band arrived in Denver early, allowing for the surprise appearance.
Reportedly, Bridges likes to check out smaller local joints when he can, and he heard about the open mike happening at Goosetown. According to Nic Jay of band Petals of Spain, who runs the night, "He rolled in around 10:30 or so. A friend said, 'Hey, Leon Bridges is here,' and there he was, standing like two feet away. We got him on stage, and he did a three-song set. I asked the audience if they wanted one more and we brought him back up for a solo."
The unsuspecting crowd seemed pleased with the surprise show, according to Jay, who says attendees "absolutely loved it. Many people spoke of how special and intimate it was."
Besides performing the short set, which included "Better Man" and "Lisa Sawyer," Bridges was an engaged participant in the open mike. "He was super-chill and listened to all the local acts," Jay says. "Leon was just tapping his foot and grooving to everybody."
Bridges wasn't the only national touring act to show up last night at Goosetown; his current opening act Solo Woods also performed. And Nashville singer-songwriter Marc Scibilia, who plays Lost Lake Lounge tonight, closed out the night with one song.
"It was an explosion of Colfax flavor," Jay says. "In general, all of the performances were spectacular. It was a really special night at the Goose."
While it may have been a special night, it wasn't necessarily an uncommon occurrence at Turn It Up Tuesdays.
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Goosetown owner Chris Swank, who also owns the Bluebird Theater, says, "The Goosetown open mike has been pulling some great musicians on a weekly basis. Also bigger names have been stopping by. We had Todd Park Mohr [of Big Head Todd and the Monsters] a few weeks ago. Nic [Jay] does an amazing job and is a great musician in his own right, very charismatic (he also does singing telegrams)."
Jay credits location and locals for making the night a draw for out-of-towners: "It's really popping off, being right across the street from Bluebird. It's about to be a thing, because the local talent who come in each week are just insane."
Check out Nic Jay's video of Leon Bridges at the Goosetown Tavern's Tuesday open-mike night below.