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, lovelytheband, the Knocks, the Wrecks and SHAED will play the two main stages.
Many of the artists who have participated in the Showcase have gone on to worldwide success, while others continue to perform for loyal local audiences. And some have cashed it in and left music altogether.
As part of our 25th Showcase celebration, we're checking in with 25 of the bands and musicians who have played the festival over the years, asking them to share a few Showcase memories as well as their thoughts on how Denver's music scene and their own music has changed.
Little Fyodor, the wacky musical persona of Dave Lichtenberg, is a Denver legend who got his start back in the ’80s. At 61, he continues to bring his outsider antics to shows across town, albeit less frequently than in years past, since his band is technically on an extended break. But he's currently recording new material and may be hitting stages citywide once again.
Here's what Little Fyodor has to say about the Showcase and Denver's music scene:
Westword: What memories and stories do you have of playing the Westword Music Showcase?
Little Fyodor: Hey, it was an honor to be chosen and the gig was was good — probably earlier in the day than we'd ever played before, but it was good, and it was fun. Probably the best thing actually was just getting to see the rest of the festival. Once we were done (nice and early!), we could go see everything else. Just like with SXSW, I kinda felt like we'd played for our entry the way wandering troubadours used to sing for their dinner. It was great!
How has your own band evolved since playing Showcase?
I wonder if you're looking for answers about how we've grown and matured and learned so much and expanded our audience, yadda yadda, but I won't bullshit you. We were chosen to play right after we started an indefinite hiatus that we're still on! It's not a retirement. It's just that we'll play only very occasionally for at least the time being. I think we've played only three times (though two of those were in one week, heh) since that Showcase show a year and a half ago. But, hey, I'm 61 fucking years old, been playing shows for 35 years now. Cut me some slack, dickweed! So our Showcase appearance didn't lead to anything big or transformative or such, but we had a good time and loved it, and right now we're recording some new songs that we might wanna support when they're done, so we may yet metamorphize into a butterfly (with fangs!) once again, ya never know...
Denver's music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?
I'm more likely to be caught watching Lost in Space reruns on a Saturday night than going to shows nowadays, so I'm hardly an expert on "the scene." But you're asking me, so I'll tell you: There certainly seems to be no lack of quantity — quality, maybe not so much — at least for weirdos like me who prefer the weirder shit. There's a bit of weird stuff, and Claudia Woodman is great at putting it on, but it's definitely a smaller percentage of all that's going on.
Oh, well, yeah, I'm weird, and I really don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of the town, so never mind me, carry on....
The 25th Westword Music Showcase will sound off in the Golden Triangle on Saturday, June 29. In honor of the 25th Showcase, the first 2,500 general admission tickets are just $25 each; supplies are limited and after those are gone, the GA price will rise to $35. VIP tickets are $65, and those prices will go up, too. So get your tickets and more details now at westwordshowcase.com.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.