Concert Reviews

The Westword Music Showcase Is Over, but the Music Doesn’t Have to End

Westword Music Showcase 2017
Westword Music Showcase 2017 Aaron Thackeray
Another edition of the Westword Music Showcase has come and gone. As the beats still pound in our heads and the crowd’s cheers echo, a few words from Anthony Ruptak are still ringing, too. The singer-songwriter – who has an album release show Saturday, July 1, at the Walnut Room –  thanked the people listening at 100% de Agave for purchasing a ticket to Showcase and for supporting Denver musicians. We couldn’t agree with him more.

He also pleaded with us in the audience to keep coming to local concerts throughout the year. He said it’s a challenge for local bands to promote their shows, to build a fan base. And he’s right. It’s hard work.

To keep local musicians thriving and to build this city’s music scene into an internationally recognized force, we have to show up.

Sure, we go to bucket-list concerts at Red Rocks to experience the venue’s magnificence, and a few times a year we may scrounge up the money to buy tickets to Pepsi Center or Fiddler’s Green. But what about local bands? Are we showing up for them?

Sometimes its hard to figure out who we like and whose shows we'd rather skip. What makes Westword Music Showcase so special is that we can wander from venue to venue, sampling bands we’ve never heard of and others we’ve always wanted to check out but haven’t found the time.

We think the worst thing about Showcase is that inevitable feeling of FOMO, fear of missing out. Yesterday, June 24, we experienced it mightily. To go to one band’s performance meant skipping others that we also wanted to hear.

But the joy of local music doesn’t begin and end with Showcase, and we still have time to give these bands a listen. The real fun starts when we support Denver musicians year ’round, the ones we write about here at Westword and others we haven’t discovered yet. It involves going to smaller venues like Syntax Physic Opera, the hi-dive, Globe Hall, Lost Lake and Seventh Circle Music Collective and risking hearing music we may have never heard – or heard of – before.

When we find something that blows us away, we should tell our friends on social media, buy the band’s merch if we can afford it, keep up with the group’s calendar and go to the next show and the one after that. It’s our privilege, as people who love this city’s music scene, to explore new acts and spread the word.

Denver fans have done it before: We’ve boosted talent like Nathaniel Rateliff, Gregory Alan Isakov, the Flobots and so many more.

Let’s do it again...and again...and again.

If you saw bands you liked on June 24, at the Westword Music Showcase, head to their next shows, check out the openers and keep building this city’s music scene by supporting one small act at a time.

Whether you were able to be at Showcase or not, pick up a print edition of this week’s Westword and hang on to the festival schedule. Let’s all make it our personal challenge to check out every local band who played the 2017 Showcase and all the bands nominated for the Westword Music Showcase award, which will be handed out Tuesday, June 27, before 2018’s Showcase edition begins.

And on behalf of everybody at Westword, thanks for coming out and for making this city’s music scene what it is.

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris