Music Festivals

Westword Music Showcase Schedule: What to See Where and When

Westword Music Showcase is returning September 9-10.
Westword Music Showcase is returning September 9-10. Brandon Johnson (@bjohnsonxar)
The 2022 Westword Music Showcase is returning to the RiNo Art District next week, filling the area with music from local and national acts alike in the city’s longest-running celebration of the scene.

The Showcase will cap off a week of Art RiNo action with a night of free local music at venues across the district on Friday, September 9, followed by a major party with national acts at the Mission Ballroom Outdoors on Saturday, September 10. The full schedule has just been announced, so grab your tickets and get ready for a great weekend of music!

Here's your guide for shows to see:

Friday, September 9

The events on Friday, September 9, are all free, and plenty of options await. Before you catch Denver favorite Gestalt's indie tunes at Ironton Distillery at 8 p.m., catch Same Cloth, which kicks off the night at 7 p.m.; this duo of keyboardist Soloman J. Chapman Sr. and vocalist JoFoKe elevate live music to a whole new level. The night closes out at 9 p.m. with iconic cumbia/chicha/Western rock band Ritmo Cascabel, which puts on an unforgettable show.

Are you an alt-rock and/or indie fan? Then Larimer Lounge is the spot for you. The evening here begins with alt-rock/indie pop-rock group Immigrant's Child (7 p.m), followed by a set from the Crooked Rugs (8 p.m.), a psychedelic rock band that leans into indie, rockabilly and both prog and classic rock for some serious grooves. The vibes get a bit more punk with Cleaner (9 p.m.), which will be followed by electro-indie act Elektric Animals (10 p.m.). End the night with high-energy sets from R&B-infused Rootbeer Richie & the Reveille (11:10 p.m.) and desert-rock purveyors Pink Fuzz at 12:20 a.m.

Over at ReelWorks, start the evening with ethereal songstress Grace DeVine (7 p.m.), then catch Doze (8 p.m.), who infuses layers of hip-hop and rap into his Post Malone-esque tunes. The venue folds into indie-pop territory afterward, with Sophie Gray taking the stage at 9 p.m. with her catchy beats, followed by Neoma's sweet disco pop at 10 p.m. Then, starting at 11:10 p.m., Denver-based 128 Productions brings a well-curated DJ lineup for two-plus hours of mind- and booty-shaking EDM.

Also heating up the late-night roster is activist hip-hop group 2MX2, one of Denver's best Latin-infused acts, starting at 10 p.m. at Bierstadt Lagerhaus. Earlier, the venue hosts an eclectic range of acts, with Honey Blazer's folky rock kicking things off at 7 p.m., followed by a blast of punk from Plasma Canvas at 8 p.m. and Western twang from Ryan Chrys & the Rough Cuts at 9 p.m.

Indie rules at RiNo Beer Garden, where you'll start the night with folk-indie songstress Claire Heywood (7 p.m.), then continue with more indie pop from bellhoss (8 p.m.) and finish up with indie rock from Bear and the Beasts (9 p.m.). And if you're into early-aughts punk, Matchbox will play host to more great acts, including Body (7 p.m.), pop-punkers hellocentral (8 p.m.), grunge-punk rockers Endless, Nameless (9 p.m.), post-punkers Julian St. Nightmare (10 p.m.), new wave-influenced despAIR Jordan (11:10 p.m.) and CITRA, which melds pop and grit rock into its own brand of music (12:20 a.m.).

If you're looking for a mellow night, head over to Number 38, where you'll be entranced by the powerful yet delicate voice of Julia Kirkwood wrapped by breezy, poppy beats (7 p.m). Next up is Lucky Spell, Kyle Emerson's new band (8 p.m.), followed by all-women bluegrass/folk group Big Richard (9 p.m.). More chill sounds can be heard on the Catbird Rooftop, where you'll find a sunset set from deep-house DJ Levi Double U starting at 7 p.m. and the hip-hop stylings of Katana Da Don starting at 9 p.m.

Want to catch some serious Denver icons? At Gold Point, be sure to see Bluebook (9 p.m.), a supergroup of Mile High music veterans that began twenty years ago as a solo project by Julie Davis, who's now joined by Jess Parsons (Glowing House), Hayley Helmericks (Monofog, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake) and Anna Morsette (Still Tide). The night will also include dream pop from mlady at 7 p.m. and the mesmerizing vocals of Kayla Marque at 8 p.m.

Saturday, September 10

Enter the national acts, which will fill RiNo with rock, funk, indie and more on three stages at the Mission Ballroom Outdoors.

Don't miss Bloomington, Indiana's The Main Squeeze (1:15 p.m.) on the Brighton Stage (between Wynkoop and Brighton and 40th and 41st streets); it's bound to be an unforgettable show of funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop and beats that will wear the shoes off your feet. That band will be followed by indie-pop group Cannons (2:35 p.m.), dream pop/indie prog-rock act Saint Motel (7:35 p.m.) and none other than the iconic Flaming Lips closing out the Showcase at (9:30 p.m.).

Over at the Native Roots Stage (at 41st and Wynkoop streets), you'll be absolutely enamored with Denver artist N3ptune (8:40 p.m.), who blends genres from hip-hop, soul and rap to pop, funk and disco with an unmatched stage presence. Listen to his latest single, "Mannequin," which opens up about particularly vulnerable experiences, to prep for an unforgettable show. Earlier acts on the Native Roots docket include Latin-infused wonders the Mañanas (2 p.m.), psychedelic and tribal instrumentalists Ramakhandra (3:20 p.m.), Mile High chicha legends Don Chicharron (5 p.m.) and rockers Holdfast. (6:45 p.m.).

Immerse yourself in more local magic at the Street Stage, located at the north entrance. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is sponsoring this stage, which will showcase a retrospective of local hip-hop curated by Roux Black and hosted by Mimosas & Munchies. The day will kick off with upbeat bangers from Denver DJ Hex Kitten (12:05 p.m.), followed by hip-hop artists At'Eaze (1 p.m.), LKeys (1:35 p.m.), Trey Triple A. (2:45 p.m.) and Lane-O (3:45 p.m.).

More highlights at the Street Stage include Denver rap veteran Midas (5:50 p.m.); R&B songstress Danae Simone (6:10 p.m.); high-level stoner rapper Trayce Chapman (7 p.m.); and Ray Reed, who's known for his slick verses (8 p.m.). Popular Mile High rapper TheyCallHimAP, "our city's crown jewel," according to Black, wraps things up at 9 p.m. with DJ Squizzy Taylor, "the hottest hip-hop DJ this side of the Mason Dixon Line," she adds.

The Westword Music Showcase returns to RiNo on Friday, September 9, with free performances by dozens of local bands at nine venues in the area. On Saturday, September 10, more local bands will join national headliners the Flaming Lips, Saint Motel, Cannons and the Main Squeeze on three stages at the Mission Ballroom Outdoors; tickets are $55-$85. Get more Showcase information at westwordshowcase.com.
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