Music News

You can leave your (cowboy) hat on at Stampede

I've been into Western shirts for a few years and wear one pretty much every day of the week — usually solid black or some sort of plaid, untucked, with snaps. But that's as close as I come to being a cowboy. I don't have cowboy boots or a hat. And I don't listen to much country music except for Hank, Waylon, Willie and Merle.

So what the hell was I doing at Stampede (2430 South Havana Street in Aurora) on a Wednesday night when I could've been seeing an indie-rock band at the hi-dive (7 South Broadway) or Larimer Lounge (2721 Larimer Street)? Research, man. Specifically, research on the ladies' night at this giant country joint, which I'd heard was off the hook.

The night didn't start well. Since the parking lot was packed, I had to park what seemed like half a mile from the club's entrance. And once I finally got to the door, a security guard told me that Stampede no longer allows baseball caps (a cowboy hat would have been fine) and that I'd have to pay three bucks to check it or take it back to my car. After walking back to the car with my cap, I considered leaving, but I was drawn back by whiffs of perfume on the night breeze.

The place looked about three-quarters full, which says a lot given its size. I got a Bud and grabbed a seat by the massive, square-shaped dance floor. It reminded me of a skating rink, except for the bar in the middle and the folks slowly making their way around the floor. A few guys would dip their gals so low they almost hit the floor. During Ronnie Milsap's "Local Girls," they all stopped going around in a circle and started dancing in unison instead; I couldn't figure out if each song had its own dance moves or they were just following each other. And then there was the guy in the red-checked cowboy shirt who shuffled around the dance floor by himself. Somebody should've given the dude a pair of roller skates.

When Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road" kicked in, boots started stomping to the beat. But that all changed when the DJ dropped Usher's "Yeah," which introduced a set of hip-hop and R&B tunes including Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," with gals busting out moves from her video. As they gyrated, I started thinking of that hilarious YouTube video where a leotard-wearing fat dude does his best to imitate Beyoncé.

Then DJ Casper's "Cha Cha Slide" came on, a weird hip-hop/country hybrid in which Casper gives directions — and everyone on the dance floor followed along. It seemed odd to be switching back and forth between country and R&B, but somehow it worked.

Maybe it's got something to do with that Jungian thing — ya know, the duality-of-man concept. Maybe that's why I can like cowboy shirts and also listen to Coltrane records. But I still missed my baseball cap.

Club scout: Michael Fraietta has started offering a bingo night with a twist at the British Bulldog (2052 Stout Street) on Wednesday nights. Instead of just calling out numbers, Fraietta — whose alter ego is Mitch Hackberg — will tell a quick Mitch Hedberg joke, like, "B2 — A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer — B14...." He'll delve into other comedians' material as well when the fun starts at 8 p.m.

Also on the comedy beat, Rockbar (3015 East Colfax Avenue) is bringing in the Wrist Deep crew — Adam Cayton-Holland, Greg Baumhauer, Ben Roy and Jim Hickox — for a night of comedy on Saturday, April 18. Tickets are $10 if you want a seat or $5 for standing room only, and the show will be televised in the front room.

On Thursday, April 16, 24k hosts a Breakfast at Tiffany's-themed night hosted by Denver magazine's Auna Jornayvaz and Monica Owens, socialite Holly Kylberg, model Steffie Maxwell, DJ Ginger Perry and Paulina Szafranksi, Lotus Concepts' vice president of marketing. There will be Pearl Vodka drink specials all night, and ladies get complimentary cocktails from 9 to 11 p.m.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon