The Denver scene says goodbye to one of its biggest fans this weekend at the Toad Tavern

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Today marks yet another bittersweet day for the scene, a day when we bring you word that Tommy Nahulu, a tireless champion of Denver music over the years, is picking up stakes and moving back to his native Hawaii. To commemorate the occasion, the Toad Tavern is hosting the second annual Tommypalooza, a three-day extravaganza that kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday, and which will pay tribute to Tommy with performances from some of his favorite songwriters, folks like Liz Clark, Angie Stevens, Elizabeth Rose, Lannie Garrett and Melanie Susuras, as well as a number of bands such as Demon Funkies, the Trampolines, the Flash Mob and Zuet, among others.

While people move every day, Tommy's departure strikes us as especially poignant, particularly when we consider just how ingrained in the fabric of the scene he's become. In addition to working closely with a countless number of local acts from Liz Clark to Nina Storey, he founded and co-founded several local music efforts such as LMNOP (Local Music Network of Patrons) and Rock On Colorado. And when he wasn't busy with that, he was snapping photos at innumerable shows.

For as long as we can remember, we haven't gone more than a few weeks at time without running into the guy at a show. From Herman's to Brendan's Pub to the Cricket on the Hill to the Larimer Lounge, Tommy was everywhere we were, it seemed. If you didn't know any better, you'd think he's literally planned his life around supporting the men and women making music in this town. Knowing Tommy as we do, that wouldn't be too far from the truth.

And his passion for the scene extends well beyond the Colorado borders. Believe us when we tell you, his heart's in Denver even when he isn't. Our fondest memory? Easy. A few years back, we ran into Tommy, also an accomplished muralist -- his Johnny Cash portrait proudly adorns the east wall of Bender's Tavern -- at an NBC soundstage in Burbank, California, of all places.

We were in town to catch the Fray's Tonight Show debut, and as we were making our way to our seat, we heard a disembodied voice emenating from the lower seats in another section, feintly calling our name. We scanned the crowd and didn't see anyone we recognized at first. And then, next thing we know, there's Tommy, bearing a grin as wide as a eight-lane SoCal freeway and as welcoming as a bucket full of ice cold, unattended Coronas. 'What the heck are you doing here?' we thought.

The answer should've been obivous. Tommy was doing what he's always done -- getting behind the home team. He was temporarily living in San Diego at the time, where he'd been commissioned to paint a mural. And evidently, upon catching wind of the Fray's Tonight Show appearance, he somehow managed to get his hands on tickets to the taping, at which point, of course, he took the day off and convinced a friend to drive with him two hours north to see Isaac Slade and company, a band he'd followed since the beginning, play for less than ten minutes.

That's dedication.

And moments like that are common with Tommy. If you ask around, chances are, you'll hear story after story of his tireless devotion to the musicians in this town. So that's why news of Tommy's leaving is bittersweet for us. Bet you won't have to look hard to find other people at the Toad this weekend (full line-up after the jump) who feel exactly the same way. While we're stoked that he's able to go back home and spend quality time with his family, we're going to miss his enthusiasm and postivity. Not only was it infectious, it was inspirational.

Godspeed, amigo.

Friday, December 11
7:00 Demon Funkies
8:00 Mike Marchant (Widowers)
9:00 Random Hero...
10:00 Gription...
11:00 The Flash Mob
12:00 My Friend Tom
   
Saturday, December 12
6:00 Boa & The Constrictors:
7:00 Elizabeth Rose
8-8:30 The Trampolines
9:00 Quillion
10:00 Molina Soleil & Aju
11:00 Melanie Susuras Band

Sunday, December 13
3:00 Kristina Ingham
4:00 Zeut
5:00 Liza Oxnard
6:00 Melissa Ivey
7:00 Coles Whalen
8- 8:15 Lannie Garrett
8:30-9:15 Angie Stevens
9:30-10:15 Liz Clark
10:30-11:15 Jen Korte



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