Lipgloss moves from La Rumba to Beauty Bar

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Aaron Thackeray

What was the competition like back when Lipgloss first began?

Back then our competition wasn't really club nights -- it was more concerts at the Ogden. And not really even then, because the concert would end at midnight and you'd just get a later crowd. But now, on any given Friday, there are at least three club nights that we're in competition with, like Mile High Soul Club and Neon Knights.

How has the scene changed over the decade?

Anyone who wasn't at least eighteen in 2001 has no idea how much cooler this city is now. There just wasn't anything to do back then. When I was eighteen it was 1990, and this city was just desolate: We used to drive to Boulder to go out.

So is Lipgloss somewhat responsible for the change in nightlife over the last decade?

I think so, but some people may disagree with me. I don't want to say [the change] wouldn't have existed without us; I think it would have, but I think that Lipgloss had a direct impact on the indie/hipster/whatever scene. People stopped doing one-genre nights, the goth night, the Brit pop night. Why go to a Brit pop night when you could go to Lipgloss and hear Brit pop but then also hear some really cool stuff? We were the first to do so many things. Like we were the first to bring in rock-legends; we brought Carlos D. We brought guys from the Smiths. We brought Peter Hook, Marky Ramone.

The Bravery called us up [when they were in town] and said they'd heard of the club and wanted to come deejay after their show, and they didn't want a dime; same with the Go-Go's. And this sort of thing happens all the time in New York or L.A., Denver didn't have that; [before Lipgloss] they would play a show then skip town because there wasn't anything to do. We got mentioned in Spin and NME magazine because Denver was suddenly on the map, a city where cool things happen.

Was moving to a busier section of town an impetus for the change? Was La Rumba too isolated?

You never got people just randomly going to La Rumba, but people will just stop in to Beauty Bar, they're just, "Oh, it's the weekend. Let's see what's happening at Beauty Bar." People never did that with La Rumba. It's on a side street, and there's no walk-in traffic. People know what's going on there before they get there.

But it's more than just Beauty Bar -- that whole neighborhood is a lot more welcoming now.

Oh yeah, that area was never a place people visited if they wanted to go out. If you didn't live in Capitol Hill, you didn't want to go out in Capitol Hill. It was really scary to a lot of people. I moved to 13th Avenue and Vine in 1991 and this area of town is so drastically different. It's cleaner, safer. There's so much more around here. There was nothing back then -- it wasn't a pretty part of town. We'd go downtown, to Rock Island, Paris on the Platte, Muddy's, Calvin's. Now you've got people coming down from the suburbs to come to Beauty Bar.

Is that why you decided to move to Beauty Bar?

To be honest with you, I would have moved Lipgloss a while ago if I'd had the appropriate venue. Beauty Bar is a good fit for us. I hate to leave La Rumba, but I'm forty years old. I don't have any health insurance. I'm barely getting my rent paid. I need more money. I need industry standard. There are people throwing parties in this city that bring in half the people I do -- but they're making more money.

When most people think of deejaying, they often think of technical aspects like beat matching; how does music selection play in to the craft?

I literally think [music selection] is the most important -- and the most overlooked -- aspect of deejaying. And I think that's one of the reasons I've been so successful: I'm really good at reading a crowd. I also know when to say fuck off to the crowd -- I'm gonna play what I wanna play -- and then knowing when to give them something I know they'll love.

Sometimes people will give me crap for dropping "Billie Jean," but you know what, it's a great dance song and pop song. Michael Jackson is a brilliant artist and I'm never ashamed to play him. It will fill the dance floor. And then that frees you up to play stuff that they don't know -- but they should.

There are DJs I know that are insanely good technical mixers -- they could mix me out of town -- but they'll get up there and have no ability to work the crowd at all. And then I've had people who can't mix worth a damn, but they come in and lay down a set that just makes people go bananas.

Page down to read our Q&A with Jesse Morreale, who learned of the move via an e-mail from Trundle:

Location Info

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La Rumba

99 W. 9th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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23 comments
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Dannylarumba
Dannylarumba

Join us tonight for the final Lipgloss at La Rumba! Next Friday we will offer a special one night only event-So What! Dance Party with DJs Big Styles and K-nee. Keep your ears open for the announcement of our amazing new Friday night starting June 15th! 

Alex
Alex

"After eight and half years, there are a lot of people that would just go to Lipgloss inadvertently. They'd end up there because of the geography and because they knew that people go to La Rumba on Friday nights."

Oh, please. That's ridiculous. I get that owner/managers always want to re-write history to make their product look better, but don't try and bullshit an entire scene.

eric f
eric f

Someone said they already have new DJ's in place to start tonight.

extremetaylor
extremetaylor

That would be a pr disaster.  There's a ton of press about this being the  last Lip Gloss tonight.  It's the reason I'm going tonight.  If I pay five bucks for that and I get there and it's not the Lip Gloss guys I'm going to be pissed!  Larumba better be ready to start doing a lot of refunds and getting a lot of negative press if they do that.

Michael Trundle
Michael Trundle

Hi Taylor, 

"guest" is correct.  This one article is not remotely a "ton of press."  Club nights don't really ever garner what one could call that, as the scope of interested parties is too small to warrant it.  I'm glad you saw the article in any case.

However, you are correct in your statement that a lot of people would be upset were they to attend and not have an actual final Lipgloss at La Rumba, as that is why we promoted tonight at La Rumba and didn't start at our new venue tonight.  I'm moving forward with the assumption that we will be allowed to hold the night there tonight as agreed to by myself, Jesse Morreale and the club's management, and that this agreement will be kept - if for nothing else so that the guests of Lipgloss and La Rumba will be given what they were promised.  I truly believe while there may be a lot of tension and anger between myself and Jesse - not really from my end, but that hardly matters - that we will move forward with tonight as planned.  

If you don't see Brennen and I on the DJ stage, then you'll know that I was incorrect about that assumption.

guestU
guestU

Unless it's on the TV News and multiple Print publications it's not a lot of press. A blog interview / article on Westword.com would not be considered alot of press.

Kitty Vincent
Kitty Vincent

Many people know I am Michael Trundle's girlfriend, so there are those who will consider my comments biased, which I accept. However, I was surprised to see that Jesse Morreale (owner of La Rumba) was interviewed while Westword chose not to interview the owners of Beauty Bar. Jesse is clearly angry, and it stands to reason that he would put a negative spin on this article because he feels slighted over losing Lipgloss.  On the other hand, interviewing the owners of Beauty Bar would have put a much more positive light on the move, the decisions behind it, and the night's future moving forward. I can't help but wonder if the motivation behind this decision was more about creating controversy and readership than about supporting the work and dedication Michael has put into growing our local scene for over a decade now.  Just something to consider...

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

Kitty, thanks for weighing in. Appreciate hearing your perspective and getting your feedback. Regardless of your ties, you make a valid point: Speaking with the owners of Beauty Bar will indeed offer another perspective -- and we will likely catch up with them sometime after Lipgloss makes the move to get their perspective, as well. While these news items tend to feel definitive, really the scene is dynamic and covering it is an ongoing conversation. Right now, the main part of the story is Lipgloss leaving La Rumba, and that's why we spoke with both Michael and Jesse. But rest assured, our coverage of both Lipgloss and whatever ends up taking its place at La Rumba will continue. Anyhow, thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

guest
guest

That is rather insulting for Jesse to say the night is "tired", if the night was so tired then why didn't be pull the plug on it? Hopefully Beauty Bar will be committed to the night, the only thing they seem consistant at is having events at other venues. Best of luck

Michael Trundle
Michael Trundle

I believe the answer to the whole "tired" rant might be answerable by the first comment under this article.  However, I am trying to avoid the negativity which has attached itself to something that I feel very positive and happy about, and which I think proves to me more and more that I made the right choice in this move.

As far as Beauty Bar, there are no concerns there.  Both Lipgloss and Beauty Bar are dedicated and eager to make this night work in the new location, and we will.  I hope you can come down and check it out.  Thanks for the wish of luck!

Guest
Guest

Trundle- Why is it that after 8 1/2 years, you couldn't make so much as a phone call to Morreale instead of an email? Strikes me as a touch cowardly and awfully ungrateful.

Michael Trundle
Michael Trundle

Guest - 

I did try calling Jesse before I sent the email but went straight through to voicemail.  Rather than wait I, decided to go ahead and send the email to him and the rest of involved staff.  Perhaps I should have waited until I could get through, but I had plans for the rest of the day that precluded the possibility of a later phone call and I felt it best to let them know of my decision at that point.  In any case, this situation is what it is and I doubt waiting even longer to make another phone call would have eased anything.

Guest
Guest

It just seems to me that maybe the fact that you're 40 years old and having trouble paying your rent could be attributed to the fact that you quit a long standing job via email.

Szaszen
Szaszen

And we don't have to see your resume to know its not impressive.

Denverboom
Denverboom

 Actually, in modern professional resignation etiquette (Even in Fortune 500 companies), it is perfectly acceptable to send resignation emails (and actually preferred to phone calls) in 2012

Michael Trundle
Michael Trundle

One can hardly attribute my entire financial situation to how I notified this venue of my decision or even whatever attributes you seem to think are inherent in one who did so.  One could far more easily attribute it to the fact that I choose to work in a field I love which by its nature doesn't pay very well, and that I was working under a deal which paid even less than that nature would normally call for.

It's clear you have a set opinion on this situation and that I am not likely to change it, so I will sign off of this particular conversation now.  I do understand your basic point and perhaps I should have waited until I could speak to Jesse first. I just felt the more notice everyone had the sooner everyone could move forward with future plans.  Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20, but I made the decision I felt best at the time and I will stand by it.

Thank you for your comments.

WAAAA WAAA WAAAA
WAAAA WAAA WAAAA

"The deal has been the same with Michael since we started the night eight and a half years ago." To bad gas prices aren't the same as 8.5 years ago Jesse. 

brian griff
brian griff

Jesse Morreales is a piece of work.  I really don't like Trundel.  I think he's a on the arrogant side of things but if he hurt Jesse's feelings I might buy him a drink sometime soon because Jesse is a fucking asshole.  That guy sucks life away from the living.  What an asshole.

JoJo
JoJo

So they both suck, eh? 

Jmpmk2
Jmpmk2

Definitely an end of an era; and yeah, the product is vastly different than it was from 2005-2009.  The music took a shift to cheap electronica and kiddie-dubsteb, and stopped playing memorable songs that would make you smile for three hours straight.  It used to be so easy to drag a dozen people there on any weekend -- people you couldn't get to go to another dance club -- even for just the last hour, before close, to cap a night off.  Different attitude brought a different crowd, and sure, maybe we grew into our late-20's a bit too.

La Rumba?  I'll miss your $2 gin and tonics, but the location was never a draw for me.  It's an island between South Broadway and LoDo, and it's not an easy walk from either direction.  I haven't been in two years, and I don't see myself going back again either.  Cap Hill is a better commute, and maybe my favorite dance night will be more back-to-basics.

Michael Trundle
Michael Trundle

Come down and check it out again, Jmpmk2.  I think you'll be surprised.  Electronica has definitely made an inroad as so much of today's music falls into that category, but there have been little to no dubstep or electro "bangers" played at Lipgloss for almost a year, and we have a STRICT no dubstep policy - from residents or guest DJ's.  Many of those memorable songs you talk about have made their way back into rotation along with some newer ones.  That's part of the reason I wanted to move into a place that felt a little more like Lipgloss at 60 S. felt from 2001-2004.  A smaller club lends itself better to that vibe than a big club.  It feels more appropriate somehow.  Let me know if you'd like to come down.  I'll take care of you and some drinks and you can let me know what you think!  michael@denver3.com

duane
duane

looks like jesse got a case of sour grapes to me

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