25 reasons the Denver music scene rules

013013_big-g.jpg
Britt Chester
Just look at this view captured during a Big Gigantic show at Red Rocks last year.

Denver is the capital of Colorado. It is located exactly one mile above sea level. Weed is legal here, while riding your bike on the sidewalk is not. Your mom can make more free throws than Andre Iguodala -- these are all facts. The music scene here sucks ass...now, that is an opinion. The difference? One's irrefutable, and the other, well, nobody asked you, random Craigslist dude. Listen, there are plenty of things about the scene that we're not crazy about, but the good far outweighs the bad. If you think it sucks, you're either new here or you're just not paying attention. Here are 25 reasons the Denver music scene rules.

See also:
- The 25 best concerts this winter/spring
- The thirty best concerts of 2012
- The twelve types of Denver musicians

012913_den-sucks-001.jpg

25. Can't speak for the cover scene...
...but people here will pay good money to hear your own songs, and if you're good -- or, better yet, if you're good and show potential -- they'll come back.

dethklok mosh pit scream.jpg
Brandon Marshall
A scene from the mosh pit at Dethklok.
24. People are incredibly passionate about music
The only thing bigger than music in Denver is the Broncos. And you know how we feel about them, right? Music fans are every bit as excitable. Don't believe us? Try painting over a beloved mural and see what happens.

013013_phish.jpg
Brandon Marshall

23. People here are adventurous listeners
We're early adapters here. Tons of bands have gotten love here before anybody else in the country even knew who they were. Ask Phish and the Dave Matthews Band. Fans aren't afraid to give new music a chance, even if they've never heard of you.

012913_otherside.jpg
Britt Chester
Cervantes' Other Side is just one of the places to play in Denver.

22. There's no shortage of places to play
If it seems like we have almost as many venues here as we have dispensaries, it's because we do. Okay, not really, but there's an unbelievable number of incredible places to see and play live music, and more and more are cropping up all the time.

8 houses down studio.jpg
Via 8 Houses Down
8 Houses Down won a Best of Denver award in 2007.

21. There's no shortage of places to record
Whatever your budget and needs are, there's a plethora of amazing studios where you can record with talented engineers to help produce your masterpiece, whether you're playing punk or funk or metal or blues or folk, and whether you're looking for digital or analog, in a home studio or a world-class room.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
73 comments
Jami Duffy
Jami Duffy

I would add Youth On Record to the list. We employ - meaning PAY - local musicians to teach in the most underserved high school classrooms in Denver. 20+ locals are currently working for us. They're teaching their craft, educating the next generation of musicians and making enough money to keep doing what they love. :)

Bernard Saujon
Bernard Saujon

Anyone want to colaborate?www.bartholomewvanderhorne.com

Riley Rukavina
Riley Rukavina

There is still waaaayy to many groups that work hard and create incredible music with no recognition or chances to further their reach. Honesty denver loves generic crap

ZetaKaye House
ZetaKaye House

Can agree with almost all of these, sir. Even a year later... Ha! Hey! Thanks for the mention too!

Cory Evertz
Cory Evertz

crappy auto text piece of shit..sorry for the words being changed from what I meant to say

Cory Evertz
Cory Evertz

This is good news, but being a recording artist trying to start a business, I have to compete with studios that have worked way more equipment. Either way, Colorado is where I wanna be...loving those mountains and we have goid folks. Buying some weed legally is cool as F $ck!

M Matthew Eizenga
M Matthew Eizenga

So many start here and get shit on that they leave. Laying out here for 10 years, proves that The Fray and The lumineers didnt 'make it here' they left and made it in spite of Denver.

Hayley Blattner
Hayley Blattner

I'm not yet convinced that it rules. I'm talking about local acts only & The Lumineers don't count. Give me your top 5 local alt-rock artist. (I'm in need of a good face melting, toe tapping time)

DanaCain7
DanaCain7

GREAT list, Dave!  Thanks so much for this. I'm gonna share the hell out of it.  <3


Ivan Gomez
Ivan Gomez

Yeah that's what you call creative writing...

Frank Catalfano
Frank Catalfano

Denver is going down with all that weed around ,mark my word

Kat Jaramillo
Kat Jaramillo

You people don't know a sad scene. Come to Albuquerque. Denver rocks!!!!

York Hill
York Hill

You're listening to the wrong music then

Nathan Dant
Nathan Dant

Denvers scene sux, I dont know what youre smokin.

Ben Lewis
Ben Lewis

Didn't mention the punk or hardcore scene. Or 7th circle. Or the office space.

Patrick Layman
Patrick Layman

@Dave Herrera You try way too hard. Yes, 2 of 5 golden rules of marketing/ communication 101 is both non-alienating your audience and welcoming subcultures that would normally feel unwelcome but if you're going to do this... please, do it with sincerity. For example, back up one of your bullet points with an example instead of mentioning 2-3 band names and pretending that the name drop alone explained your point. So you know, it didn't.

Megan Sabella
Megan Sabella

Lived in DC, Nashville, Orlando, NYC, San Francisco, LA and boston and Denver tops them all when it comes to music, hands down!

Ryan Mcmichael
Ryan Mcmichael

Definitely the "420 friendly" venues. For those of use that don't drink or only can have a couple drinks because we have to drive, being allowed to get completely ripped during a show is greatly appreciated.

goat4
goat4

Please allow me to add several more reasons Colorado rocks.... KAFM KBUT KCSU KDNK KRFC KUNC KGNU KDUR KOTO KVNF KUVO Radio 1190. Open Air 1340. All air decent amounts of CO music

Jennifer Underwood
Jennifer Underwood

Well our band from Colorado just won third place at the International Blues Competition in Memphis. Over 200 bands from all over the world competed. We got it going on here in Denver!

mspmidway
mspmidway

The Denver music scene rules?  When I think of amazing music scenes or in your words, scenes that rule (musicians, support, venues, etc...) cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Austin come to mind.  Denver has a long way to go before it can be grouped with those cities.  As of right now, the Denver scene is where it should be for a city / metro this size.  BTW, I knew this article was a joke when the Fray and Lumineers (who aren't even from Denver) were mentioned. 

bradleyqt
bradleyqt

Riley, I'm not sure that's a Denver issue. I think that's the nature of the beast. People like approachable music. Don't let their approval affect your passion.

bradleyqt
bradleyqt

So alt rock bands from more face-melting to more toe-tapping + a metal true face-melting act.

Musclebeach

In The Whale

The Joy Subtraction

The Knew

Flint Forehead

Jack's Smirking Revenge

The Photo Atlas

Calder's Revolver

Sheer Face melting-ness

Colfax Speed Queen

A bunch of them played the UMS so you can check their music out there under Artists. Less work than searching out fb links.

zach.pasdoe
zach.pasdoe

@Jennifer Underwood  Every metro area larger than Denver (I think there are 20) and several smaller metros (probably 20+) have it going on.  That said, there is really no reason to sit and thump our chests.

stokednco
stokednco

@mspmidway @mspmidwayI'm sorry but you haven't a clue what you are typing my hard rocking Amigo!  I've spent the last few years on the the west coast trying to find what Denver brings to the table and it's just not out there yo.  What makes this place a bedrock for music IMHO is the bluegrass scene and if you're not on board with that then I'm afraid I'm going to have to say goodnight.  Show me a place anywhere in the country that compares.  Show me a place that I can plan my entie year aound so many bands that I can see without even leaving the state? OK, this is about Denver but overall, String Cheese Incident, YMSB, Pretty Lights and EOTO just to name a few really decent and respectable bands are always in town in some form or antoher. 

robbygriswold
robbygriswold

@mspmidway I can second this I've lived in Denver my whole life and recently just moved to Austin. The author of this article should try getting out to some other cities.

dave.herrera
dave.herrera moderator editor

@robbygriswold@mspmidwayI've been to other cities, most of the ones you mention, in fact, and while I love Austin and some of those other places, I much prefer to live here. But, listen, while we're on the subject, what, specifically, makes you think those other places are so vastly superior to Denver? Eager to hear your opinion.

dave.herrera
dave.herrera moderator editor

@robbygriswold

In the interest of not further stoking the fires of what seems to have the potential to become an ad hominem exchange here, I'll try to offer a reasoned response to your points, rather than making broad, unfounded assumptions about you based on your assertions, as you appear to have with me.

Let's see, for starters, by "adventurous," I was referring to music fans here, whom are clearly willing to give unheralded acts a chance -- in this case, groups like DMB and Phish, which were both unknown and unproven quantities elsewhere when they gained a strong, grassroots foothold here -- as opposed to those specific acts themselves.

Just the same, while you could certainly make a viable argument that both of those acts were progressive in the own ways in the context of pop music at the time they came to prominence in the early '90s, to suggest that they're envelope pushers these days is not only silly and remiss, it's besides the point.

As far as my tastes are concerned: Considering that I never mentioned Pretty Lights or even got into specifics regarding my EDM inclinations, it's a bit baffling that you assume that my tastes are generic and/or lacking. There's truckloads of "progressive, truly adventurous music," as you put it, being made here:

To wit: There are no shortage of acts I'd consider to be progressive here, from Men of Burka and CacheFlowe to Rubedo and BLKHRTS, but perhaps more salient to this particular discussion, you can make a case for acts like EOTO, Big Gigantic, Project Aspect, Ieungliss or Yawn Tron making forward thinking electronic music, IMHO. Out of curiosity, what acts, specifically, do you consider to be progressive?

If you'd like to get a feel for my actual sensibilities, you're welcome to peruse my individual picks in our weekly Heavy Rotation feature; that should give you an apt feel for my current and recent proclivities.

Now, back to the original point, I'd love to hear your perspective on how and why these other cities are so vastly superior to Denver. What makes them so? Is it the caliber of talent, the infrastructure, the venues, what? Surely you can offer up at least a couple of concrete reasons -- I mean, I've listed two dozen. 

Eager to hear your take...

robbygriswold
robbygriswold

@dave.herrera I really can't get over the fact that you think Dave Matthews band is adventurous... what a joke! The dubstep scene is the most progressive in Denver but there is so much more to electronic music than that. As far as experimental forward thinking electronic music and hiphop Denver has a long way to go. If you think pretty lights is original or innovative you don't have a clue... ok I take it back maybe it's not you're lack of experience with other cities. You just have generic limited taste/knowledge of progressive truly adventurous music. Lol fucking Dave Matthews band... get out of here did you become a music journalist?

mspmidway
mspmidway

@dave.herrera Wait.  Now you want to discuss where one prefers to live?  

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...