A weekend at Mutiny Information Cafe, Denver's most unexpectedly great music venue
Mutiny Information Café may be ground zero for the next generation of Denver's music scene.
Tom Murphy PBLC from San Antonio
The shop sits on the southeast corner of Broadway and Ellsworth. Its modest but inviting exterior hasn't changed too much since Matt Megyesi, Joe Ramirez and 3 Kings Tavern co-partner Jim Norris took over operations in February 2013. In the window, a neon sign indicates "Books," but for the last several months, the storefront has not only made available an increasingly solid selection of music to go along with those -- it has hosted a wide variety of concerts. Mutiny is filling a need for a truly all-ages venue and an easy-to-find location central part of Denver. It's not a symbolic role, either. We spent three consecutive days there over Memorial Day weekend and saw a trio of very different shows.
Norris envisions Mutiny as an all-ages host that operates completely legally, as opposed to the many DIY venues that must exist as quasi-legal endeavors. In coming months, the bookshelves will be modified and some of the stock will be culled to essentials and local publications, and the space will be able to host over a hundred patrons. Norris and his partners want to cultivate the room as a community space, where the next generation of musicians -- those who can't bring their young friends into a bar like 3 Kings -- will have a place to showcase their musical wares.
Tom Murphy Sleepwalk Cinema
The first night of the weekend featured a lineup of mostly experimental electronic acts, beginning with Sleepwalk Cinema: One guy with banks of synthesizers he uses to create the kind of dark, moody pop songs reminiscent of late '80s and early '90s EBM. His music has a dark, undeniably expansive feel.
Tom Murphy Victoria Lundy
Victoria Lundy followed up with a rare solo show -- she's better known for her more going concern, The Inactivists, and her collaborations with synthesist Mark Mosher and other members of The Boulder Synthesizer Meetup. With her Theremin and some backing beats, Lundy was Clara Rockmore-esque in her precision and nuance in performing what sounded like modern classical music for strings. It was a beautifully eerie performance that drew genuinely curious looks from onlookers walking by on the sidewalk. And that was one of the most fascinating aspects of at least the two evening performances of the weekend -- the intentional and un-intentional people watching from the inside. seeing people walk by the big windows and reacting with everything from amusement to fascination to mockery to excitement and even inspiration. Many walked inside to hear a few songs. This is not something that often happens at bars -- few are so visibly open and inviting.
Tom Murphy Captain Howdy
Captain Howdy's brief excursion to flowing, deep, shadowy, dense ambient was augmented by Morlox's knack for casting the textures into greater contrast either by providing his own or through his expert ear for tone and how to play counter to that or in harmonic complement. People walking by didn't seem to know what to make of Captain Howdy, but not a lot of people outright ignored it.
Tom Murphy Galacticat from San Antonio
The scene hearkened back to shows at Rhinoceropolis, before the decade turned, when it would be a handful of people going to check out an excellent band no one much knew about. You showed up hoping to get into something a little weird, a little innovative and certainly an antidote to whatever trends dominated the more obvious venues. The crowds were largely the friends of the bands, but the mix of ages and styles spoke to a casual and relaxed feel, one that helps introduce people to challenging and unconventional music.
Our weekend continues on the next page.