Why the hi-dive, Marquis and Seventh Circle are among Denver musicians' favorite venues
One of the reasons Denver is such a unique place for music is the number (and quality) of live music venues here. In light of the Westword Music Showcase taking place this Saturday, June 21, we asked a number of local artists what their favorite venues are and tracked down some reasons why.
The hi-dive was a common favorite among Denver musicians. Founded in 2003 by Matt LaBarge and Allison Housley, the bar immediately became a happening place, partly because of its location at 7 South Broadway.
"Luckily, it opened right when the Denver music scene really started to explode," says hi-dive bartender-turned-owner, Matty Clark. "Baker, at the time at least, was a cheap, bohemian place to live, so there were a lot of creative types in the area that made the hi-dive their home. It was easy to get people to play there because it also was the bar they hung out at."
In Oct. 2012, when LaBarge and Housley decided to sell the hi-dive to Clark, along with his business partner, Josh Terry, they had a little help from a number of investors, including the bar's hard-working talent buyer, Ben Desoto. Together, the three associates are continuing the hi-dive's original, artist-centric mentality.
From the sound system to the person serving the drinks, "we want to be as comfortable and accommodating as possible," Clark says. And the venue is a proponent of giving new, local acts a stage to play on.
"I remember being in my first bands and trying to get noticed," Clark says. "It's exciting to watch bands go from opening shows to headlining and selling the place out -- we want to be a place to help nurture that in young bands."
The talent buyer for the Marquis Theater, Jason Chavez, agrees with Clark's sentiment.
"Everyone deserves a chance," Chavez says. "As cliche as it is, it's true that you never really know what the future holds for any of these bands, so to be a part of the process from the ground up of a band's career is a pretty incredible thing."
More information on the Marquis and Seventh Circle Music Collective is on the next page.