Six and a half things we took away from the Underground Music Showcase

Six and a half things we took away from the Underground Music Showcase

MusicJuly 28, 2015 By Brian Frederick

Many around the world know Austin, TX as one of the music capitals of the world. It’s a fair assessment; given the fact its home to some of the biggest and most pronounced festivals on earth and has a bustling scene responsible for some of the largest names in anything. What some may not know, however, is that Denver is right up next to Austin in terms of scene-size — and even has more music venues than they do. We’re a musical-Mecca — it’s true.

To highlight this, we’re also home to some of the more popular music festivals in the region. Though no fests of ours would ever boast a projected 2 million touristy revelers (like that of SXSW), but we do hold our own with things like the Underground Music Showcase. Fingered-full with more than 400 performances at 20+ venues across a 4-day weekend, the indie-underground festival is one to never miss come late July.

Miss it this year, we would never — and didn’t! Here’s a few things we took note of over the long weekend debauchery:

You’re going to survive …

All of the quippy one-off posts online up to and on the day of about, “Not being able to survive #UMS2015” are cute and all, but … did anyone die? No, every single ticket holder (and those who jumped fences and ran through back doors) were able to walk away from the festival with nary a scratch on them. It’s rough — given you’re the type of person who enjoys excess and pushing liver aerobics to the limits — but everyone makes it. They always do.

Alternative transportation is the only way ...

Parking is an absolute cluster-fuck in and around the Baker neighborhood now — and per expert numbers — that isn’t going to change any time soon. In fact, it will likely get worse in the coming years. Sure, there’s an opportunity to park in the Albertson’s parking lot and cross a few fingers hoping it won’t get hauled off, but if there’s an option for a cab or light-rail (it’s close!) use that. Enjoyment is ten-fold when there isn’t that pesky driving under the influence thing hanging over anyone’s head, either. Win/win.

The value per entertainment ratio is unmatched ...

Going out anywhere in this city is a small fortune — especially if the plan is heading up to something like Red Rocks or a Broncos game. Nights can easily become a rent-floaters nightmare — which is why a $75 ticket (way cheaper than that catching it on “early bird” specials, too) for a full weekend packed with hundreds of bands is ideal.

3 Kings Tavern could do with a small comfort investment

We uncharacteristically kept our pessimism to a minimum, but there were also no less than 15 people within ear-shot at 3 Kings on Friday night (and some of Saturday) complaining about the onset of nausea from the radiating heat billowing around the oft-punk venue. Getting sweaty and being uncomfortable may be a sub-cultural thing for the dive, but it wouldn’t kill the bottom line to bungee cord a few store bought fans above the crowd to get the air moving around a little. Damn the man, fuck the consumer, apparently …

Avoid the people trying to steal signatures ...

Right now the city of Denver is studying foot traffic on the 16th Street Mall, trying to figure out why such a once vibrant destination point is dead to the average shopper. That’s a lot of tax money being wasted on what’s obvious to anyone who’s been to the mall in the past 8 years — everyone there is a fucking prick. End sociological study. It's “gimme your signature” here and “lemme your money” there — or what's also known as a complete disaster. Likewise at the UMS, where there were a few booths set up to sign petitions and register to vote, which is all well and good to a point — but not during someone’s weekend/days off entertainment. Go bug Cherry Creek Mall walkers with that mess.

Expansion, where does it go from here?

Denver, Denver, Denver … you’re growing into an unrecognizable monstrosity. What do we do? The UMS crew is having similar anxieties about it too, because the annual festival is becoming a go-to for the fan and a must-see for those in the know — making it trendy and growing at a rapid rate. The city of Denver would likely never close off Broadway to accommodate music fans, and moving the festival entirely would kill its hip-vibe. So, while there’s no interest yet in changing what goers have come to love, the future is always close, and we’ll see if the UMS ever has to deal with the changing surroundings.

Up next? See you at the Block Party!

It’s no UMS, but we’ve got a Block Party in store on The Hill in Boulder for a raging back-to-school getaway. August 28 — be there …