Follow the Music: Check Out Denver’s Music Scene

Government Mule Fillmore

Ludwig van Beethoven once said that “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.  Music is the electrical soil in which the soul lives, thinks, and invents.”  If we take Beethoven’s words to be true, then one could say there is plenty of soil for fans of music to plant their roots in while on their Colorado vacation in Denver.

Fans of every genre will find something that will whet their appetite for creativity and self expression.  While in the city, there are a few must-visit larger venues, as well as smaller, more intimate stages.

Cervantes Masterpiece
You might be able to catch two shows if you head to Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom and the Other Side for a concert.

Not-to-Miss Venues, Large and Small

There is a certain feeling that you experience while listening to one of your favorite bands or artists while awash in a sea of people who share your love for the music.  It is in these large collective states that music allows for those accepting it to experience a state of pure anoesis.  For those looking for this kind of experience, there are several venues in the Denver area that are large enough to accommodate this sort of event and are not to be missed during your Colorado vacation.

To begin with there is the Fillmore Auditorium, also known as Fillmore Denver (pictured above).  Built in 1907, this venue has undergone three renovations over the years and has a capacity of 3,700.  In the past, the Fillmore has hosted such bands as Sound Tribe Sector 9, Umphrey’s McGee, James Blunt, Erykah Badu, and Joss Stone.

If you’re looking to keep the music going, there is the Ogden Theater just a short walk down the street from the Fillmore.  This is a smaller venue in comparison to the Fillmore and only has a capacity of about 750 people, offering a more intimate experience.

Ogden Theatre
Keep the music going at the Ogden, just a short walk from the Fillmore.

For those looking for a more interesting venue setup, there is the Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom and Cervantes’ Other Side.  What makes these two sister stages so alluring is that they are often used at the same time and concert goers can freely travel between them (some performances excluded).

If you’re looking to check out a show that has some bigger lineups, such as those in the vein of Dave Matthews Band, Roger Waters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the like, there is the Pepsi Center.  This has a grand capacity of around 19,000 people.

Smaller Venues & Bars

The music scene in Denver is not tied down to large music venues, such as the Pepsi Center or Fillmore, but extends to the many local bars that house live music and smaller stages in the area.  For those looking to get a real taste of the Denver music scene on their Colorado vacation, make sure to stop by some of these smaller venues.  These include Herman’s Hideaway, Soiled Dove Underground, and the Grizzly Rose.

Soiled Dove Underground
Named 2011 Best Live Music by 5280, you can be sure to enjoy a great show at the Soiled Dove Underground.

If you’re looking to explore the roots of bands such as Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Opie Gone Bad or just want to see the stage where they got started, this is the place to go.  This stage has also provided for such talents as 311 and Widespread Panic.  This is also the perfect place to see, and hear, some rising stars from the Denver area.  Herman’s Hideaway is the perfect bar/live music combination out there.

Another venue to check out if you’re looking to taste the local talent is the Soiled Dove Underground.  With numerous accolades such as “2011 Best Live Music” by 5280, “Best Live Music” by 7 News A-List and AOL City Guide, and “Best Small Venue” by Westword, the Soiled Dove Underground is not to be missed.

For those who like Country Western music (just to round things out for everybody), there is the Grizzly Rose.  Winning the Country Music Association’s “Best Country Music Club”, the Rose has hosted performers such as Willie Nelson and LeAnn Rimes.

Not only does it provide music, but also other entertainment with its video game room, mechanical bull, pool tables and more.  For those visiting Denver on their Colorado vacation these venues are a must.

If You Go

For more information or a performance lineup at the Fillmore Auditorium, visit their site:  The Fillmore Auditorium is located at 1510 Clarkson Street, Denver, Colorado.

The Other Side Cervantes
Travel from the Other Side to the Ballroom at Cervantes for two shows.

For event lineups and information on the Ogden Theater, visit their site:  The Ogden is located at 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, Colorado.

For more information about the Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom and Other Side or for an event listing, visit:  Located at 2637 Welton Street, Denver, Colorado.

For event and performance listings at the Pepsi Center, visit:  Located at 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, Colorado.

For event lineups and performances at Herman’s Hideaway, visit:  Located at 1578 South Broadway, Denver, Colorado.

For more information on the Soiled Dove, visit: The Soiled Dove is located at 7401 E. 1st Ave, Denver, Colorado.

Evan Witt is an Illinois native with a degree in English Literature from Lake Forest College, and as a frequent visitor to Colorado, he enjoys fishing, camping, hiking, and photography.

Special thanks to Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom for providing photos to be featured in this article!
Header photo of Government Mule at the Fillmore by Flickr user emerson12.
Ogden photo by Jeffrey Beall.
Photo of the Soiled Dove Underground by Joseph Echeverria.