You would think that because my name starts with an MC, that I was born to MC an event like the Westword Music Showcase. But you'd be wrong. Sure, I can stand up and introduce various acts and thank the sponsors, but there in lies the extent of my abilities. For the full 2 minutes I spoke in between acts, I was able to relive the moment my teacher made me recite the love note I wrote to Bobby Frutchey in the 3rd grade. Public speaking has never been the same. After I was able to move past the fear of unrequited rejection, I was able to bask in the event that was, The Westword Music Showcase, or known socially as #westwordshow. The beauty of this event is the diversity and breadth of acts that were there to perform. If you like listening to bass that makes your entire body vibrate and your ears ring for 48 hours after, then there was a stage for you. If you preferred local indie acts or psychedelic songs about opium poppies, then there was a stage for you. Hell, even if you just liked sitting in the grass to enjoy the naked girls in body paint, then there was a stage for you (it would be creepy, but it was definitely an option). Personally, my favorite part was just wandering around in the heart of downtown Denver and stumbling into a random venue, only to discover an amazing new local act. Which is what makes the Westword Music Showcase so unique, a festival with over 150 artists, located smack dab in the heart of downtown Denver. We don't need a large, grassy farmland in Indio, CA to put on a great festival, all Denver needs to succeed is: some local venues, local bands, and of course Diplo.
To my fellow Denverites who missed the show, either due to: lack of funds to buy a ticket, conflicting schedules, or maybe you did buy a ticket but just pregamed a little too hard in the Arby's across the street to make it in. (I know that last one sounds really specific, but it is 100% hypothetical). I have some tips for you on how to conquer the Westword Music Showcase next year.
1. Get there early. Showing up at 5pm to see the headliners is a rookie mistake. First of all you miss some of the best local acts. Also there is no hanging out on rooftops dancing to remixes of Ja Rule and Ashanti or whomp parties at 1pm when you're laying on your couch binge watching Orange is the New Black.
2. Don't have a plan. If you're slightly type A, like myself, this can be a frightening concept to grasp. But if you have a plan and you get slightly off track, you'll end up running around Denver and catching the tail end of acts you really wanted to see. It is better to pick 4-5 must see acts and then check out places along the way.
3. Go as a VIP. Do I need to say more? Sure, it's a little stuck up of me to say this. But I was so close to 2 Chainz that he locked eyes with me and giggled. Also, there is a bar, bathrooms, lounge tables, and 2 free drinks.
Must See Acts:
Ivory Circle: this was the first band that I reviewed coming onto Ultra5280, so they hold a special place in my heart.
Glowing House: a young married couple who sings and plays instruments together. Need I say more? Congrats on Big Gig BTW.
Crl Crll: always a favorite of Ultra5280, he never disappoints and is always on par with engaging the audience.
Turner Jackson: he makes the list because he is an amazing musician, but mostly because he has an amazing sock collection.
Man Mantis: Josh is a wizard of all things instrumental. I think I saw him perform at least 5 different times during the Showcase. Man Mantis incorporates a violin with dub, which at first can seem like an interesting combination, but you’ll soon realize that they go together as seamlessly as peanut butter and Oreo cookies.
Cherub: a Colorado favorite and personal favorite of mine. Their sassy lyrics coupled with provocative dance thrusts make my heart melt every time.
2 Chainz: I can’t exactly pin point what it is, but 2 Chainz has this aura about him that makes me just want to be close to him. It could be the bands of money that make me want to dance…but I’m not sure.
Diplo: I haven’t gotten down like that since I got kicked out of my junior year formal for dancing too risqué to Get Low. Diplo has a special way of getting girls to twerk on stage and making it socially acceptable. Hell, I was one shot away from getting up there myself and twerking directly on him, feet on the shoulders and all.
Westword Magazine has been a staple of Denver culture for decades and the Showcase that they put on each year is just another reason why we love them. As a pioneer in so many fields, Westword continues to help blaze the path for local businesses and artists. While the Showcase is just one event that helps get local artists names out there, Westword continues to help highlight hidden talent located in the folds and cracks of Denver all year long. Definitely an event not to miss in the future and I really urge (force) you to look into the bands that played this year and then check them out at events like UMS or at random venues coming up this Summer. Once again, thank you Westword for the amazing experience and I will practice my MC jokes for next year, I promise. Check out more photos here.