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Where have all the rock bands gone?

Posted By: David Accomazzo

It's a simple question: When did Boulder become a town of inoffensive folkies, directionless jam bands and generic dubstep? Go around town any night of the week, and you're likely to hear an acoustic guitar-wielding singer-songwriter or two or an eight-minute guitar-sitar-banjo jam, but you're not likely to hear any rock ’n’ roll. What gives?

Writer Dale Bridges gave the following explanation in this week's cover story about Boulder country-rock outfit The Yawpers:

Here is my theory: Boulder, you’ve gone soft.

There was a time when this town was a lightning rod for artistic innovators and social rebels. People came here from all over the country to shake things up. Talk to any Baby Boomer who was living in the People’s Republic during the hallowed 1960s, and they will tell stories of war protesters blocking major highways with flaming tires and psychedelic poets who consistently raged against the dying of the light. Boulder was plugged into the national consciousness. It was relevant.

But, alas, that Boulder is no more. Somewhere along the way the culture began to curl in on itself like a set of crusty, yellow toenails that had gone unclipped for far too long. The long hair and tie-dyed clothing of yesteryear eventually became costume pieces that local teenagers wore as part of a nostalgic Passion play designed to remind everyone of the good ol’ days. Open mic poetry nights filled up with Ginsberg wannabes and Kerouac ripoffs. The true social malcontents who wanted to change the world were driven out and replaced with affluent nirvana seekers who wanted to change their gluten intake.

And in all that time, the soundtrack never altered.

Today, someone dropped off Boulder group Veronica's album Emerging From Troubled Days, with a note saying, "Just so you know — this band is from Boulder. I am fairly sure they are far from 'soft,' as you say. They may not be a staple at the Fox, but they do play out — In Boulder."

It goes to show that there are rockers in Boulder trying to keep alive a genre that has seen better days. Whether the community will sustain it, who knows.

Prove us wrong, Boulder. If you're in a rock group in Boulder and you've been frustrated by the lack of a scene, then send a note to buzz at Send us your music. In the next few weeks, we'll be posting tracks from Boulder rock bands (and any other disaffected musicians) to prove that this town still has an edge. If you want to be a part of it, let us know. If you're not a musician but love music, then give the most valuable gift you can this holiday season: your time. Occupy a venue. Get out there and support your local musicians.

Check back every week for new songs from your favorite local artists.

Update: Part one: Black Sleep of Kali

Part two: West Water Outlaws

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I can't wait to check out some music submissions. It's time for a Rock revival! p.s. Well spoken sir, I do declare. :-{D





Although using ableton is great and creative - it is not a band dynamic. Nor is it organic, in the free trade sense.



*COUGH* black acid devil *COUGH*



Black Acid Devil


Monocle Stache



Well, most of Boulder's musicians have been forced out by the cost of living in town, and they now live in Denver, Nederland, etc.  

Part of the problem is also that there are so few small music venues in town.  You've got the Boulder Theater and the Fox, both of which are too big for most local acts, and then a bunch of menu venues with no stage, no sound system, etc. I hope Shugs (used to be B-Side, used to be Trilogy) makes it because it's a great music room.  

Lastly, the music audience in Boulder is "too cool for school" and is not particularly supportive of local acts. It is admittedly difficult to find the time and energy to go to local shows when you have such high-caliber national acts in town all the time.  


Good points, Paul, especially about the lack of venues. This is why the loss of Astroland really hurt the arts scene — younger bands finally had a place where they could play and try to establish a fan base. With Club 156 being consistently under-booked, there's not many other places young bands can do that. (Brick House, maybe?) Thanks for your input.


I guess it is the lack of venue and promoter combined. All the heavy bands only find work in Denver. I had a punk band for 2 years and it was either house show in boulder or a venue in denver. Can someone please start a shitty bar in boulder that has good touring bands?


And I predict Shug's to be gone in a year. Something is not right there. I have seen some great shows in that room, but something is just not right.