Looking for music in Metro Denver? We tell you where to go

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Looking for music in Metro Denver? We tell you where to go

The Gothic Theatre on Broadway in Englewood

The Gothic Theatre on Broadway in Englewood

Image via Bob Burdick

The Gothic Theatre on Broadway in Englewood

Image via Bob Burdick

Image via Bob Burdick

The Gothic Theatre on Broadway in Englewood

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The cold may be coming, but the music in Metro Denver still will be hot.

Thanks in part to a burgeoning music scene in Denver, musicians from here and afar have a playground at the ready to present their skills to the public.

Whether musicians are aiming to form a band with a solid regional following or are already touring in support of their latest record, Denver has something for them.

Thanks are in order for the wonderful venues available to showcase acts both national and local. You have so many choices, including a bunch of smaller places that offer lesser-known bands and performers places to perfect their work. You can find these all over the place, and you have a good chance of being very pleasantly surprised.

Meanwhile, here are my picks for the best (with links — just click on the blue venue names):

Pepsi Center – This sporting arena is mainly used for Denver Nuggets basketball and Colorado Avalanche hockey. But when the players are away, the arena doubles as a large, indoor concert venue hosting mainly national, well-known names. Pepsi Center, which can seat from 18,000 to 20,000 people, has hosted acts such as Celine Dion, Metallica, Motley Crue and most recently a two-night performance from mega pop star Taylor Swift. Look for other acts of this caliber to perform at the Pepsi Center.

1st Bank Center – This Broomfield location offers a good-sized indoor venue complete with bowl seating surrounding an open floor. Situated roughly 20 minutes northwest of downtown Denver, the 6,500-capacity venue provides a great view from any seated or standing position in the house. A general admission ticket will allow the viewer access to anywhere on the floor, be it in front center of the stage or resting comfortably back from the crowd on the sidelines. The venue has hosted many acts both national and smaller, as well as high-profile touring festivals.

The Ogden Theatre – For a more intimate concert setting, the Ogden Theatre, situated in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, is a small former movie theater turned concert venue. This historic venue is one of the best locations for all-age concerts in Denver. It features a general admission standing room as well as limited reserved seating, including a balcony that wraps around the interior. Whether you sit or stand, you won’t miss a second of the performance because spots are abundant. Holding approximately 1,500 people, the Ogden, as it is called, features an old-school appearance and decor. It has hosted numerous acts of many genres both local and national.

The Gothic Theatre – Situated in Englewood on historic South Broadway, the Gothic is another former movie theatre turned concert venue. This 1,000-person venue, which has hosted a wide variety of performances, is similar to the Ogden in that its appearance and interior display an old-school feel, as well as a balcony. A chandelier also rests just above the floor in front of the stage. A favorite of many Denver concert-goers, the Gothic boasts a superior sound setting – not too quiet, not too loud – as well as an exceptional view from any seat in the house. The Gothic has presented recognizable acts such as Lady Gaga, The Black Keys, The Cranberries, Rise Against, Blue Oyster Cult, Death Cab for Cutie, Prince and many more.

The Soiled Dove Underground – Situated in the Lowry Community in Denver, The Soiled Dove offers an intimate 21-and-above music hall. Three levels of cocktail tables form a semi-circle that faces the stage, allowing anybody in the house a great view of the performance at hand. The acts hosted here mainly include jazz and soft-rock performers, both local and national. The performances have garnered much attention as they regularly showcase the awe-inspiring talent of jazz artists. It is complete with a dance floor between the seats and the stage, and it offers appetizers, desserts and specialty drinks to enjoy during a performance. In case you’re in need of a space to book an event: The Dove hosts special events with banquet services as well.

The Grizzly Rose – The world-famous Grizzly Rose is a saloon and dance hall located off I-25 North in Denver. No doubt the area’s premiere spot for country music and line dancing, this dance club has been recognized by the Country Music Association as one of the best in the nation. It has hosted some of the best known country artists, including Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Waylon Jennings, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill and many more. The Rose includes a large hardwood dance floor, a general store, arcade room, pool room, a mechanical bull and its own grill. And, of course, a Western bar.

The Hi-Dive – This dive bar and concert venue – which also is world famous – is another spot on the historic South Broadway. Since its inception in 2003, the Hi-Dive has become a favorite dive bar in Denver, hosting national and local acts, as well as offering cheaper drinks. If you’re feeling hungry during a performance, you can eat at Sputnik, a full-service bar and restaurant sitting right next door to the Hi-Dive. The sound quality here is great and most of the shows hosted are for all ages.

The Marquis Theatre – The Marquis Theatre is an intimate venue in LoDo just two blocks from Coors Field. The Marquis, which opened in 2006, is an excellent small, standing-room place equipped with a wonderful sound system. Its stage has been shared by many local and national acts of varied genres, including Wiz Khalifa, GBH, The Jonas Brothers, The Bouncing Souls, 3OH!3, Gym Class Heroes and many more. If you brought an appetite with you, you’re in luck. The Marquis features its very own pizza service, simply called Marquis Pizza. The kitchen is open late for a convenient, exceptional food experience.

Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre – This outdoor venue is one of the largest in Metro Denver. Situated in Greenwood Village, Fiddler’s has more than 7,000 seats, as well general admission lawn seating. The venue books many established national acts such as The Offspring, Incubus, Iron Maiden, Maroon 5, John Mayer, Linkin Park, Lil Wayne, Disturbed, The Dave Matthews Band, Zac Brown Band and many more. The best spots are in the first few seated levels in front of the stage, but large screens on either side of the stage provide close-ups of onstage action.

The Summit Music Hall – A newer, lesser-known small venue in LoDo near Denver Skate Park, the Summit is one of the absolute finest venues Denver has to offer. With a capacity of more than 900, it features an open floor with a balcony wrapping around the interior. Featuring a dominantly punk/hard rock/metal scene, this venue is ideal for high energy, intimate rock shows. If you enjoy being able to move freely about a venue, the Summit should accommodate you very well. If you want to grab a quick bite to eat, the Summit features a fully functioning kitchen that also serves Marquis Pizza. Numerous diverse national performers have shared the stage, including Papa Roach, Yellowcard, Yngwie Malmsteen, The Misfits, Awolnation, Puddle of Mudd, Anthrax, Tech N9ne, Ghostface Killah, Blue October, Thrice, Fuel, Trapt, Filter, Cannibal Corpse, Testament, Big Sean and countless others.

The Fillmore Auditorium – We head back to the Capitol Hill neighborhood for one of the best-known, historical venues in Colorado. The Fillmore, a general admission venue with a capacity of about 3,700, has hosted numerous live events. Known as the Mammoth Events Center from 1986 to 1998, it hosted concerts for Blink-182, Green Day, Sublime, Cypress Hill and Dream Theater and more. The venue has undergone many renovations and has been renamed a number of times, but it has remained a prominent music spot for Denver. Since its reopening in 1999, the venue has hosted countless national acts such as Bad Religion, Rise Against, 30 Seconds to Mars, Widespread Panic, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, The Smash Pumpkins, James Blunt, Owl City, Paramore and others. This probably is the best indoor standing room venue in Denver.

And then, of course, comes the most famous:

Red Rocks Amphitheatre – The obvious choice for a venue to keep an eye on in Colorado, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is the best known venue in Colorado, attracting many visitors and bands from across the country. It has been cited by many performers as one the greatest locations to perform in the nation. The sound quality is excellent. The stage is surrounded by various beautiful rock formations. The immensely popular amphitheater holds 9,450 persons with general admission and reserved seating. Popular acts from the Beatles – yes, the real Beatles – to Rush to U2 to 311 to Santana to Emmylou Harris to Steve Martin to Arlo Guthrie – have played the stage at the iconic venue. Many have filmed their full concert videos there. Sure, traffic is a hassle. Sure, parking is a hassle. Sure, the steps are a hassle. But the quality of the musicians, the sound, the outdoors and downtown Denver in the distant background make this one of those must-go places.

If you make it to all of these, you’ll be treated to an incredible variety of music. You also will be lighter in the wallet or purse. But it most likely will have been worth it.

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