I spent my Saturday night in a storage unit with Boulder band Bareface and it was awesome.
Driving up, the venue appears to be part warehouse, part storage unit. It’s got a garage, it’s got a front door, and everything else around the unit it is dark and quiet. The location is secret, the vibe is relaxed, and I’m told that the music at this spot is always choice. Where am I? Paradime.
Paradime is a local DIY venue that, according to one regular, hosts “primarily punk folk bands and solo artists.” When you enter, there’s an old wooden piano to your left and beyond that, a stage. There’s room for dancing and there’s a small kitchen that’s been crafted from scratch: a counter with bar stool seating, a refrigerator, and a back room with more seating and a cut-out window for show-viewing. On the far wall opposite the door, there are steps that take you to a lofted area, and beneath them is a little hallway with a library and a vinyl collection for anyone to peruse and use. The whole place is also dripping with art: canvases, drawings, scribbles. Paradime is wildly independent and beautiful, a true testament to the DIY community’s talent and passion for this space. But sadly, due to lease issues, Paradime is closing its doors soon.
Enter Bareface, who played the final Paradime gig last Saturday. Bareface is a Boulder band composed of Will Parkhill (vocals, guitar, and bass), Robert Collins (also vocals, guitar, bass), Rebecca Oliver (vocals, kazoo), Jean du la Monde (vocals, drums), Lee Garrett (banjo, guitar, lap steel), and Emma Mulholland (violin). Parkhill and Collins met in an alchemy class a couple of years ago, started playing music together, and slowly collected members for what is now the current Bareface lineup.
Before the five piece started their set Saturday, a couple of solo performers had played the Paradime stage. Neither were exactly dance-worthy and they had driven a good part of the crowd outside. But the minute Bareface opened their set with a couple of jazzy numbers, everyone wandered inside. And by the time they started into their cool rendition of Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Bluebird,” everyone was dancing and laughing. A girl with blue hair grabbed anyone who wasn’t moving and pulled them onto the floor to groove with her. Soon, the whole place was twirling along to Bareface. It was radical.
After watching Bareface electrify Paradime with their positive, groovy energy, I wanted to know what this doo-wop lounge-group was up to besides playing amazing DIY spots. Parkhill smiled, “Well, to keep on the DIY theme, we’re actually doing a lot of DIY recording- we’re working in the bedrooms and garages of good friends.” And their plans for release? “Sometime this fall!” shouted Jean du le Monde. Bareface also has an upcoming gig that they’re pretty excited about. “We’re playing the Boulder Outdoor Cinema on August 22nd,” Mullholland laughed, "and it’s for The Princess Bride so we’re dressing up!” Sweet.
So Boulder, although you might not have the chance anymore to peep a Paradime show, you should definitely check out Bareface. Listen to them here. And keep up with their upcoming events, including this weekend’s show, here.
All photos and polaroids per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.