Westword Music Showcase 2016 Served Up Denver's Best Of The Best

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Festival season is in full force, and this past weekend was one for the books for Denver music lovers. Last Saturday, the city was taken over by Coors Light South Platte Riverfest, Denver Taco Festival, and of course, the 22nd Annual Westword Music Showcase.

The crowd at Westword. Photo Credit:  Ashleigh

The crowd at Westword. Photo Credit: Ashleigh

The Westword Music Showcase offered the chance to frolic freely around Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, bouncing between the festival grounds and a number of bars in the area. This ten-hour-long jam-fest brought some big names to the table, but what was truly special about it was the opportunity to immerse oneself in over 100 local music acts that transcended a wide spectrum of genres.

888. Photo Credit:  Aimee Giese

888. Photo Credit: Aimee Giese

My day began at the Mike’s Hard Lemonade stage, which shared the space with the Coors Light stage. While there, I watched local alternative pop/rock band 888 deliver an electrifying performance. I then moved on to City Hall’s Cue Room, which was home to local musical collective and youth empowerment group YOR (Youth on Record) & The 10th Avenue Exchange. Their main room hosted the talented and unapologetically bizarre KITTY CRIMES.

Listen to our Westword Music Showcase 2016 playlist:

Stoney’s Bar catered to Porlolo and Eros and the Eschaton, both of which emanated the delicate power of what I like to think of as “dream rock.” Cosmic roots rock band Bison Bone took the stage afterward, and had the crowd jumping around and praising the afternoon light.

SPELLS. Photo Credit: Charlotte

SPELLS. Photo Credit: Charlotte

One of my favorite acts of the festival was DeCollage, who transformed the stage at Bar Standard into an underwater psych-tropolis. They reminded us that dancing clams, iridescent cellophane, and fog machines can make anyone’s day that much better. Their cosmic and disarranged pop style forced bodies to explore new movements and decipher hidden rhythms. They were followed by Brent Cowles, former member of You Me & Apollo, whose startlingly beautiful voice is only matched by his complex guitar work.

As the day crept on, the waning daylight was matched by continually amplified tunes, thanks to crazed punk garage band SPELLS, who damn near tore the roof off of The Church, and another personal favorite, Dirty Few. Both had the crowds moshing and sweating all over each other, and Dirty Few even enticed an attendee to jump off of Broadway's rooftop into the arms of the crowd. You can always count on Dirty Few to make your heart skip a few beats and deliver one hell of a good time.

Cold War Kids. Photo Credit: Katelyn

Cold War Kids. Photo Credit: Katelyn

The crowd pleasing Matt and Kim and Cold War Kids both had huge turnouts, and had the crowds singing their tunes. Finally, the festival’s headliner, EDM powerhouse Dillon Francis, gathered an entirely different crowd than the rest of the festival, and kicked it up a notch for anyone who may have mistakenly thought they were too tired to keep dancing.

Matt and Kim. Photo Credit:  Jillian Granger

Matt and Kim. Photo Credit: Jillian Granger

Westword Music Showcase left me drained, but totally fulfilled. It reminded me why I moved to this beautiful and eclectic city. If you didn’t have the chance to check out this festival, never fear! You’ll have another chance to get in on the Colorado festival action with Underground Music Showcase, which takes place on South Broadway Avenue from July 28-31. This festival showcases amazing local acts, alongside big-name headliners. So go grab those tickets now- you don’t want to miss out CO!


All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.