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As of this week, the venue at 2106 E. Platte Ave., most recently known as Darkside, has been renamed Black Sheep. This marks the official change of guard for the venue, currently the only one in town that regularly (i.e., weekly) books national music acts. Hopes are high that Black Sheep, under the management of Marc Peralta, will be a reliable, stable enclave for indie music lovers. Peralta, a longtime music promoter, successfully has been booking shows in the Springs under the banner of Soda Jerk Presents. SJP is well known along the Front Range for promoting up-and-coming indie artists from across the country in small reputable venues, such as the Starlight in Fort Collins and Rock Island in Denver. (For more on how Darkside went down, read "After the Darkside..." from the Sept. 22 edition at csindy.com.)

God bless local hip-hopster Distrakt for a fantastic idea: a coloring contest. Yes, in Crayola-land, everyone is equal (except for those damn metallic crayons, which smear). Go to distrakt.com/ goodies.html to download one of two coloring pages, each featuring Distrakt looking kind of like a Voltron hobo. Mail the sucker in before Oct. 21 to Yard Rock Records LLC, Attn. Contest Dept., PO Box 5095, Colorado Springs, CO 80911. The winner will receive an autographed Distrakt enhanced CD EP and a T-shirt.

Local hip hop is, indeed, alive -- it's just that without consistent open mics or local showcases, it can be hard to tell. Against the Grain Network and Blast Decibel have stepped up to fill the void with Sound Check, a Wednesday night local showcase, complete with drink specials. This week's show (Oct. 12, doors at 8 p.m., music at 10 p.m.) features Infinite and Dirty Jew. The showcase is at Union Station (2419 N. Union Blvd.) and is hosted by scene veterans DJ Skip Ripkin and DJ Prominent. Cover normally is $5 for 21 and up and $7 for 18-21, but you'll get a discount with the show's flyer.

Around town: Mango fan Django, Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St.), Oct. 6; Marc Peralta's Birthday Party, featuring Matson Jones, Black Sheep, Oct. 8; Malakai, The Underground (110 N. Nevada Ave.), Oct. 8.

Go north: United States of Electronica, Hi-Dive, Denver, Oct. 19; John Cale, Bluebird Theater, Denver, Oct. 30; Rob Thomas, Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Nov. 1; Nikka Costa, Bluebird Theater, Nov. 1; Tech N9ne, Ogden Theatre, Denver, Nov. 3; Soulfly, Ogden Theatre, Nov. 9; Matisyahu, Gothic Theatre, Englewood, Nov. 10.

Send tips to reverb@csindy.com.

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