It was just over two years ago that I first heard Soda Jerk Presents, which had been successfully promoting shows at 32 Bleu and Navajo Hogan, would be moving its shows to a dank, dark, cinderblock crap-hole on East Platte Avenue known as The Darkside.
Many of us "silverbacks" remember the same swampy chamber as Sin City, The Velvet Underground or its original incarnation, The Pure Energy Night Club. Although certainly well-intentioned, none of them lived up to their respective monikers.
Knowing the history, and the neighborhood, my expectations were so low that no limbo champion, living or dead, could shimmy under that bar. Collectively, the scene rolled its eyes, held its nose and, like an obstinate youth getting an undeserved spanking, stepped up and asked, "Please, sir, may we have another?"
Things got off to a rough start. Shaky bar management held back any progress that was made in booking first-rate national headliners. Then, just weeks after seizing full control of the building and opening its doors as "The Black Sheep" came the highly publicized "steal-steal, sniff-sniff, hide-hide" issues of the Sheep's main promoter.
Outlook bleak, the head Soda Jerk brass appointed Geoff Brent, a committed scene-builder and the venue's second-in-command, to replace the disgraced former leader. And, despite being low in morale and low on funds, he gradually began turning things around. Making good on promises of pinball machines, new dcor, tables with seats and soundmen that don't wear hearing aids, The Black Sheep jumped storybooks, and was now the "little engine that could."
Two years later, it's still a little dark, a little dank and a little bit of a craphole. But it's our dark, dank, little craphole, and the shows are amazing. Thanks to a fiercely dedicated and hardworking staff, it has repeatedly blown away our wildest expectations, and even with a relentless stream of both underground legends and future celebrities, they still show nothing but love for local bands.
And it's a "locals only" love-in this Saturday, Oct. 13, for The Black Sheep's two-year anniversary with such giants as The Murder Formula, The Nicotine Fits, Leer43, Eyes Caught Fire and the "I'll believe it when I see it" return of the only band in the universe that simultaneously simulates (and instigates) both epilepsy and orgasm, The Great Redneck Hope.
Notably missing is Brent's own band, Abracastabya, currently recording with Bill Douglass (who has worked with such nobodies as Trent Reznor, The Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bauhaus and Elvis' daughter).
Also missing is the hardest-working man in Colorado hip-hop, the Black Mexican himself, Black Pegasus, who is gearing up for tours with cult sensation Pharoahe Monch later this month, and The Ying Yang Twins in January. Hell yeah, BP, show 'em how we do it in the CO!
And not to detract from the radness of The Black Sheep party, but I just found out something else pretty rad. Eighties skate punk gods McRad (fronted by Chuck Treece, professional skateboarder '82-'90!) will be playing at the Rocket Room the same evening. Sure, it sucks that they are on the same night, but don't let them existential blues get you down. The Black Sheep show is all ages and starts at 7:30 p.m., and the Rocket Room one is an "adults-only" late-night affair. See, plenty of fun for everyone!
That's all kids, smell you later!
Don't let Adam get all wrapped up in nostalgia. Keep him hip to what's happening today by sending band photos, demos, show info and rumors to firstname.lastname@example.org.