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Pure Energy, Industrial Nation, The Darkside — those are all venues that have once occupied the building that is 2106 E. Platte Ave., now known as The Black Sheep. Loud music has been gracing/disgracing that building for almost three decades. The Black Sheep will be celebrating its 16th year in business on Friday, Oct. 15, with a FREE show featuring fem punk group Cheap Perfume, sludge masters Worry, and the looping lunacy of Saustro and the fruity loops!

The Black Sheep has made many changes over it’s 16 years — it welcomed new management and new ownership in 2019 when former Black Sheep General Manager Geoff Brendt took over. Kevin Zirfas has also been a part of these changes. He started as security and has worked his way up over the years to general manager. 

“I started at the Sheep in 2007, as security, but I’ve done almost every possible job in the venue,” says Zirfas. “It’s been a journey to say the least. Almost half my life has been spent in that building, and I’ve made some of the best friends ever through this job. The Sheep is literally like a second home to me. It’s been a wild ride.... The biggest change is getting new ownership in 2019. It’s opened up a ton of new doors for us, and let the Sheep get the much-needed improvements!”

After 19 months of being slammed by COVID, the live music industry is just now starting to get back into the swing of things, but it’s taught many of us some lessons about what’s important. “I’ve definitely learned to not take live music for granted,” says Zirfas. “Some days you go into work like, ‘Damn another show,’ but when you don’t have that for over a year, every show is rad. It boils down to how much live music is super important for everyone. Staff, bands and fans were all in the same boat of missing out on something we didn’t think we’d just lose in the blink of an eye.”

Zirfas says, “It’s unfortunate that COVID isn’t just going to disappear and everything will be normal. But we have to work with what we’ve got and if that’s navigating around a bunch of rules and small things to make the show go on, we will be doing all of it. The Sheep has always been about this small club doing things that seem impossible, and we’ve never let that slow us down, and we don’t plan on it ever stopping us.”

Last year, The Black Sheep had a very understated anniversary party, so join them Friday for a re-do — a celebration that’s allowed to include many more people. And there’s still a full weekend of great shows, with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus performing Thursday, Oct. 14, Psycho Blood Drive on Saturday, Oct. 16, and Otep closing out the weekend madness on Sunday, Oct. 17.

And check out these  shows at other venues around town: The ambient blackened metal of Velnias, with Extinction, Tovenaar, and Ob Nixilis will take the stage Friday, Oct. 15, at Fritzy’s. Fritzy’s will also be hosting Colorado death rock group Married a Dead Man with Circumversor and Signs of Tranquility. Head up the Fritzy’s stairs to The Triple Nickel on Tuesday, Oct. 19, for a death metal show that will be sure to crush your skull (if you’re into that kind of thing) with Ohio’s 200 Stab Wounds, Wisconsin’s Rig Time, and Pueblo death thrashers Voltaic