Denver is growing fast. Though a rising population has its downfalls, let’s not forget the good things. The Mile High had always had an incredible music scene, but now we get to sit back and watch it flourish as our local bands get larger audiences, our selection of local music grows and venues profit more. Denver music is in the spotlight. Let’s take a look back on the progress that has been made in our very own music scene, as well as some of the great shows that have come through Denver this year. And who better to ask than our local music industry themselves? Check out what these Colorado promoters, artists, bloggers and more all have to say as we all reflect on 2016.

Photo by Lindsey Bartlett

Photo by Lindsey Bartlett

 Zoe Lanterman – Marketing Director of Soda Jerk Presents

303: Who’s your favorite Denver artist that made it big and why?

ZL: Favorite Denver artist that made it big is Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats because it took so much perseverance and dedication to music on Nathaniel’s part to be able to change and evolve as an artist to become the sound that is sweeping the nation today.  

303: What was the best show you saw in Denver in 2016 and why?

ZL: Best show I saw in Denver was LCD Soundsystem at Red Rocks because it was one of those shows where you see all the fans so excited about the music it reignites the passion of working in the music industry.

303: What’s your favorite thing about Denver’s music scene?

ZL: We have such a network of support for the music scene here in Denver, be it radio support from CPR and KTCL, support on the promoters side put local bands on big stages so they can grow, and rabid music fans that love local. Our city has such a dynamic scene that is growing and prospering. Looking forward to seeing more amazing musicians come out of Denver.

Aimee Giese – Blogger at Greeblehaus.com

303: Who’s your favorite Denver artist that has made it big and why?

AG: While they are not a household name yet, In The Whale has been touring with huge names like Jane’s Addiction and The Toadies. That’s making it big in my book! It’s just two guys in the band, but they are so skilled, loud and raucous live – it’s easy to see why they have been touring all over the world this past year. Their new EP, Quicksand, is pretty damn good too.

303: What Denver artist(s) do you want to see make it big in 2017 and why?

AG: AMZY. I love how they started from basically ground zero in 2014 and have built a strong following through hard work. They immediately won KTCL Channel 93.3’s Hometown For The Holidays contest and parleyed that into so many gigs, and then used those concerts to show how fun and talented they are. Their song “Words” is continually on the radio here in Denver and I hope it goes national soon.

303: What was the best show you saw in Denver in 2016 and why?

AG: I’ve tallied it up, and I attended 97 concerts this year… so it’s hard to pick! A few highlights for me: Neil Finn for two nights in Boulder (my favorite musician of all time), Westword Music Showcase because it’s a great mix of locals and bands like Matt + Kim and New Politics, and lastly, Rob Zombie & Korn because they surprised me how much I liked them (and they were a blast to photograph).

303: What’s your favorite thing about Denver’s music scene?

AG: The camaraderie. You go to one band’s show and there will be three other local bands there – often times not even the same style of music. Whenever possible, they book concerts together. But I’d have to say the best example of this is when DJ Alf puts on “Frankenband” shows – he creates new bands from existing musicians and they play a set together live. Some have even recorded songs together!

Chris Zacher – CEO / Executive Director of Levitt Pavilion Denver

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303: Who’s your favorite Denver artist that made it big and why?

CZ: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Nathaniel’s accession has helped to bring credibility to Denver’s music scene at the right time, but it’s his perseverance as an artist that is most admirable. Watching one of the good guys in this music community make it big puts a smile on your face and brings hope to artists still looking for their big break.

303: What Denver artist(s) do you want to see make it big in 2017 and why?

CZ: I want to see them all make it. The more artists that make is big from our music community the more credibility the industry receives which in-turn attracts more artists to live here and the domino effect from that adds up to a long-term sustainable music ecosystem.

303: What was the best show you saw in Denver in 2016 and why?

CZ: This is hard question to answer because of the sheer number of shows I saw this year. I recently saw Paper Bird at The Bluebird and I’m not certain that there is a band in town who harmonizes and plays as tight as a group that they do.

303: What’s your favorite thing about Denver’s music scene?

CZ: We have one of the most collaborative music communities in the country. We have a city and a state that support the arts in amazing ways. What’s not to love.

Povi (Povi Mariya Chidester) – Singer

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303: Who’s your favorite Denver artist that made it big and why?

Povi: India Arie is my favorite artist from Denver, she is just an incredible singer and has a beautiful presence.

303: What was the best show you saw in Denver in 2016 and why? 

Povi: Probably the Mick Jenkins show. It brought me back to when I first fell in love with word play and hiphop. I used to be obsessed with the underground hiphop scene. It was a wonderful show. 

303: What’s your favorite thing about Denver’s music scene? 

Povi: People are supportive and excited to be apart of each others process.

Stephanie Kroll – Marketing Director for SoCo Nightlife District

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303: Who’s your favorite Denver artist that made it big and why?

SK: Illenium (Nick). He has an incredible back story that most people don’t know about. I have mad respect for where he has come from – he worked his way up from the bottom and now has sold out all the shows on his tour. He continues to bring people together in Denver consistently and reps our state well. He has an incredible team behind him, and I just personally love his music.

303: What Denver artist(s) do you want to see make it big in 2017 and why?

SK: I’m truthfully biased on this one but I would probably say my friend James Egbert. He recently rebranded as SVYR this year and came out with a new sound. He’s opened for Krewella, Ephwurd, and a few other artists at Beta and has received great response. He’s going to be a father in 2017 and I would just love to see his artistic career take off at the same time. He is such a wonderful person and deserves all the success in the world.

303: What was the best show you saw in Denver in 2016 and why?

SK: I’ve been to a ton of incredible shows this year but I would have to say Odesza and Rufus du Sol at Red Rocks. It was easily the most beautiful show I have ever seen. The energy was amazing, the production was great, and while I’ve seen both acts a few times, it doesn’t get better than seeing them play together at such an iconic venue.

303: What’s your favorite thing about Denver’s music scene?

SK: I think Denver is unique in the fact that people will always come out to support the local scene. The city is obviously growing like crazy, but it’s still small enough that people can easily network and get to know each other. We always back each other and come together as a community. I think that’s also what I particularly love about working at SoCo, everyone who is a part of these venues feel like my second family. 

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