Back in 2010, the Rocket Room pulled the plug after three years of booking semi-underground bands from around the country. Now comes word that the Triple Nickel Tavern is going up for sale.
"I have a blood disorder called hemochromatosis and I'm in for major lifestyle change," owner JJ Grueter tells me. "It's hard to own a pizza shop and not be able to eat pizza."
But wait, the Triple Nickel never sold pizza.
"I was using the pizza shop as a metaphor for drinking," he says.
Since its 2005 opening, JJ's downtown venue has hosted touring artists like the Supersuckers, T-Model Ford, Hacienda, Kepi Ghoulie, Gringo Star and Antique Scream. It's also been a strong supporter of the Colorado music scene, booking local acts ranging from Edith Makes a Paper Chain and the Haunted Windchimes to Murder Hat and Fidel RedStar.
"I have a lot to get straightened out before I sell," says JJ, "so it will be a few months before I even go forward with this."
In the best-case scenario, any change of hands will lead to a continued presence in the local music scene, as was the case when the Rocket Room rose from the ashes to become Zodiac. Live music has been a big selling point for the bar, and it'd be a shame to see a great stage and sound system go to waste. Here's hoping the site doesn't get turned into a used car lot.
In better news, it was great to see JJ's band, the Nobodys, back in action at the Front Range PunkFest this past weekend. After a lengthy hiatus, the "Ron Jeremys of the punk rock world" have started playing shows again, and the enthusiastic reaction to classics like "Your Girlfriend" ("When I look into those eyes / I want to dive between those thighs") made it seem like it was 1997 all over again.
Other local greats I caught on Saturday included the A-Holes, whose thrash-pop is as timeless as ever, and Oi! band 99 Bottles, who wouldn't sound out of place opening a show for Cock Sparrer.
Also impressive in their own way were the Carnivores, a newish three-piece out of Denver whose set was more bluesy and shoegazerly than most punk bands. (Think Gun Club, Panther Burns and Johnny Thunders rather than, say, Black Flag or the Ramones.)
Extra points to the Carnivores' Brook Theis for her Hofner Beatle bass and to Randall Chambers for re-tuning his guitar midset — something rarely witnessed at punk-rock shows — making the distortion and feedback sound that much better.
And last, but in no way least, my biggest recommendation for the coming weekend is the benefit for musician Cliff Barvoets, the custom car and bike guy at Fat Boyz Auto Body, who's played with a ton of local bands, including Strychnine, Animosity, Dyemaniacal and Last Supper.
Since late March, the musician has undergone a spinal tap, MRIs, emergency room visits and hospitalization in attempts to fight an ongoing medical condition that's left him bedridden with body tremors and muscle spasms. As is the case with many musicians who aren't stockbrokers or trust-fund kids, Cliff and his wife are without insurance, and expenses are piling up fast.
To help out, Last Supper is spearheading an all-ages benefit concert with Hellrazor, Tree of Woe, Inelements, Goya and other bands at Union Station this coming Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. You can also donate directly via giveforward.com/cliff. Should be a great show, and best of luck to everyone involved.