- Matthew Schniper
- Puscifer brought luchadores along for their Pikes Peak Center show.
Venue history: The Black Sheep, which opened in October 2005, was the first club owned by Mike Barsch, a music venue booker who started his company Soda Jerk in a Boulder basement with $500 and a notebook computer. The company is also responsible for bringing the annual Riot Fest to Denver.
Why it matters: In addition to being an all-ages club that regularly features well-known touring acts that typically play much larger venues, the Black Sheep is the club of choice when it comes to Colorado Springs artists hosting album release shows, which is one of the best ways to keep track of what’s happening on the local music scene.
Venue history: Downtown’s most high-decibel hangout is owned by J.J. Greuter, a local music legend who co-founded Colorado Springs punk band The Nobodys and played bass in the dearly dormant Americana outfit Drag the River. The place recently celebrated its 12th anniversary.
Why it matters: For the same reason that punk-rock, in all its various incarnations, still matters. It caters to a local music community that’s as unpretentious as it gets.
- Brian Tryon
- The Haunted Windchimes
Venue history: The multi-million-dollar renovation of this former schoolhouse has transformed it into an overwhelmingly successful mixed-use cultural and culinary mecca that’s home to the Bristol Brewery taphouse, a wide variety of dining and drinking options and, perhaps most importantly for those of you reading this, a popular music venue.
Why it matters: At a time when the indie-folk scene has grown too large to be confined to living-room house concerts, Ivywild has attracted touring acts who might otherwise have made Denver their lone Colorado destination. It’s also a primary Colorado Springs venue for local acts on the Haunted Windchimes’ Blank Tape Records roster.
Venue history: The Pikes Peak Center was built in 1982 as part of the downtown business district’s economic development plan. The 2,000-seat concert hall is owned by El Paso County and operated by the Broadmoor World Arena.
Why it matters: The venue offers the best acoustics in town, which makes it the perfect showcase for classical music performances, touring Broadway shows and big-name rock, pop and country acts.
Venue history: Designed by Vincent G. Raney, the same architect who designed Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome, this 40-year-old geodesic dome has, in decades past, been home to a punk-metal club, a church, a movie theater and a country music venue. Current owners Cindy and John Hooton purchased and renovated the building back in 2008.
Why it matters: While the Pikes Peak Center often caters to a similar demographic, its musical offerings are interspersed with performances by comedians and theatrical presentations. Stargazers, by comparison, is virtually all music, all the time.
- Amanda Crandall
- Chauncy Crandall
Venue history: Back in 2011, Zodiac co-owners Christina Stone and Gentle Fritz transformed the rockabilly-inclined dive bar Rocket Room into a more posh space that’s still managed to retain an inclusive neighborhood vibe.
Why it matters: In addition to hosting one of Colorado Springs’ most popular open mics, regular burlesque shows and theme nights, the venue books numerous local musicians and has established itself as a destination spot for some of the most eclectic and arty touring acts on the current indie-rock scene.
And that’s just the beginning…Colorado Springs is also home to the acclaimed Blues Under the Bridge (bluesunderthebridge.org) and MeadowGrass (meadowgrass.org) music festivals, intimate jazz club Motif (motifjazzcafe.com), the bluegrass-friendly Front Range Barbeque (frbbq.com), all-ages rock venue Sunshine Studios (sunshinestudioslive.com), the Mining Exchange’s art deco Gold Room (goldroomlive.com), the sprawling Broadmoor World Arena (broadmoorworldarena.com), and dozens of other venues that cater to a wide array of live music fans.
The city’s newest concert space, the downtown Knights of Columbus Hall (tinyurl.com/PPLD-flux), belongs to Pikes Peak Library District, which offered the building as a new home for the displaced DIY enterprise Flux Capacitor. You can keep track of them all in the Indy’s weekly Playing Around section and online music listings.