• Jon Turner / Courtesy photo

    Surf-punk band Agent Orange plays The Seventh Circle Music Collective in Denver in 2013.

  • Quentin Young / For the Colorado Daily

    Ignacio Aguerrevere and Gracie the dog hang out at Rhinoceropolis in Denver on Jan. 16. The space is a residence and artist workshop, as well as a music venue.



Second Story Garage

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We all know about the Fox and Boulder theaters. Most local music fans have caught a show at Red Rocks or the Filmore. But there are a handful of music venues in the area that aren’t as widely known, or do things a little different. Here’s five of them.


Seventh Circle Music Collective

2935 W. 7th Ave., Denver


The Seventh Circle Music Collective is a one-stop DIY shop for records, rehearsals, community and concerts. Toss in some underground art and political ‘zines and you get the picture of what the collective’s about.

The location has a venerable history in Denver music. It started in 2006 when it opened as the Blast-O-Mat, which quickly earned a reputation as one of the scene’s best underground haunts. Seventh Circle took up the torch in 2012 and within a year was attracting the likes of Agent Orange, the California surf-punkers. There’s a storefront where you can buy music, and if you’re in a band, they have practice space in the basement. It’s an all-ages hangout where you can tap into a deep seam of local talent. The venue, which has shows sometimes six nights a week, leans punk and metal, but the arc of the Seventh Circle is a broad one. Country, hip-hop, EMD — they do it all. Bands like Potato Pirates, The Rotten Blue Menace and Smack Saturday are regulars. There’s no real cover at the door, but don’t be a dick — give them a donation so they can pay the rent.


The Barkley Ballroom

610 Main St., Frisco


Not too long ago, the town of Frisco was mainly good for that brewery off the highway as you passed through on the way to Breck. That started to change in 2012 when The Barkley Ballroom opened. Now it’s worth checking the music calendar before you just blaze by. The venue is down some stairs in a building that doesn’t exactly scream rock ‘n’ roll, but looks are deceiving. The venue puts on some kick-ass shows, and it is taking its place among a must-visit circuit of mountain venues that includes Belly Up in Aspen and three20south in Breck. Artists who plan to visit the Ballroom early in 2015 include Colorado’s Whitewater Ramble, Britain’s The New Mastersounds, Miami’s Roosevelt Collier and California’s Karl Denson.



3553 Brighton Blvd., Denver


Most people don’t have the need to post a sign like, “Is not bathroom,” on their bedroom door. Then again, most people don’t live in a place like Rhinoceropolis. Several people DO live at Rhinoceropolis. But the reasons other people might be there is that they’re making art, playing music, seeing music, or for no real reason, all activities that involve using a bathroom occasionally. Rhinoceropolis is in a low, unassuming building in the gentrifying wilds north of downtown Denver. There’s no sign outside, but sometimes there’s a band in the window that gives it away. The main room, which doubles and triples as kitchen and living room, is itself a work of art. At a decade old, the venue remains a reward that comes with digging below the Denver scene’s surface, but its profile is rising along with its neighborhood. New neighbors include the Industry project, with its creative and tech tenants, and The Source, an artisanal food market. But the rub-off attention the Rhino might get from this won’t necessarily make it suck. Like the venue itself says: “It’s a city of rhinos, tell your friends.”


Longs Peak Pub and Taphouse

600 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont


The Mountain Sun in downtown Boulder has the beer-and-local-music thing down, and the Sun has taken its expertise in this corner of the music market to several other locations in the area — its Vine Street Pub in Denver is now a highlight of the 17th Street strip east of the central business district. Now Longmont is getting some Sun-shine. The Sun’s newest location — Longs Peak Pub and Taphouse in Longmont — is bringing its Colorado craft-beer ethic to east Boulder County, and this includes its live-music philosophy. So far the venue is playing it low-key, with solo artists and duos, but the talent includes some of the area’s most established performers, such as guitar picker Pete Kartsounes and fiddle-wizard Katie Glassman. The Longmont venue offers music only 8-10 p.m. on Saturday nights. But it’s free, so no use complaining.


Stage Stop

60 Main St., Rollinsville


Every man, woman and child in the small mountain town of Rollinsville could probably fit comfortably into Stage Stop, and with its central location the venue-restaurant has a dominating presence on Main Street. A lot goes on at Stage Stop. There might be a wedding there one day and a burlesque show the next. It’s also a chill place to see popular acts like Elephant Revival or Shakedown Street in the main hall. There’s plenty of room to dance, and at 9,000 feet in elevation, the Rocky Mountain-high lifestyle comes alive on music nights. Bonus: There’s a gem of a music venue across the street at the String Bean coffee shop. But shhh! Let’s not ruin it by telling too many people.

Quentin Young: twitter.com/qpyoungnews