Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
AAron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
For a city with a little more than 100,000 people, Boulder definitely matches up to much larger metro areas in the music department.
In order to preserve your mental stability, make a point to catch a show every now and then. It’s easy: Select a concert, get in the shower, wash your fine self clean with soap, don’t use shampoo unless it’s been a few days because you really shouldn’t be shampooing too often and if you are it’s time to unshackle yourself from the thieves at Big Shampoo, put on clothes, leave your housing unit and let the music take it from there.
Once you’re out, do me a favor and shoot me a text just so I know where you’re headed.
It worries me when you and your friends go out without texting your father and me beforehand, so please, don’t fight us on this one.
The guitar! The horns! The soothing vocals!
Man, isn’t music the best?
And it’s even better shared, so grab a few friends and let the rhythm take hold of that gorgeous bod of yours.
Boulder isn’t exactly New Orleans, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding live tunes throughout the area. Here’s a list of our favorite joints:
11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield
It’s a large venue on the road to Denver, and it’s a place to see some of the bigger-name shows in the Boulder area. The arena attracts a wide diversity of artists, from Bon Iver to Lorde to Slayer. There’s not much in the way of atmosphere there, but the acts are consistently quality, and 1stBank is just a quick drive down U.S. 36 from Boulder.
2032 14th St., Boulder
The Boulder Theater opened in 1906, but it was then known as the Curran Opera House. Its modern incarnation dates to the mid-1990s, and it’s a common stopping point for local stars like Yonder Mountain String Band as well as national names like Conor Oberst and the Pixies. The venue’s interior is unique, and the space is a comfortable one.
637 S. Broadway, Boulder
Caffé Sole (pronounced caf-FAY so-LAY) is locally owned and features live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. It’s mostly jazz, but blues and Americana artists also take the stage. The cafe has a pretty big wine list, and it serves food all day. The music is free, but a $10 donation is suggested.
Dickens Opera House
300 Main St., Longmont
What began as an opera house in Longmont’s earliest days is now one of the city’s premier places to catch live music and the occasional pole dancing competition. Local talent claims most of its calendar, but touring acts also make regular appearances. There’s a comfortable bar and restaurant on the ground floor, and the spacious stage is upstairs.
1535 Spruce St, Boulder
The nationally syndicated eTown radio broadcast used to tape at Boulder Theater until the nonprofit moved into its own hall in 2012 in downtown Boulder. The new venue is a recycled church, and eTown kept the wooden pews and other trappings of the building’s former use. Now it houses a music hall and full-service recording studio. Blues legend Otis Taylor held his Trance Blues Festival at the venue in 2015.
1135 13th St., Boulder
The one indispensable live music venue in Boulder, Fox Theatre opened in 1992 and has since become one of the best rock venues in the country. Of the two venues — Fox and Boulder theaters — operated by Z2 Entertainment, Fox is the one with the louder, sweatier, dancier shows. It’s the punk younger sister, smaller than Boulder theater but feistier. Tyler, The Creator held a free show there in 2013, and a riot nearly broke out in the streets.
1595 Pleasant Ave., Boulder
There are all kinds of events at this large on-campus venue — dance, theater, opera, you name it. Macky also hosts the more popular panels during the Conference on World Affairs, and it boasts a long list of notable guest speakers.
Owsley’s Golden Road
1301 Broadway, Boulder
This is a newer addition to Boulder’s music venue roster. It was opened in 2015 by longtime Denver venue operator Jay Bianchi, known for such jam band haunts as Quixote’s True Blue and Sancho’s Broken Arrow. Grateful Dead music lives here. Developers hope to put a hotel and parking garage on the site in the coming years, so get over there while you still can.
15 E. First St., Nederland
Take the twisting journey to Nederland for music at the Pioneer Inn and you’ll thank yourself for making the effort. With a history that goes back to the early 1970s, when the nearby Caribou Ranch recording studio was hosting superstars from around the world, its stage has been graced by the likes of Billy Joel, Carole King and Waylon Jennings. Attention hipsters: They have Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap!
The Lazy Dog
1346 Pearl St., Boulder
The Lazy Dog sports bar is often the first stop for local bands with big ambitions. It serves as a de-facto feeder to the area’s larger venues, and established artists often turn up at this room for bread-and-butter jams.
Pearl Street Pub & Cellar
1108 Pearl St., Boulder
A welcoming atmosphere, wide selection of bar games, friendly service, a warren of rooms, greasy food … oh, yeah, and local artists on a corner-of-the-room, un-raised stage who play their hearts out.
The Caribou Room
55 Indian Peaks Drive, Nederland
The Caribou Room is one of the newest venues in the area, having recently been converted from a warehouse into a beautiful space with a dance floor, balcony and kitchen. It’s about a half-hour drive from Boulder, but the music and mountain-town setting are worth the trip.
Alex Burness: twitter.com/alex_burness