From the Barstool of the Publisher – September 2009


Summer may be winding down this month. It’s getting dark a little earlier and it’s colling off  —meaning we’re on our way to spending more time in dark, dank clubs for music. (For the record, I use dark and dank as positive descriptives here, not negative ones.)

However, we still have a few great days outside before we become vampire-like again — and the Monolith Music Festival, yet again, is proving to be one of the best two days of outdoor music this year.

There’s an element of discovery at this festival (now in its third year) that is unparalleled anywhere in the Colorado music scene.

Sure, we have some of the best festivals in the world here — bar none bluegrass festivals, superstar mega-fests and, of course, our hippie, jammy celebrations.

But Monolith is a different beast.

Whereas those other festivals can be somewhat predictable in their lineups — aside from the occasional big surprises that promoters throw in — Monolith is full of surprises, and prompts more “Who the hell are these guys?” questions than any other event in Colorado.

And that’s exactly what it’s meant to do, by design.

Festival directors Josh Baker an Matt Fecher spend more time seeking out up-and-coming, just-off-the-radar bands than any other promoters and have grown this “new music” festival into Colorado’s closest equivalent to SXSW.

It’s an incredibly important role to our entire scene. The excitement of “Who’s next?” and “What’s that?” is a contagious virus that spreads to the clubs, infiltrates the South Broadway indie scene and fuels excitement long after the stage has been cleared and the gear hauled away.

That “new music” moniker is an important one to keep in mind. True, that most of the bands playing Monolith can be filed under “indie,” but indie-what is the real question. From acoustic singer/songwriters, eccentric indie pop acts, off-the-cuff rock acts and straight-up hip-hop, the Monolith umbrella is as vast as Red Rocks itself.

Study our “Must Hears,” do some myspacing ahead of time and get in some good stretches before the gates open and you should be able to tackle enough material to fill a vault over the two day period. Remember, Monolith is not your average trip to Red Rocks. You won’t be a passive audience member — and if you are, you’re missing the point.

See you at the shows.


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