In 1995 Westword Weekly started the Westword Music Showcase. As it approaches 30 years, it has gone through changes. Originally staged in LoDo it moved to the Golden Triangle and now is in two Denver hotspots: RiNo Arts District & The Mission Ballroom. It has gone from a one day experience to 2 days. It has gone from July to September. This year’s showcase features over 60 acts, on 12 stages…a third of them women.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg released their debut album in 2021 and have skyrocketed ever since. Rhian Teasdale & Hester Chambers’ have seen their US tour need bigger venues.
Cannons – Cannons’ released their 3rd album Fever Dream earlier this year. Michelle Joy leads this band that has a sound between lounge and indie rock. They are always a fun show. See our photos here.
Big Richard – This an all women, all acoustic band with Bonnie Sims, Joy Adams, Emma Rose, and Eve Panning. We first heard of them in the Spring at E-Town. They have a headlining show at the Gothic in October.
Bluebook – Julie Davis’ supergroup continues to amaze us. We last saw them open for Marissa Nadler. Whether as a 4 piece or a 3 piece, Bluebook is a sunshine haze of fun. See our live photos here.
Cleaner – This is new group with old friends from Muscle Beach, Fast Eddy, Dirty Few, Keef Duster and Colfax Speed Queen.
Same Cloth – Same Cloth is a versatile group led by JoFoKe and Soloman J Chapman. They caught our attention with their long residency at Dazzle.
Sophie Gray – Gray is a new singer-songwriter with a lot of buzz.
For over 20 years this music festival has brought big names to Denver while also showcasing the local scene. This year over 170 artists will appear on 15 stages over 3 days. Last year the festival was a virtual 3 hour event. This year’s showcase includes Pinegrove, Remi Wolf, Shannon & The Clams, Sofia Valdes among its 13 headliners. Local acts include returning artists of Bellhoss, Slow Caves, Wildermiss, Izcalli and more. There are also new faces including Lnlygirl, The Grand Alliance, Deadluv and more.
“After 20 years of Underground Music Showcase, we were thrilled to be able to carry-on our tradition virtually last year by raising $75,000 for independent musicians” shares Casey Berry, owner of the festival. “With that said, we couldn’t be happier to be in-person for 2021 to not only support live music and local bands, but to support more than a dozen independent bars and restaurants on Broadway!”
UMS is working closely with city and state officials to make sure we rage safely in 2021. This might include reduced capacity (especially at indoor venues), and potentially limiting ticket sales to ensure proper distancing as required. UMS has every intent to become a good example of how to return to in-person, live music festivals in a safe and celebratory manner, and will be monitoring health directives in real time as the big weekend approaches.