Live Music in Boulder Gears Up for a Busy Month

By Tyra Sutak

My first concert at a venue in Boulder was one for the books. I’ll never forget it. It was my fifteenth birthday and I was celebrating (sans parents) with a group of friends at The Fox Theater on the Hill.

For weeks, I had begged my parents to let me go. I spent many long nights leading up to the show wearing out the ‘e’ in the please and rattling off lists of qualities I possessed that resembled anything close to responsibility. It was a pretty pathetic time in my teenage years, and it’s hard not to laugh looking back on it now— especially considering that the band that I was dying to see was Chumbawamba. Don’t judge me; it was the 90’s. But the experience left a lasting impression and spawned a love and appreciation for the historic Fox Theater and its sister venue,The Boulder Theater.

In terms of age, The Boulder Theater has nearly two decades on its cross-town counterpart. The building, located in downtown Boulder, was constructed in 1906 as the Curran Opera House— a popular place for locals to catch an opera production or a silent film.

It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the iconic art deco interior was added, giving the building its unforgettable character. Today, The Boulder Theater is the city’s top music venue, which isn’t surprising considering the impressive list of artists that have graced its stage. And with a capacity of only 850, each and every show is an intimate one. 

The Fox Theater was originally built in 1926 as the Rialto Theater. Over the years, The Fox has featured vaudeville acts, movies, dancers, music, and more. Catching a show at the Fox is like hanging out with 649 or your closest friends. And since the introduction of a liquor license in the 1990’s, it’s also a great place to grab a local microbrew— many of which are served up at the venue’s bar.

With summer approaching, both venues are ramping up their calendars with a strong line-up of nationally touring musicians. George Ezra is stopping through the The Fox Theater on April 2nd. The Infamous Stringdusters are playing two nights at the Boulder Theater this month. The Drive-By Truckers are in town. And Damien Rice will be taking the stage at The Boulder Theater on April 17th.

The Boulder Theater is also staying true to it’s roots this month with a handful of films on the calendar, beginning with the Fly Fishing Film Tour on April 1st which will feature live music by local band, Interstate Stash Express. The 23rd Annual Microbreweries for the Environment is also on tap in April. Tickets are still available for this beloved local event that will take place at the Boulder Theater on April 4th. Atomga and The Herd are providing the tunes and thirteen local breweries will be on hand serving up their brews. The event benefits local environmental initiatives and is definitely great way to kick off festival season in the area.

View The Fox Theater’s Calendar

View The Boulder Theater’s Calendar


Denver’s Own Rob Drabkin Celebrates His Birthday At The Bluebird Theatre On Friday



Tyra Sutak

– January 17, 2013Posted in: FeaturesSlideshow Articles

Photo by Todd Roeth

Sometimes in life, you cross paths with people that you can’t help but like. The kind of genuine people that radiate positivity and throw sparks of life into a crowded room…the kind of people who make it impossible to be angry around.

Denver-based singer/songwriter, Rob Drabkin, is definitely one of those people.

Easily recognizable in the local music scene by his head of sky-high curly locks and infectious smile, Drabkin is kicking off the New Year by throwing himself his Annual Birthday Bash at The Bluebird Theatre tomorrow night.  For the sixth year in a row he’ll celebrate by performing a combination of new music, original songs from his previous five albums and, of course, a few of his favorite Paul Simon songs that he covers so well.  As many of his fans know, it just isn’t a Rob Drabkin show without a stripped down version of “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes”.

Having left a career utilizing his degree in science from Trinity University in 2007, Drabkin grabbed his guitar and set out on his own to pursue his musical dreams. “I woke up one day and decided that I really wanted to do music,” he said.

And “do music,” Drabkin did. He started playing open mic nights and coffee shops all over town, mastered the vulnerable art of performing acoustically, refined and developed his natural songwriting skills, and eventually worked his way up and on stages at The Walnut RoomThe Soiled DoveThe Bluebird—and the mack-daddy of all venues in Colorado—Red Rocks Amphitheatre—where he opened forREO Speedwagon and STYX in 2012.

These days, Drabkin is definitely living his dream and has settled nicely into the singer-songwriter niche in Denver’s prestigious music community as the leader of a talented 5-piece band, performing a mix of energetic and soulful tunes with an “edgy-jam rock feel.”

His music is upbeat and carries a relaxed and positive vibe—which is an absolute mirror reflection of Drabkin himself.  With the recent release of his sixth album, he feels like he’s definitely hitting his stride as an artist and a musician.  “I’m really excited about this CD. It’s cool to see how the music has developed, how my voice has changed and how the sound has changed,” says Drabkin. “I feel very proud about sharing it.”

Like most people on their birthday, Drabkin will have family in the house on Friday night to celebrate with, but unlike most people on their birthday, his accomplished, talented saxophone-playing dad, Harry Drabkin, will be joining him on stage to add some jazz action to a few songs.

And his mom—well like any good mom celebrating her son’s birthday, his mom will be bringing cake—for everyone. That’s right, live music by the winner of Westword Magazine’s “Best Singer-Songwriter” three years in a row—and birthday cake by is mom.

Doesn’t get much better than that.

Drabkin will take the stage at the Bluebird following opening performances by the whimsical, classically-trained, all-girl folk band, SHEL, and a solo performance by singer-songrwiter, Dave Tamkin.

Advanced tickets for this show are $12.00 and $15.00 day-of

Birthday cake and smiles on the house.

The Bolder Life: Ringing in the New Year with some Strange Americans


Tyra Sutak

Published on: December 28th, 2012

When it comes to New Year’s Eve plans, I’ve pretty much done it all. I’ve done the house party bit. I’ve made reservations at absurdly over-priced restaurants. I’ve donned the little black dress and strappy heels and shivered my way through the cold, all for a glittery party hat and a complimentary glass of champagne at: an art gallery, a club, a bar, a hotel, a museum, my mother’s house… You name it and I’ve done it; which is why my previous plans for December 31, 2012 included sweat pants, fuzzy slippers and Ryan Seacrest. (Listen… don’t judge me.)

I was perfectly content with my asleep-before-midnight, leftovers-for-dinner, warm-socks-with-comfy-footwear NYE plans, until my friend told me about a local band playing a New Year’s Eve show at the Hi-Dive in Denver—he even sent over a few songs from the band’s debut album, A Royal Battle, to really seal the deal.

That band isthe Strange Americansand they rock; there’s no doubt about it. The 6-piece Denver band classify themselves as Americana—which to me translates to an authentic road band that blends old fashioned honky-tonk music with bits of rock-and-roll all topped off with meaningful lyrics that transcend multiple eras.

I’m a country girl, and this type of alt-country music is kind of my thing.

Listening to the Strange Americans downloadable album this week made me crave a night filled with cowboy boots and Jack Daniels—two things I’ve never worn or drank on New Year’s Eve. I’ve also never rung in a brand new year while dancing along to  live music—so you can see how I was so easily coerced out of my fuzzy slippers funk.

Lately this band has been getting a ton of buzz in the prestigious Denver music scene, and you can expect to hear a mix of music this NYE that will have you and your New Year’s date breaking it down on the dance floor and tightly shuffling along together for an intimate slow dance in between Jack Daniels breaks at the bar.

The guys that make up the band are incredibly talented and genuine and their strong harmonies and appearances by the eerily soulful B-3 electric organ, the harmonica and the mandolin really take their music from really good, to really great.

Tickets are only $8 and are still available for the Strange Americans (featuring Face Man and the Outlet) New Year’s Eve show at the Hi-Dive, but they’re going fast—so dust off your cowboy boots and click this link to buy yours now. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., show starts at 9:30 p.m.

And if you’re plagued by the thought of leaving the Boulder County bubble (I’m not judging), but you look good in cowboy boots, occasionally consume whiskey, and you’re sad that Boulder County doesn’t have a true honky-tonk venue, but you’re really intrigued to hear what a less weathered version of Lucero blended with the unique sounds of a band like the Lumineers resembles—then you’re in luck. The Strange Americans are playing at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont on Saturday, December 29th. Show starts at 8:00 p.m.

I know, I know—you don’t even have to say it, I already know—and you’re welcome.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, y’all.

The Bolder Life: Tickets on Sale Now!


Tyra Sutak

Published on: April 4th, 2012

Events are always sneaking up on me—like tiny ninjas, dressed in all black, creeping around in shadows and stuff. This is a shame, because some of the best, can’t-be-missed events sell out pretty far in advance. So in an effort to help you be proactive about your social life, I’ve put together a list of upcoming events that should seriously be on your radar. You should probably pull out your credit card right now and purchase tickets to at least one, if not all of these events—right… now.

The 6th Annual Boulder Beer Scavenger Hunt
Tickets on Sale: April 6th | Actual Event: April 21st | Pearl Street Mall
Free beer for a year. That’s probably all that you really need to know to sell you on this annual, ridiculous event. Participants are encouraged to dress up for the costume contest, which was apparently won last year by team, “Go Home and Touch Yourself”—the crazier the costume, the better, and the more you’ll fit right in on the infamous Pearl Street Mall where you’ll search for items on this wacky scavenger hunt in hopes of winning the grand prize of beer for a year!

Taste of Pearl
Tickets on Sale: Now | Actual Event: April 22nd | Pearl Street Mall
This event gives me the warm and fuzzies, and not just because there’s a lot of wine involved—there’s food from lots of amazing Boulder restaurants as well! Stroll in and out of participating shops on Pearl Street Mall where you’ll sample wine from 15 local wineries as well and food prepared by 15 of Boulder’s most beloved restaurants on this walking culinary tour. Plus, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Boulder’s own, Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), which means you’ll also being doing something good for your community. (Warm and fuzzies, right?!)

Microbreweries for the Environment
Tickets on Sale: Now | Actual Event: April 27th | Boulder Theater
I still have my cutesy, powder blue t-shirt that I was given several years ago during my first Microbreweries for the Environment event. Although the overall event has changed a little over the years, the premise is still the same. Go to the Boulder Theater, drink craft beer from over 20 local breweries, support the environmental initiatives of six local non-profits, listen to some live music, collect a commemorative glass and do it all again next year. Great event for locals interested in sustainability and craft beer. Click here for pricing and more info.

The Bolder Life: It’s All About Tonight!


Tyra Sutak

Published on: January 19th, 2012

It’s probably been a pretty rough week for you. A lot of you had Monday off, which was cool, but put you behind at work for the rest of the week! Some of you braved the wind and the cold and hit the icy Boulder trails to participate in Winter Bike to Work Day yesterday. Everyone has been hard at work trying to figure out what SOPA and PIPA stand for, along with how exactly to get that “STOP SOPA” tag to run along the bottom of their Twitter avatar. But most importantly, most of you have been really hard at work betting on which 29th St. Mall store Trader Joe’s will be taking over when they make their first appearance in Colorado.

Seriously. I get it. Hard week all around.

So take a load off tonight. You deserve it. Check out one of the events happening near you, and celebrate all of your hard work this week.

The Infamous String Dusters | Fox Theater – Boulder | 9 PM | $18
Any band that has the word ‘infamous’ in their name is probably worth checking out. This band has toured the country playing their unique blend of bluegrass—always making time for a trip to Boulder to cater to the enthusiastic bluegrass scene in the area. Tickets are only $18 and live music is a fantastic treat after a hard week.

Arts & Ales | Left Hand Brewing Tap Room | Longmont | 5-7 PM
Craft beer goes with just about everything, but has a special bond with art. Check out this monthly event at Left Hand’s buzzing tap room in collaboration with Longmont’s, Muse Gallery.  Rub elbows with local artists, chat about arty stuff, and sip on the much-buzzed-about Fade to Black Ale by the popular brewery.


Backcountry Film Festival | Neptune Mountaineering | Boulder | 8 PM | $10
Even though the snow isn’t falling outside today, you can still get your snow fix by checking out the winter-centric films being shown at the 2nd Annual Backcountry Film Fest. Get together with like-minded backcountry enthusiasts, and “oh” and “ah” at the beautiful wintery scenes that have been a little scarce in Colorado this year.


Oskar Blues Beer Dinner @ Morning Glory Café | Lafayette | 6 PM | $25/person
In the craft beer world, ordering five beers will typically end up costing you well over $25. (The things we do for good beer). So imagine spending $25, and not only getting five beers from one of Colorado’s fastest growing breweries, but some delicious food to go along with it! If spending $50-$60 on a beer dinner is a little out of your budget, then this awesomely low-priced beer dinner is perfect for you! Make your reservations ASAP, and knock an additional $5 off of your bill by mentioning that you saw their saw their beer dinner post on Facebook!

Road to Winter X Games Aspen 2012 Grand Prize Giveaway | Avery Brewing|Boulder | 7-9 PM
Avery Brewing has been hyping locals up for this year’s Winter X Games in Aspen for the past few weeks now. Tonight, they are giving away the ultimate grand prize that includes: Two tickets to the Winter X Games Kick-Off Bash, 1-night stay for two at the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen, two cases of amazing beer for the room,  two lift tickets to Buttermilk Mountain, and two X Games Events Passes for Thursday, January 26th. Whoa. All you have to do is visit the Avery Tap Room this evening, post up with a pint of delicious beer and wait for your chance to win this skier/snowboarders dream trip!

Date Night | Zolo Grill | Boulder | $50 per couple (tax & gratuity not included)
Yum. Comfort food and tequila could perhaps be the best way to reward yourself for a tough work week. Stop by Zolo Grill for dinner tonight, and dine on a seasonal two-course dinner paired with drinks for just $50 per couple. Just remember, you still have one day left in the work week… and although tequila does pair well with Zolo’s mouth-watering menu—it does not pair well with a 6 am wake-up call the next morning.

The Bolder Life: School of Rock


Tyra Sutak

Published on: January 6th, 2012

It’s Friday! Friday is everyone’s favorite weekday day of the week—and why shouldn’t it be? You all worked hard this week. You bravely suffered through the first work-week back from your hangover of a holiday vacation. You’ve officially fully digested all of the holiday food, booze and regret that comes along with this time of the year. I’m proud of you. You deserve a weekend filled with snow, relaxation and rock.

Yep. I said rock—and I don’t know too many bands that rock harder than the bands making music at The School of Rock in Boulder.

This “afterschool” school offers music lessons for kids from second grade through high school, and it’s not just music lessons that are being offered here. The School of Rock is a great, safe place to send your kids as part of an extra-curricular, afterschool program where they can learn different instruments and meet new friends with similar interests and the same Green Day poster hanging up on their bedroom wall. Instructors at this rockin’ school teach their students how to play everything from the guitar, to the keyboard, to the drums along with getting their vocals in top shape, learning the art of the headbang and how to rile up their adoring fans, (a.k.a. – their adoring parents).

There really isn’t anything cooler than being in a band in your teenage years—except being in a band in your teenage years and playing live gigs at local bars and clubs.  Now that’s cool. But playing huge venues that have played host to some of your favorite bands and idols in the past is kind of the ultimate awesome if you’re a teenager playing live gigs with your awesome band.

So, that being said, you know the kids performing in The Boulder School of Rock Drum Wars at the Fox Theater this Saturday are going to bring it. Imagine watching a ten-year-old rock a drum solo harder than Tommy Lee and Travis Barker combined. Now that’s the ultimate awesome!

Support local youth programs and make these kids feel like Rock Stars by buying a ticket and checking out the show at 12:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.

And if one live show on Saturday isn’t enough for you, then stick around for local musician, Pete Kartsounes and his band at 9 o’clock. Finish off your evening with a trip to nearby restaurant, Café Aion for some tapas and libations and try to make it home at a decent hour. You’ll want to hit road early if you’re going to catch some of the fresh powder expected to fall this weekend.

Rock on, BoCo, Rock on.

The Bolder Life: Must-See Music


Tyra Sutak

Published on: December 27th, 2011

“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”

It’s so true. Music really does make the world go ‘round. Whether I’m reminiscing to my over-played Counting Crows Pandora station at work, belting out country drinkin’ songs in the car or foot-stomping along with a live bluegrass band or one of the many local blues/funk groups—I pretty much live my life in stereo. Which is why I’m so jazzed (see what I did there?) for the line-up of live music around Boulder County this week. A mix of some of the most popular bands to come out of Colorado and some of the most popular bands to play in Colorado are booked and ready to put on a hot, local show near you.

Check out this local line-up, mark these shows on your calendars and pick up your tickets now!

Yonder Mountain String Band
The Boulder Theater | Wednesday, December 28| $35 | 9 PM
Colorado loves Yonder Mountain String Band. These Nederland, CO natives have been selling out shows all around the nation, but are coming home to play The Boulder Theater for five nights this week, including a jammin’ show on New Year’s Eve. The Thursday-Saturday shows are completely sold-out; however, tickets are still available for Wednesday night. If you love bluegrass and haven’t seen these guys live—what are you waiting for?! Tickets are only $35. Get to the Boulder Theater website and buy your tickets now!

Singer Songwriter Night
Oskar Blues Liquids & Solids | Wednesday, December 28 | Free | 7-10 PM
This Longmont-based open mic night is one of the best in Boulder County. Hosted to by three talented Oskar Blues employees on the last Wednesday of ever month, this event draws in a variety of singers, songwriters and musicians from all over BoCo. Grab some OB grub and delicious microbrew and check out some great local performers.

Elephant Revival
The Stage Stop | Thursday, December 29 | $20 | Doors at 7:30 PM – Show Starts at 8:30 PM

Residents of Boulder County love this band almost as much as they love staying in shape. The Colorado-based, Indie Acoustic band will be playing the Stage Stop’s final event of the season. This show will be packed. And awesome. Purchase your tickets now and guarantee yourself a front row seat for some home-grown live music.

She Grooves
Nissi’s | Friday, December 30 | $8 advance/$10 door | 7:30-11 PM

She Grooves rocks. There’s no doubt about it. This all-female band usually brings the house down every time they play. If you’re looking for a high-energy show, this is it.  This R&B/Dance group is playing Nissi’s “New Year’s Eve Eve” show on Friday and is a great band to get you revived up and excited the following nights NYE shenanigans.

G. Love & Special Sauce
Fox Theater
 | Saturday, December 31 | $69.50 | 9:30 PM
Even though this band doesn’t hail from the 303 area code, they’ve played in Colorado so many times they’re basically honorary Coloradans. NYE tickets are still available for this popular blues band. And really—what better way to welcome the New Year? Good tunes, good friends, and a full bar. Buy your tickets, like now. Like 5 minutes ago. And make sure you get into this show.

The Bolder Life: Let it Rock


Tyra Sutak

Published on: October 5th, 2011

In the 80’s, when rock group Duran Duran really started to hit their stride as a legitimate U.K. export , I was less “Hungry Like the Wolf” and little more like ‘hungry for some Gerber applesauce’—which really limited my opportunities to catch the band live. Fortunately, aging rock stars love to reconnect and hit the road years after their glory days giving a whole new generation the chance to experience the best of rock and roll and hear a set list filled with songs that have become some of the most popular picks at karaoke nights around the world. Now I’m all for checking out reunion tours, but when it comes live music in general, I can be a little bit of a brat about leaving my little Boulder County bubble—even for a good 80’s flashback. I like checking out live music, but I love the idea of a quick cab ride home and spending less than my monthly car payment on a ticket to the show.  So—after hearing that one of my favorite 90’s bands, Bush, and Duran Duran recently played in the huge building conveniently located off of Highway 36 right in the center of my Boulder County bubble—I thought it might be time check out what the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield is really all about.

Lucky for me, (and most of you), the 1st Bank Center has and awesome line-up of shows scheduled for the upcoming months. The venue can accommodate up to 6,500 people and there truly is a little something for everyone. From reunion tours, to country stars to some kick-butt women roughing eachother up in Roller Derby– chances are you’ll find a show worth buying tickets to– and although you probably weren’t able to catch four of the Fab Five in action at their show on Tuesday, don’t worry. Next time the 80’s call, you’ll be a little more prepared.

The 1st Bank Center has played host to Pop stars like Katy Perry and popular Indie Bands like Further. Ticket prices typically fall in the range of $30-$150 and can be purchased at the box office, or online.  Check out these upcoming shows at the 1stBank Center that are already flashing on my radar and click here to see a complete calendar of events.

10/15/2011 Denver Roller Dolls
10/25/2011 Paul Simon
11/05/2011 Judas Priest
11/19/2011 KYGO Presents: Dierks Bently, Jerrod Nieman and the Eli Young Band
12/06/2011 Channel 93.3 Presents “Not So Silent Night” including Rise Against, Flogging Molly & Calibrate Me