I'm a little late in writing about this, but last week, I was back in Denver for The Underground Music Showcase (The UMS). It's a really fun indy music festival. I think they had 35 stages and over 300 bands. For being underground, it's a pretty big music festival!
I've been involved in The UMS for 5 years now. This was my 5th year putting together a great line-up of comedians and hosting the show.
This year, they gave us a 3-hour show. Typically, 3 hours is too long for a comedy show. Unless they're watching Lord of the Rings, nobody has a 3-hour attention span. However, the crowds came and went several times throughout the show. One weird thing about a music festival like this is because there are so many shows going on at once, each show has a revolving door. Crowds come. Crowds go. They want to check out as many things as possible. When my show wasn't going on, I did the same thing! I watched a band, stayed for a few songs, then wen off to sample some more.
As long as when they came in the door something funny was happening, they stuck around for awhile. Even if something funny was happening, though, at some point, they left to go see other bands. Or, they left other bands to come see us. The show started with maybe 5 people in the crowd. By the end of the night, every table was full. That's usually the opposite of how my shows go!
Wel, let's get to it. Here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because of The 2012 Underground Music Showcase:
1. I got to come back to Denver.
I left Denver August 2011. I have been back briefly since then twice, once last November, and once this January. I miss my friends. I miss my family.
And right now, the Denver comedy scene is exploding. People are getting in the Montreal Comedy Festival. All these ladies are getting Nick at Nite. Huffington Post is writing about everybody and their mother. Denver is the place to be. So what do I do? I move. Good call. Good career choice. That's what I do: make good career choices.
By the way, if I had to move anywhere, I am glad to be in Austin. Every time I am actually in town, I have a lot of fun down there.
Anyway, it was good to be back home for a bit. I saw family. I went to the gun range. I saw the mountains. I was home. I am thankful for that.
2. I got to see a lot of my comedy friends.
For this year's UMS, we performed at The Hornet's stage. The Hornet is one of my favorite places to eat in Denver. It's right by my old apartment. You don't really need to know that part- unless you want a little Jake Sharon apartment history tour.
This year, I booked 20 of my favorite underground comedians. At the last minute, I had a couple surprise drop-ins too.
Here's the lineup:
- Jake Sharon (emcee)
- Mike Jones (West Virginia/ Denver)
- Heather Snow (Denver)
- Jordan Doll (Denver)
- Adrian Mesa (Miami/ Denver)
- Brent The Great (Denver)
- Erik Lindstrom (Fort Collins)
- Stacy Roquemore (Denver)
- Rick Bryan (Denver)
- Tim Messenger (Boston/ D.C./ Denver)
- Rubi Nicholas (Philadelphia/ Denver)
- Elliot Woolsey (Denver)
- Leif Cedar (Denver)
- Brady Quarterman (Denver)
- Michael Carter (Denver)
- Matt Monroe (Denver)
- Abbey Jordan (San Francisco/ Portland/ Denver)
- John Crist (Denver)
- Rick DeSimone (Denver)
- Alex Ash (Denver)
- Maureen Hobbs (Denver)
- Brad Galli (Denver)
- Jim Hickox (Denver)
3. I got to see some great bands.
One of my favorite aspects of doing The UMS each year is I get to see a ton of cool bands. It's four straight nights of just about every kind of indy music you can imagine. As a performer, I got to see it all.
At the 2011 UMS, I got to see one of my new favorite bands, Chicago's Git Some. I got their 2008 CD, Cosmic Rock. Those guys put out a really loud, in your face sound. I also saw Wheelchair Sports Camp, a nationally touring Denver hip-hop group with a sound that's on the level of Digable Planets. I got their CD, Mixed Tapes.
This year, I head to leave The UMS right after my show on Friday night. Bummer. I didn't get to see enough bands. At 11:15 pm, I got in my car so I could make my gig in San Angelo, Texas. Hey, got to pay the bills.
However, before my show, I went to The UMS mainstage and I got to see Mancub. Wow! Those guys were great! Mancub is a laidback Denver techno duo, kind of a hi-tech/ lo-tech combo. I'm a new fan. Check em out at http://www.mancub303.com/.
That's the thing about the UMS: You'll see a ton of great bands, and you'll remember a few of them enough to become their fans. Wow. That sentence kind of rhymed. I'm thankful for that.