History of One of denver’s most notorious venues
On Jan. 5, Larimer Lounge celebrated its 15th anniversary with a free show. The event showcased three local bands: Bud Bronson & the Good Timers, Panther Martin, and Chocolate Diamond as the opening act. Larimer Lounge, which opened in 2002, was one of the first businesses to open in the warehouse district of River North (RiNo). Located in Five Points, the establishment of Larimer Lounge served as Denver’s seminal independent and underground rock venue, attracting indie-rock bands that were on the verge of breaking out in the music scene.
Many local music enthusiasts frequent Larimer Lounge because of its particular knack at booking high-quality, underground, and independent artists. “Panther Martin absolutely killed it. They’re one of my favorite bands,” Meesh Deyden, a 29-year-old Denver-based photographer, said. “If you want a true rock ‘n’ roll show from a local band in Denver, you need to see Panther Martin live.”
As a photographer of venue spaces and musicians primarily, Deyden has explored much of Denver’s music venues as part of her work. “I just love the intimacy of Larimer Lounge,” she said of the 250-person maximum occupancy venue. “It doesn’t fit too many people, but the sound is still really good for such a small space.”
Currently, Dreyden is working on a photo series for Rooster Magazine that showcases the various fashion choices made with wardrobes worn out on a weekend night in Denver; she has often found herself revisiting the Larimer Lounge time and time again as a source of inspiration.
Scott Campbell, the owner of Larimer Lounge—who opened Lost Lake in 2013 and Globe Hall in 2015—had decided to open the venue on what was then considered the outskirts of the city. “It was more of an almost destination venue, where you’d really only come here if you were coming for a very specific band or show you wanted to see,” Tony Mason, a talent scount and booking agent said. He has worked for Larimer Lounge for a decade, contributing to the effort to represent independent rock in Denver.
Some of Larimer Lounge’s earliest bookings, taking place in 2003 and 2004, include The Apples In Stereo, Devotchka, and Of Montreal. The venue has brought in artists from a variety of genres—from the strange, psychotropic, and glitchy world of Dan Deacon, to the atmospheric and melancholy post-rock work done by the band This Will Destroy You.
More than a decade old, Larimer Lounge gained momentum by booking artists as they passed through Denver on their way to the west coast, usually coming from their last gig in Texas or somewhere in the midwest. After the venue’s reputation of gritty charm and wild shows began spreading, Larimer Lounge grew in popularity with underground artists. Over the years, it has helped transform Denver from a layover for musicians to a destination of its own.