Colfax & Downing

Everything you need to know about the Mile High City

Tag: music

Rossonian Front Door

The Rossonian Hotel

Hi. We’re alive! Forgive our pointless absence. Clare has been working longer hours than usual and we recently traveled to see friends tie the knot, moved all of our belongings into a new place and generally settling into lazy autumn evenings with Crockpot dinners and Netflix. We just finished Bloodline and Narcos. Recommendations?

Let’s talk about the Rossonian. I took these photos on a foggy morning a few weeks ago but have admired the structure since we moved to Denver two years ago. The Rossonian was built in 1912 as a hotel but it became known for its bar and live jazz scene. Our city was still a majorly racist place in those years and black musicians like Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and more were commissioned to perform at other venues in Denver proper but couldn’t stay in the hotels because of their skin. Accommodations at the Rossonian, and Five Points in its entirety, welcomed them. The bar soon became famous for its late night performances by nationally-known singers and jazz artists. It’s not a coincidence that the Five Points Jazz Festival folds around the streets surrounding this hotel every year.

Rossonian Denver

It’s no secret that Five Points and the surrounding neighborhoods continue to become gentrified. Seeing these historical landmarks get an opportunity to renovate and reopen and the variety of houses get facelifts is exciting but, like any decent-hearted Denverite, I hope that it doesn’t come at the expense of the elements that make Five Points what it is. This used to be the heart of the city and it’s been rich in its diversity. Many of the families that have called it home for decades are getting priced out. Damn it, Denver.

The Five Points community suffered from the late 1950s through the late 1990s because of drugs, crime, and urban flight. Many properties were abandoned, the local economy became somewhat irrelevant and the larger market found local business conditions unappealing. Attempts at redevelopment were made but there were many hindrances to reinvestment. The district became a no-man’s land in need of a larger vision and a new generation of leadership.

Five Points has always been a neighborhood with a diverse economic mix of residents, evidenced by the variety of houses there. Mansions were built next to row homes. Many of the rich began moving out of Five Points in the late 19th century to live in the more popular Capitol Hill neighborhood. Five Points was also home to a large Jewish population and is still home to a former synagogue, Temple Emanuel, on the corner of 24th Street and Curtis Street. After World War II, many Japanese-Americans lived in Five Points. Agape Church on the corner of 25th Street and California Street was once a Japanese Methodist church. – Wikipedia

30th and Downing Light Rail Train

Clare articulated my feelings about the hotel when I first showed it to her sometime last year. She was delighted by its very existence, charmed by its story and upset at its current state. While the outside has been carefully preserved, why is this legendary hotel just sitting there like a ghost on the corner of 32nd and Welton?

Rossonian Hotel Denver

The hotel’s shape gives way to a triangular ballroom inside, though I’ve never had the pleasure of exploring it. The Westword wrote a great article back in January about the hotel’s history and future prospects.

Last fall, word leaked that Sage Hospitality — which runs the Oxford Hotel, as well as hotels around the country, and was a partner in the Union Station redevelopment — would partner with Civil Technology to put a luxury hotel in the Rossonian. ‘We are still not far enough for me to confirm anything yet, but I can tell you we’re looking at it,’ Sage spokeswoman Kate Davis said at the time; today she says Sage has no updates.

Meanwhile, the ghosts are clinking their champagne flutes.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

Bomba Estereo Autograph

An Interview with Bomba Estereo

Somehow over the weekend, I won a VIP concert experience from AT&T to see Bomba Estereo.

Personally, I was unfamiliar with Bomba Estereo so I binge-listened to them over the weekend and fell in love with their sound. Simply put, I’ve never heard anything like it in my life.

As I was getting ready to meet my friend John at the hotel for the official meet and greet, I told myself that if I had the opportunity to talk to them, I’d ask the members of Bomba Estereo, Simón Mejía and Liliana Saumet a few questions.

Bomba Estereo MLS All Star Denver

Tell us about your musical style?

Simón Mejía – The musical style is a blend between Colombian tropical and Caribbean tropical music with electronics. We’ve been around for almost 10 years and have made 4 albums. This is the 4th, ‘Amanecer’. We released it a month or a month and a half ago. It’s a very special album because, we really love it and we got a chance to make it with an L.A. producer Ricky Reed. The album sounds very powerful. We tried to explore not only Colombian rhythms but also hip-hop, electronic, and dancehall themes. It’s really different than anything we’ve done before.

Bomba Estereo Rocks Denver

How has Denver treated you? Do you like coming here?

Simón – We were here 4 years ago in a small bar in Denver. That was the first time. The 2nd time was only 10 days ago for the Biennial of the Americas and this is our 3rd time to Denver. The last time we were here, we got the chance to go up to Red Rocks. It was amazing man; out of this world. Someday, we want to play there.

Bomba Estereo Plays MLS All Star Week

Do you follow the MLS? Do you have a Colombian team back home?

Liliana Saumet – “Yes of course!”

Simón – We support the Colombian team. They’re a great team now with great players, and we did a great job in the last World Cup. So, we’re looking forward to see what happens with that team. I know that Lilliana is a big fan of Junior F.C.

Liliana – Tu Papa! [Junior F.C.’s nickname]

Simón – They’re the local team from Barranquilla.

If you want to listen to the full uncut version of this conversation, here’s our brand spanking new Soundcloud page featuring my chat with Bomba Estereo last night:

Thanks again to AT&T for hooking me up with the VIP concert experience; it was incredible.

Bomba Estereo meets Colfax & Downing

Bomba Estereo will be heading to back home to Colombia after last night’s show, but be sure to see them the next time they stop by. They’re incredible live.

Connect with Bomba Estereo:

Tour Dates




Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

Quixote's True Blue Cafe

Quixote’s True Blue

First things first, some real talk. A bar that is dedicated to paying homage to the Grateful Dead is not our typical stomping ground. I prefer 140-180 beats per minute and Clare loves harmony-heavy music. But when our friend Brian invited us to see his son’s newly formed band, Racket in the Roost, play a show at Quixote’s True Blue on a weeknight recently, we decided to delay our usual pajama time and go out for a drink. Racket in the Roost includes Dylan McCarthy on guitar, Aidan Allen on bass and Mike Tanner on banjo. Style: bluegrass Americana.

Racket in the roost quixote's true blue

Jay Bianchi owns both Quixote’s True Blue downtown and Sancho’s Broken Arrow out on Colfax. Both establishments are prolifically adorned with Grateful Dead paraphernalia and concert posters. If the decorating team behind Cracker Barrel were to outfit a room in tribute to Jerry Garcia, this is surely what it would look like.

Crowd at Quixote's True Blue

Find yourself here if you love $3 PBR, live jam bands and a relaxed, diverse group of people or creep them on Facebook and Twitter if you want to know more.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

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