Midnight Pub

Atmosphere Of A Denver Concert Hall


I don't think I fully realized just how distinctive and recognizable one of these places is before I stepped inside one. While I've long sought after the quintessential Denver architecture and style, it never really occurred to me that many of these halls are in fact some of the oldest buildings left standing, equal parts ancient and secretive, which makes their use as venues for dubstep and hipster bands all the more juxtapositional.

I noticed a few things about the one I was in last night. One of the most striking features is the ceiling, which is coated in tiles that were once a vibrant orange. Now the paint is peeling off and scatters the floor in dry little flecks, revealing beneath a kind of austere stonework masonry with flower petal decals scratched in. It cannot be understated how old this paint appears to be. The owners of the venue likely know of its decay and don't repaint it because they feel it lends the place the desired tone. I would have to agree.

The next thing you notice, as you venture further into the dimly lit catacombs, are the multitude of stickers. Everyone has left a sticker nearly everywhere. They're for bands, popsicle giveaways, political slogans, blogs- all layered on top of one another, in some places there are as many as five stickers covering each other up, left there permanently. In a century they'll be as old and withered as the ceiling paint, their adhesive fraying and their designs fading. That's a humbling prospect.

The floor downstairs is some kind of stone basement hidden behind an entrance you didn't notice your first time in but which you definitely spot on your second. It's a long flight of stairs and at the bottom there's a sizable pile of trash bags which let off a definite stench. These are, in turn, lit by a row of buzzing overhead lights which cast weird shadows across the scene. There's a bucket of fluid to the right of the jars.

Now imagine the lights upstairs, they're deliberately out-of-date, the Edison type with the amber hue and the little coil of singing yellow wire on the interior. They look like something out of a silent movie, and in all likelihood they're meant to look that way. The lighting choice of a place can, in many cases, tell you a lot about the attitude of the people who set it up, because lighting never quite replicates the real saturation of the sun. It's all marked by human intent.

Outside you're greeted by a large field of dirt and a defunct heatlamp, turned off what with it being the middle of summer. The sky overhead is grey and overcast, with no sign of rain. A large fence encircles the perimeter. You just stand there for a while, look up, and try to make out Sol's hazy outline behind the mist. It's a futile endeavor.