PUNK NOT DEAD IN NORTHERN COLORADO

Photo By : Surreal Renditions Photography

by Avalon Clare

When Surfside 7 reopens in its Linden Street location, it won’t be the place Marlena Niforos grew up with. “I couldn’t walk into Surfside without being glared at as a teenager,” said Niforos, now Surfide’s bar manager. “You could also smoke in there back then, so it’s been through a ton of changes!”

When Niforos was a teenage punk 10 years ago, there was plenty to complain about. Northern Colorado’s live music scene was still finding its legs, so teens spent many nights crammed in the backseat of a car for the hour-long drive to Denver venues. Touring bands only occasionally graced the Aggie or Starlight theaters, and when they did they attracted scores of teenagers from as far as Wyoming, Loveland, and Greeley.

Punk music was a precious commodity, and only Surfside seemed to keep it on the menu. Obviously teen punks couldn’t drink there, but they could eat pizza in the afternoons and feel like a part of something larger. So when Surfside closed its College Avenue location this spring, it felt to many longtime locals like the punk scene itself had been shuttered.

But Fort Collins’ live music offerings have grown up in the last 10 years. Just this summer the Aggie changed ownership, the Downtown Artery opened their music venue/recording studio/record label, and Cohere Bandwidth launched their rehearsal space. The town has also seen the birth of venues in Illegal Pete’s and The Whisk(e)y in the past year.

“Colorado’s biggest strength is its support for their locals and willingness to check out new artists if they like the venue,” said Brett Delaney, singer of the band Poor Me. “As far as venues go, there seems to be a new venue popping up every few months, and they seem to bill throughout the week. Honestly, that’s a dedication to live entertainment that isn’t found in most of the places we’ve toured.”

With all these new venues, are there enough bands? Fort Collins band American Blackout said, “[The scene is] not as prevalent as it used to be, but there’s still so many great bands around Northern Colorado that it won’t be long until [it] explodes again.” When asked what they’d like to see more of in the music scene here they added, “More venues putting on punk shows!  We frequently play in Denver because that’s where most of the shows are.”

“One thing that I appreciate about the Fort Collins scene is that it’s pretty tightly-knit. We all know each other, and as long as your band doesn’t suck (or even if it does) people will end up at your show,” said Niforos. One thing is certain, when Surfside 7 reopens on the newly-bustling Linden Street, it won’t be the same as it was on College Avenue for those 15 years. It will, however, remain a hub of the Northern Colorado Punk scene, and a great place for a teenager to grab an afternoon slice of pizza.

Follow Surfside 7  on Facebook for Details.

Avalon Clare is an

illustrator, DJ, feminist, and pop culture fairy. She is a resident artist at the Downtown Artery and a Colorado native. Social media makes her heart sparkle. Follow her at @UnicorneClare.