Dave Watts brings friends to celebrate his own birthday and a club anniversary
By Steve Graham
It’s all come full circle for Daniel Mladenik.
On Jan. 24, 2010, he celebrated his new ownership of Hodi’s Half Note with a show by Dave Watts and Friends. A decade later, to the day, the supergroup of local funk and jam players returns to Hodi’s to celebrate ten years of Hodi’s in its current incarnation.
In the past decade, Hodi’s has found its footing as a gathering place for local and touring musicians and comedians of all genres.
“I’ve had some of the sweatiest, rowdiest, most-connected, jubilant rock and roll shows of my life at Hodi’s Half Note with Patti Fiasco,” said Alysia Kraft. “When that place is thoroughly packed, the vibe is euphoric.”
Kraft plays guitar and sings in both Patti Fiasco and Whippoorwill. She said the 300-person capacity is perfect for a local band that’s building momentum.
Nick Duarte has been playing at Hodi’s with his band Post Paradise since 2009.
“Hodi’s is important for our scene because they provide a room that’s big enough you have to work to fill it, but the right size for a city like Fort Collins and bands that are growing and working on their craft,” Duarte said. “Plus, it’s just a great rock venue.”
Musicians and fans alike appreciate the intimacy of Hodi’s.
“The stage is made for the band to be close, and the crowd to be close, and everybody to be in it together,” Kraft said. “When the energy is right, that vibe can’t be replicated.”
It took some work to build up the right energy. Hodi’s was formerly the Starlight, a “punk rock, and metal party bar,” as Mladenik describes it.
In 2006, it became Hodi’s Half Note, a “hippie bar” named for a former owner’s Aunt Hodi. Mladenik started as a bouncer at Hodi’s, then bought the place with a couple of partners, mostly because he liked hanging out there.
“It was small and intimate; I just liked coming here for shows,” he said. “It was always my favorite spot.”
The new owners brought a new range of music and even comedy nights.
“You don’t pigeonhole yourself into being the punk-rock bar or the hippie bar,” Mladenik said. “It’s the music venue where you see live music no matter what it is.”
Watts said his funk band The Motet played some great shows at Hodi’s before growing into Red Rocks headliners, and the anniversary gig is partly a way of thanking the venue.
“I felt like it was a great way to give back a little by returning to Hodi’s to celebrate what
they’ve done for our music community,” Watts said.
He said he is always happy to play at Hodi’s.
“It’s a great intimate setting that captures the energy of the band and the audience,” Watts said. “The sound is always exceptional, which is one of the reasons bands always want to come back even if they’ve outgrown the size of the room.”
The anniversary coincides with birthday celebrations for both Watts and Scott Morrill, the talent buyer at Cervantes’ Masterpiece in Denver. Morrill and Watts use the excuse to stage an all-star show every year so that the same lineup will play Hodi’s on Friday and Cervante’s on Saturday.
Hodi’s 10 Year Anniversary Bash!