DENVER — Love him or hate him, there’s one issue on which most Coloradans can agree with Gov. John Hickenlooper: his support for local music. Where other state’s governors get their kicks at cocktail parties or the executive suite at Cowboy Stadium, Hick can frequently be spotted at venues ranging from Red Rocks to the Underground Music Showcase on Broadway. He’s also been known to sit in on banjo when the mood takes him.
Perhaps returning the favor, a veritable mixtape of Colorado bands gathered at the Ogden Theatre Tuesday night to celebrate Hickenlooper’s second inauguration. Here’s a partial list of the talent (much of it unannounced) that took the stage: The Lumineers, The String Cheese Incident, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Issac Slade of The Fray (dueting with his wife Anna), Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Hazel Miller.
Again, no exclusive ballroom galas for Hick — tickets to the concert were available to the public, and promptly sold out. The governor, along with a besuited platoon of staffers and supporters, were right there in the pit, being jostled by dancing fans along with the rest of the crowd.
No doubt, there are those who would find the scene undignified; unbecoming of the man who holds Colorado’s highest office. But for others, it was another sign of Hickenlooper’s approachability and Denver’s increasingly artist-friendly atmosphere.
They see the governor as a guy you could have a beer with — in this case, literally.
Photos by Matt Farley