If you're familiar with the Denver metro area, then you are also likely to have heard of Aurora.
Aurora is the east side suburb of Denver and, to be honest, the butt of every location joke told by Denver urbanites. It's not a particularly nice place. Most of us try to avoid going there. Some of us attempt to pretend it doesn't exist.
So, when the electro-industrial-synthpop band, Synapse, announced they'd be playing a show at Whispers in Aurora, there were a whole lot of us who were thinking wait...what? Aurora?! Are you kidding? No. They were not, in fact, kidding.
And had this been any old band, I would not have even thought of going out there. But Synapse isn't just any band. This is the project of Peej's own Mr. S, Aggro Ginger, and Hippie Ginger - all friends of mine - and I happen to think they are excellent beyond a local level. So I always want to show my support for them whenever they have an opportunity to play live.
Now, I wasn't familiar with the venue itself but, from what I could gather from Yelp, this isn't quite the place you'd expect to see this type of band. Decidedly small, it's a neighborhood dive bar inhabited mostly by people who come for the karaoke and (allegedly) the piano bar. As you can imagine then, the clientele is typically older, working class, middle Americans looking for a relatively quiet place to nurse a cocktail.
More than one quip was made about how Whispers wasn't going to know what hit them when the Goth Invasion took place.
When Acr0nym and I arrived at about 9:30, the place was already packed, parking lot full (I'll give that to Aurora...there's always somewhere to park), and the pre-show playlist blaring. It was clear that Peej had been there awhile because she'd already made fast friends with a table full of regulars - all obviously in their mid- to late 60's. Possibly 70's. As I looked around, I noticed we hadn't completely run several of the regulars off. Two older gentlemen sat at the end of the bar practically giddy at the sight of so many young, fresh-faced, beautiful girls in corsets. I spoke to them quite a bit throughout the night.
The bartender, Anthony, was harried. Peej had warned him early, "Look. You're going to be slammed. We drink. A lot. But we're nice and we tip well. Still...you're going to be busy." They'd already had to re-stock beer and mixers...twice...by 10. Clearly, they were unprepared for us.
Before Synapse even took the stage, the bar owner pulled Mr. S and Aggro Ginger aside and asked when he could have them back. Turns out, this was the biggest crowd he'd ever had. The owner of a neighboring bar walked down from his establishment when he noticed the unusual traffic and asked them for booking information.
Most everyone was all smiles.
We kept expecting the regulars to make hasty exits once the band started to play. The table of Peej's older folk friends assured her, in fact, that the pre-show music was too loud for their liking and they'd be leaving in short order...
But they didn't. And when Synapse got up and began to play, something unexpected happened.
One of the women - age 66 by her own admission and, by all appearances, a typical grandmotherly type - got up and began to dance along with the goth crowd. Several of us cheered and clapped. She even began to pull people up out of their seats to join her. She was LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!
My two new gentlemen friends at the end of the bar were smiling and clapping and having a grand time. Most all of the regulars stayed to the bitter end. They didn't complain (at least, not that I heard) and they took the invasion in stride, buying drinks for some of us, commenting on how friendly we were...not scary at all.
Two stereotypes were broken last night. The people we descended upon learned that while we may look freaky and listen to loud music, we're actually quite friendly, polite, and pacifists. We don't want to fight. We just want to drink and lose ourselves in the music.
Meanwhile, we learned that whatever we might say about Aurora and its residents, the residents of Whispers can hang. They also taught us a little something about capturing and experiencing youth wherever you might find it.
I can't wait for Synapse to play them again.