What would you say if someone invited you to a show in some random house in Denver? If they told you that you should probably bring your own toilet paper and sanitary wipes? If there were at least 13 people actually living inside of this music venue? Well I would hope that you would say yes, because quite a few of my favorite shows of all time ended up being in a grungy, run-down house in the middle of this burgeoning city!
In 2011, a group of musically inclined friends from Elizabeth, Colorado, decided to move to Denver to create their own music venue—mainly for their own bands. So on the corner of 29th and California, on the outskirts of Denver in an area locally known as Five Points, sat an oddly built seven bedroom house….perfect!!
Although the Mouth House is no longer, the depth of love I have for this house and its former occupants moved me to include it in our Carpe Adventure section. Oh man, what an adventure it was!! The only way I can really describe it is through pictures. From the moment I set foot on the threshold, I became the official unofficial photographer. I knew most of the bandmates from before, anyway, and the ones I didn’t, soon came to accept and love me as much as my Hooligans. In fact, Pat, one of the founders of the Mouth House—and the subsequent Mouth Bomb Records that came forth—started personally requesting my presence, because I took “hott pictures of him.”
Let me paint the picture, this looming three-story disheveled leviathan of a house looks like it came directly out of a scary movie, like Amityville Horror or Texas Chainsaw Massacre; except it is located in the heart of a downtown suburb, across from a school. A black fence surrounds the house, and you enter through the side gate in which to reach the “main door” located in the backyard. Up three janky concrete steps, you enter the mudroom, where some member of the household normally sat to beg you for donations. It was definitely for a good cause though, and they didn’t ask for much, so even I—practically a member of the house—felt compelled to donate what I could. From the mudroom into the kitchen, where the evidence of the house’s previous life as a special needs home is most prevalent, seeing as the cabinets were set way up by the ceiling—only reachable by ladder, I swear. Most of the occupants being men of the six-foot and above variety, I found it comical that they couldn’t reach them either. From the kitchen, you can reach most of the areas of the house, including the access to the basement. First of all….AAAHHH!! That place was scary. The wooden steps were steep, and went straight down into a dirt floor. My first night there, I believe I incidentally started the rumor that this is where they hid the bodies…..I will not tell you the rest, because it is morbidly unpleasant, hahaha!
Back upstairs in the kitchen, you can enter the “dining room.” The first time I walked into this room, it was where they had the bands set up. Later, it became the audience section, while the living room—connected by an open arch—became the stage. Off of the dining room lies the main bathroom, and access to a couple of the bedrooms—which were heavily guarded while there were shows. I mean, why wouldn’t you keep them locked up? People still have to live here, haha! From the living room, there is another side door that is primarily used as a loading dock area for the bands to bring in their gear. Through another doorway is a hallway, which leads to the original front door. This one is rarely used during shows, seeing as the hallway is used for backup storage space for equipment. To the left of the door is the main set of stairs which leads you to the second floor. At the top are most of the bedrooms—surprisingly, I have only ever been in one—and further down sits the second bathroom. A cherished space for most of the original Mouth Housers, seeing as the main bathroom was always so busy. I will never forget, however, the night of the first Halloween celebration, when, after I finished my business, I randomly peeked at the bath tub—lo and behold there was an alligator in it! Aaahh!!
Beyond the bathroom was the “game room,” later to be turned into a wall-less bedroom. Also, on nights when there were several “stages” set up, this room also became a stage. One of my favorite features of this room was the window—it overlooked the backyard. I frequently traversed up to that window after a set, because as soon as the music stopped, everyone rushed outside to catch some fresh air! That many bodies shoved into one space generates a lot of heat! So I rushed up to take a picture of the crowd in the yard.
Beside the window were the stairs to the third floor—what most would assume to be an attic. Not these guys though! There were several bedrooms up here, as well as their make-shift studio. Mouth Bomb Records was essentially born in this attic!
Heading back downstairs toward the “game room” and taking your immediate left would lead you to the back stairs—the weirdest stairs I have ever been on! It was curved, oddly mind you, and the steps were too tall. The handrail fell off long ago, and they were so steep and twisted, that I am honestly surprised that there weren’t any major accidents! Although, plenty, including me, fell down those stairs at least once! This stairway was a particular favorite of mine, because as the members of the house blossomed and expanded, so did the whole house. Artwork covered the walls, and this stairway was absolutely no exception! It was literally beautiful! Traveling artists covered the entire area with melty, trippy, random beauty! I loved it.
Mouth House became a legend. Closing down, due to circumstances beyond their control, broke a lot of hearts, haha! And I know that Halloween will never be the same! Although I still see the members of the household, and still get to see the various traveling bands that had come in and out, I miss that house! Situations like these only come around once in a lifetime, and I am so proud, amazed, and honored to have been a part of it!
So we have to settle now, for the annual Festibowl, held in Denver and run by my buddy Pat, the founder of Mouth Bomb Records. In fact, there is recent buzz surrounding Mouth Bomb Records, as Westword just wrote an article on them. I would definitely suggest checking them out! If you love music, if you love the gritty realness and the Woodstock vibe of so many bodies pressed together to really enjoy the music, if you want to support local music, or become involved in it—check out these guys! Mouth Bomb Records on Facebook, is a great place to start! And if you want to see the multitude of pictures not included in this article, go check out my FB! You will also see the continuation of the Festibowls and other shows that spotlight these amazing people!
Some great bands to look out for: Tell Me About Bruce Banner, King Guy, Vampirates, Red vs. Black, Tomorrow’s Paramount, Parafunk, Cosmic Sound Child and Ha Ha Hooligans (both are broken up, but they are still amazing!), TripLip, SpeedWolf, DJ Thumper, DeadHand, Solterra, Blind Man Deaf Boy, Little Fyodor, Fiction is Fun, Third Seven, and my personal favorite Facial—just to name a few!