Indie As Fuck – How an Unconventional Club Night Called Lipgloss Became America’s Longest Running Underground Dance Party

When Tyler Jacobson and Michael Trundle first met at Paris on the Platte, Denver’s goth cafe, they spent hours exalting music and ridiculing the world around them. It only made sense that they would become DJs and that their first project together, Lipgloss, was a vibrant misfit in the Denver club scene. Naming it after a Pulp song and founding it under the moniker the Denver 3–Tyler, Michael, and their dapper friend Tim Cook–Lipgloss’ raison d’être was about what it is not almost as much as what it is

“If music is both good enough to dance to and typically shunned by run-of-the-mill clubs,” reads their manifesto, “it’s fair game for the dance-floor; on any given night one can expect indie-rock, brit-pop, soul, sixties, seventies and eighties, dance-rock and electro, and just plain rock & roll.”

This effervescent dance party, brimming with glittery scene girls and skinny waif boys and trans women and a rainbow of humanity, was a hip-shaking success. Over twenty years, the underground party became the unofficial welcome to Denver’s counterculture. It drew crowds that rivaled club nights in L.A., New York, and San Francisco. It attracted guest DJs like Peter Hook of Joy Division/New Order, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, Miike Snow, Andy Rourke & Mike Joyce of The Smiths, Cut Copy, Daniel Ash of Bauhaus/Love & Rockets/Tones On Tail, and many more.

But just as Lipgloss rose to snatch numerous alt-weekly awards and gain coverage in cool kid mags like Spin, Under the Radar and Magnet, the turmoil began behind the scenes. To be sure, Lipgloss’s story is about how the dance night transformed Denver culture, and all the mini-stories bubbling up from the stage to the dance floor to the bar and even in the bathroom, with its legendary attendants. It’s also a story about the complex relationship between the artists behind the turntables. It’s a story about music as a way to be heard, a way to be loved, a way to consecrate our individuality, a way to worship in a godless world. Lipgloss, the Book will be penned by longtime scene girl and writer of Denver culture, Erin K. Barnes, and is slated for release at their 20th Anniversary in July of 2021. For more info, visit www.Lipglossbook.com.

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