Hodi’s Half Note: Where Musicians Grow Up

by Rebecca LaPole

Back when Hodi’s Half Note was the Starlite, up-and-coming Colorado-based acts like The Motet and Listen graced their stage. Now, Listen alums Derek Vincent Smith of Pretty Lights, EDM stand-out Michal Menert, and Cory Eberhard, drummer of the local reggae band, Dubskin, have all outgrown the cozy venue they grew up in years ago.

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These days, Hodi’s packs the house with national shows like Ween, Kyle Hollingsworth of String Cheese, Break Science, Lyrics Born, and Great American Taxi featuring Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon. Owner Dan Mladenik is always looking for local bands that can draw a good crowd also. For bands hoping to book a show at Hodi’s, Dan shares insight: “If you want an opening slot, if you can get 20 friends to come see you and possibly stay for the headliner, that works pretty well. I look for a lot of passion, enthusiasm, and work ethic from a band.” These elements will definitely be on tap on November 20 when Hodi’s hosts The Yawpers CD Release show. The band, recently signed to Bloodshot Records, is known for their raucous shows and ability to draw an energetic crowd.

Hodi’s changed names and ownership from the Starlite about eight years ago, where Dan started out as a bartender, then soon became a co-owner, and has held sole ownership for the last three years. Since then, he has invested in some key renovations: “This summer I put money into the sound system, installed a brand new roof, new heat & A/C, and had various cosmetic work and repairs done.”

His dedication to the space shows he cares about the customer’s experience. Dan said, “We have regulars that come for shows a lot; it has that bar feel where you can hang out and you’ll know people here. We have an intimate vibe and setting, five TV’s if you want to watch football and catch a show, pool tables and arcade games. That sets us apart from other places where you just go solely to see the band.”

Hodi’s also offers some unique nights to keep folks coming back like Mug Night Monday, featuring their $5 17 oz. glow-in-the-dark mugs and great beer specials. Mondays also feature comedy at 7 PM, followed by a funk jam at 10 PM. “On Tuesdays we have EDM night (free for 21+) with eight different local DJ’s spinning.”

Obviously bands are still the biggest draw for people to visit Hodi’s, and Dan loves watching the acts grow up there. “The Motet started here and wouldn’t even sell out not that many years ago. Papadosio would do free shows here, Trampled By Turtles sold out two nights here and now sell out Red Rocks. It’s nice when members of the bands come back to their roots and sell out Hodi’s again. I’d like for that to happen a lot more often.”

Here’s hoping that any of those members from Listen are reading and will bring their talent back home to the comfy interior of Hodi’s.