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Some of Gary Shapiro's favorite Colorado music venues that aren't Red Rocks

9NEWS Morning Show Anchor Gary Shapiro loves live music. This week, he's highlighting some of Colorado's smaller venues.

DENVER — With the Mission Ballroom set to open on Aug. 7, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take people to some of my favorite music venues. 

Just about everyone knows about the big ones: Red Rocks, the Pepsi Center, Fiddler's Green, and the 1st Bank Center. But, there are others that have been around a long time, and have hosted some of the nation's top artists as well as fabulous local musicians. Here are just a few that I really enjoy.

Starting on Sunday morning and throughout the week, Gary Shapiro is giving us a video tour of his favorite Colorado concert venues. Tune into 9NEWS Mornings for a behind-the-scenes look at his favorite places to hear music! 

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in the Five Points neighborhood is not only a great room for music, but it's a step back into Denver's musical past.

During the 1930s, some of the greatest African American jazz artists performed there, people like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. The 1960s brought names like Ray Charles, Ike and Tina Turner, and James Brown. 

Credit: Mallory Davis, KUSA

The venue has had many names over the years, including the Cotton Club and Casino Cabaret. It's been Cervantes since 2003 and has continued bringing national and local musicians to its iconic ballroom. 

Scott Morrill, one of the owners, says they try to offer a variety of acts from jam bands and EDM to bluegrass and hop hop. He says they've improved the stage and the sound, but the bones of the building are still original. Morrill says it's a great feeling to continue the tradition and be a part of the historic neighborhood. 

Larimer Lounge

If you're walking down Larimer Street in RiNo, you might not even notice one of the most popular venues in Denver. 

The Larimer Lounge has been a staple in the neighborhood since 2002 -- before it was cool. 

You might have heard of some of the bands that have played there over the years. The Canadian group Arcade Fire played Larimer Lounge before becoming one of the most popular bands of the 2,000s, filled the Pepsi Center and performed all over the world. 

Credit: 9NEWS

In 2004, the Killers played the room right before their SNL performance and Grammy-winning act Portugal the Man has also filled the room. 

Yes, the venue has had its share of famous musicians, but it's also the perfect place for up and coming musicians from Colorado and around the country. It's a chance to get in front of fans in a very intimate setting. And that's how a tiny music venue survives and thrives for 17 years.

Herman's Hideaway

One of my all-time favorite places since moving to Colorado in 1983, has been Herman's Hideaway

The iconic south Broadway venue was THE place to see music in the 80s and 90s, and continues to feature great music almost every night. 

It started as a beer and shot bar owned by Herman Roth. Eventually, his son Allan, who had been booking music into Skunk Creek Inn in Boulder, started bringing music into Herman's. Everybody who was anybody seemed to play there, including Phish, Dave Matthews, and Widespread Panic. 

Credit: Gary Shapiro, KUSA

Big Head Todd and the Monsters were a New Year's Eve staple. Chris Daniels and the Kings, the Subdudes, the Railbenders and so many others made the bar their home. Earlier this year, Allan Roth passed away, and now his son Mike runs the place. He says it's often a challenge.

As one of the few independent venues left in Denver, he has to compete for music with corporate giants LiveNation and AEG. But Mike says they have found their niche, and continue to bring in national acts as well as local musicians. He promises to keep doing what they do best to honor his dad. 

The goal? Making sure the music keeps flowing from his grandpa's shot and beer bar on South Broadway.

Honorable mentions

There are lots of other wonderful places in Denver that I love to listen to music. Those are: The Fillmore, Summit Music Hall, Marquis Theater, Ogden, Bluebird, Globe Hall, Lost Lake, Gothic, Hi Dive, Oriental Theater, and many others. 

Denver ranks in the top five markets in the country for ticket sales to hear music. People here love live music, and lucky for us it's thriving.

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