This past weekend, as a kind of final hurrah before my roommates and I moved out of our apartment, we threw an all-day house show to celebrate the run we’ve had putting on music in our house.
Since winter break of last year, we’ve been hosting low-key shows (despite how tiny our house is) and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. A surprising amount of people have turned out each time, and everyone was incredibly respectful of our house. The only damage to the property throughout our whole run was caused by me, when I accidentally jerked the ceiling lamp’s cord out while trying to make a strobe effect.
The thing everyone kept telling me when they came to our shows is how Boulder needs more parties like this. In a town primarily dominated by families and frat-style ragers, there isn’t much room for experimental art to find a welcoming community.
It’s a bizarre but very real problem with Boulder. As much as the town prides itself on its liberal attitude and “open-minded” lifestyle, there are precious few outlets for truly controversial and confrontational art. Previous live music establishments, such as Astroland, have been seemingly shut down due to noise complaints (although the city claimed building code violations), and venues that have risen in Astroland’s wake have had to live under the constant fear of being shut down by the police.
It’s that very lack of creative outlets however that made these house shows such left-field experiences. We built a certain circle of friends and artists who made up the primary lineup from show to show, but every show would yield new collaborations and new opportunities for anything-goes experimentation. With no expectations set, as far as headliners or anything (all of our shows were, of course, free to all who attended), everyone was free to do whatever the hell they wanted.
And the truth is that Boulder is home to some profoundly talented artists. If Boulder were more open minded about the concept of an experimental music scene, it would find a profound host of artists living right in its backyard.
As it is though, Boulder’s scene is still very much underground. The main reason we were able to keep throwing shows at our house is because we live on the Hill, where loud parties are pretty much the norm. But, instead of basing a party on who can blackout drunk the hardest, our shows were celebrations of the possibilities of live music, and the necessity of having a community for people to just try new shit.
Like I said – our house was the tiniest, most impossible-seeming place to host a show, and yet every one we had was bigger than the last. If you ever find yourself craving a larger artistic community in Boulder, just use what you have at your disposal to help foster that community. It’s the only way it’ll grow.
Sam Goldner’s Sound Evidence appears every Friday in the Colorado Daily.