Listening to music is great, but seeing a band play live is the best. Even videos of live bands playing aren't as great as being at an actual live show. People always complain that youth have nothing to do. Youth complain that they have nothing to do. Then stop making it sooo hard to keep an all ages venue open.
I write mainly about the punk scene because that is what I'm in, but you can relate this to many other scenes as well. Venues are in the decline since probably the 90s and that goes even more so for all ages venues. Bands will find places to play, but in the scenes, such as the punk scene, they will be more splintered. Being in a band and trying to find places to play is hard enough. A show, not in the too distant past, was happening at the G Street Pub
in Davis, not the best venue but any show in Davis these days is almost a call to bring champagne out to celebrate, and the band couldn't play because the G Street Pub
found out the band members were under age. Now, I'm not faulting the G Street Pub
because they don't want to lose their license over something like that, but how messed up is it that a band who really wants to play can't even have the chance to play a show because of age? There is a serious need for all ages venues so bands like the one that got denied to play can play and people of all ages can watch them play.
So, now to the sucky news...
The Shire Road Club
5525 Auburn Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95841
(All online pages are gone.)
I've heard bad things about the management there and how bands/people were treated, but it was still a relatively new venue and things could have changed over time. The first show I went there with 7 Seconds and Youth Brigade headlining, I was frisked before I got in and intimidating guys asked me about my jacket. It was not a good first impression. The show was really good, the place had a nice sized room for people to run around in, there was a good amount of room for bands to sell their merch, it was all ages, and overall it was a good venue. It felt much better the second time I went there than the first. Another amazing show there seeing the Subhumans and MDC headline. I had a blast. Then I was planning to see a third show with the Adicts playing there and the next thing I know their MySpace page said they were closing. The next day their MySpace page didn't even exist anymore. There were people who were happy to see them go. I understand that the owner/management didn't understand how to treat people, especially punks and the punk scene. This could have been fixed if they had changed some of their policies and treated bands better. To me, the place was great and should have made some changes to make the venue a continued place to have all ages shows. A very short lived place. Hopefully, people will learn from it and another all ages venue might give it a go with better results.
A most fantastic venue. Great people. Great shows. Great place. All ages. I can't say enough great things about this place and the people who ran it. It was done by people who love music, who get the punk scene, and who make life just that much better. They've been under the threat of being closed down for some time. Now it is official. RIP
Their rent is going up a HUUUUGE amount starting July 2010. Their rent is almost doubling. From $4,300 per month to almost $7,000 per month. They need to raise an EXTRA $31,000 per year just to cover this increase.
924 Gilman Street Project located in Berkeley was started by Maximum Rocknroll back in 1986. Maximum Rocknroll decided to pull out of the project, but volunteers decided it was too important to let an all ages independent nonprofit volunteer run venue disappear. It prides itself on no drugs, no alcohol, and no violence. It also will not book or support bands that are racist, misogynistic, anti-homosexual, or on a major-label.
924 Gilman Street is now in need of help. People need to go out to a show now and then and buy some of their merch. They have a DVD out, a book, a new shirt, and a tote bag plus all of these items are cheap. They are not even trying to rip you off when they need extra money to stay afloat. They live by their standards. If you support real organizations that support real people and keep it real then 924 Gilman Street is the real deal. Don't let them disappear like so many other places.
So, next time you hear about a real all ages venue that is trying to make a difference then go give it some support. The punk scene is broken into pieces. It can be so much better if you lend some support.