New DIY venue is something Durango’s scene sorely needs

by DGO Web Administrator

A town with a good music scene needs the following: Bands of all genres. A college with some people trained in jazz and classical. Some folk and bluegrass pickers, some blues players, hip-hop lovers, and a good amount of every branch from the tree of “rock” including punk, metal, death, glam or old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll.

You’ll also need some choice venues, and a non-traditional space willing to host local and touring bands with low covers offering all-ages shows.

The American hardcore movement of the early 1980s was built on people taking the music business into their own hands, including recording and releasing albums on small budgets, and relying on friends and fans to make posters and album art, or help build touring routes from city to city. Within those scenes there have always been some off-the-grid venues; music and venues build community, and some venues serve as a vital component to having a musical community that will flourish. Great musical movements have always started with a do-it-yourself culture and community, and it’s arguable that a community that embraces DIY culture will do more for its makers than airplay or print hype.

Locals Spencer Anderson and Alex Vick are looking to add a non-traditional venue to Durango, a venue focusing more on art and music than alcohol sales. They’ve been hosting house concerts at “the Everynight,” the nickname of a residence in proximity to the Everyday convenience store. Those shows have featured local and touring bands; some established, some up and coming. Reception has been great, giving birth to the idea to form an established facility.

“We started having house shows at the Everynight, which led to this idea of ‘let’s create a space where people can create, and we can get bands to come through’ because the response has been phenomenal,” said Anderson. “There has been an amazing turnout at every house show, making more than enough money to support the traveling bands. With where Durango is located, we’re practically built for this kind of space.”

A series of house concerts helped fund the early overhead costs for “Sweet 101,” a forthcoming venue and art space located in the alley at 832 Main Ave. It will be an art-first DIY facility, serving as a necessary outlet for bands ignored by venues, bands that know this community has music lovers who support art for the sake of supporting art. Weird folk, avant jazz and indie rock, punk, retro-gothabilly and then some, are on the menu where the music is original.

“What we’re trying to do is create a space that everyone can be involved with. Everyone is involved with booking shows, working the door or whatever is manageable, in order to support everyone that has this same idea of music. It isn’t necessarily punk or metal, or anything too heavy, but it’s do-it-yourself,” said Vick. “We want to solidify our stance in the community and have a name backing it and a space that will be open to more than what a house can be. If we can legitimize what we’re trying to do, the energy, the passion and the vision remains the same.”

Sweet 101 will officially open with a show by rock band Chung Antique on Nov. 3.

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected].


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