Why we need house shows
The house show used to be something you could count on in Denver with some regularity. But in the last two or three years, such things have dwindled, becoming virtually nonexistent. What makes going to these kinds of shows special in a way that can't be duplicated at a venue proper is that you really are entering someone's living space, which brings with it a special level of informality and intimacy.
Tom Murphy Protomartyr
Over the weekend, the house show lived in Denver, featuring local power-pop bands American Culture and Ned Garthe Explosion and touring post-punk-esque phenom Protomartyr. Though the latter has a great new record out on Hardly Art called Under Color of Official Right and has played shows with the likes of Pere Ubu and will perform in Europe at the same festival as Slowdive (a real treat for guitarist Greg Ahee who cites the shoegaze band as an influence), Protomartyr is traveling in a packed van and sleeping on floors and whatever is available in each town, turning down no good opportunities to play a show.
Outside the house (a relatively new host for shows), the conversation was light and the company was good -- it just felt like you were going to a place where friends, old and new, were coming together to be a part of something.
Tom Murphy American Culture
To get to the basement, you had to walk through the house. You ran into welcoming people. There weren't a lot of airs. On the way down the stairs there was a friendly sign telling you to watch your head. Padded water pipes and a double-padded ceiling and side walls to muffled the sound. Everywhere there were reminders that you were seeing something real and not sanitized.
The sound was on the raw side, but it worked -- the P.A. could push the vocals enough to compete with amps and drums. Guitarist Michael Stein didn't play with American Culture this night, and it was the final show featuring drummer Logan Corcoran, who is moving on to Portland, Oregon to play with a member of Akron//Family. Toward the end of the set, former Bad Weather California guitarist Tyler Ludwick, wearing a blond wig, stood in for Stein and brought his inimitable guitar wizardry to the proceedings. And for their part, Chris Adolf and Lucas Johannes brought their usual energy and passion in playing their Dinosaur Jr-esque power pop.