ALEX ULLRICH DIY MAGAZINE PROJECT
n o i t a r e n e G t x e N e h T : Y I e D c n a m r o f r e P e v i L of
an Luis Obispo has seen performances from more than 10 “Do It Yourself ” bands this year. Houses like The Crossroads act as residences most of the time, but occasionally fans will pack themselves inside to watch bands like Sea Birds and The Garden perform in the living room. The musicians come to SLO from all over the country when they are on tour, visiting old friends or simply because they ran out of gas money. They unpack guitars, bass drums, microphones and amplifiers from their cars and haul them inside. The informal atmosphere of these shows differs greatly from the concerts we are accustomed to seeing. Matt Osterholt, a recently graduated Cal Poly student, has been organizing these shows since March of 2010.
The main difference between DIY shows and shows at larger venues is that there is no separation between performers and the fans. Take, for example, Modest Mouse’s upcoming sellout performance at the Madonna Expo on April 17. Concert-goers will likely linger outside, scalping tickets or sitting on the ground, waiting to be let inside. Eventually they will enter the venue where they will wait around a little longer. Then, at the top of the hour the band will run out into the spotlight, standing above the crowd that watches them in awe for about two hours. After at least one encore the performance will be over and the band will disappear. No one will see them again until they buy tickets to another show. Now let’s compare that to a show at The Crossroads. Everyone arrives sometime between 6 and 8
“DIY shows are all about the music. Everyone’s involved because it’s everyone’s show. We’re all together on the same level.” Osterholt said.
with their $3 entrance fee and a six-pack. Some people help carry equipment and plug everything in while the rest wait for the music to begin. Eventually members of the band emerge from the crowd, pick up their instruments and begin the show. There is no spotlight, there is no stage, there is only a crowd of people standing in the living room. The band plays five or six songs, including any requests, then clears out their equipment so the next band can set up. At this point the musicians mix back in with the crowd. There is no aura of mystery surrounding the artists at a DIY show, they are just like the rest of us. Sean Beauxnersliscze is the lead singer and guitarist from Boston’s Fat History Month. Fat History Month is currently on a six week tour of the United States with another band from Boston called Pile. Both bands played in San Luis Obispo on April 8, 2013.
“The audience is part of it because we’re on the same floor as the band. The show is a lot more informal because the bands aren’t here to make money, it’s more about the music.” -Athena Fowler
Pile performing live at Crossroads in April 2013. Photo by Alex Ullrich
Fletcher Shears from The Garden performing in 2013. Photo By Alex Ullrich
Proxima Parada at Record Store Day 2013 Photo by Alex Ullrich
“We’ve mostly played in bars so far, only a couple of our shows have been in houses. I like house shows, though, because there isn’t a sound guy telling me to turn down my guitar.” Beauxnersliscze said.
There is a misconception about music fanatics and college radio DJs, that they sit around trying to talk about the bands they know that no one else has heard of. That could not be further from the truth. The huge variety of people at these shows includes young and old, metalheads, hipsters and folk aficionados.
Athena Fowler is a Cal Poly student and a longtime KCPR DJ. She has organized DIY shows in the past as well as some of the live music that has been played at the University Union at Cal Poly.
Daryl Dingman is a Cal Poly student and KCPR DJ as well.
The highly informal and sometimes chaotic nature of DIY performances is part of the reason they are so much fun for fans. The kinds of people at DIY shows are not what you would expect.
“I like coming to DIY shows because I know I won’t be judged. There doesn’t seem to be any barriers between the people here.” Dingman said.
“House shows are better because they don’t make me turn down my guitar”
Fat History Month performing at The Crossroads. Photo by Alex Ullrich