Do It Yourself, With A Little Help
By Evan Atkinson and Reilly Finnegan
there are three ingredients to every college music scene: a house, a band and a community
The Nude Party, Luke Combs, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Eric Church and Old Crow Medicine Show are familiar names you may have heard of in the music world and although their genres differ, they have one thing in common: they all got their start playing at venues and house shows around Boone.
House shows have been around for decades and serve as popular venues for beginner musicians and bands because of their inclusivity and intimacy, as well as their party atmosphere.
Bars and clubs may offer musicians a more structured and planned show, but the public usually has to pay an expensive cover that does not always reflect in the band’s revenue for the night.
Mickey Furr tests out his "Bumble Buzz" guitar pedal as guests file in.
At house shows, the door money is generally cheaper for the audience and it is split between the people who planned the event, such as the person who booked the show, the people who live at the venue and the band members. House shows often attract larger crowds because the shows are open to people of all ages, as opposed to bars and clubs, which may only be open to 21-year-olds and older.
In Boone in particular, house shows play a large role in the music scene and are often referred to as do-it-yourself operations. Fifty-200 sweaty people dancing around crammed into someone’s dark basement is a big part of the culture in Boone.
House shows not only serve as a form of entertainment for the audience, but also as a platform for the band to express itself, gain recognition and also make a little money.
On April 13, five bands played at house show venue called The Womb located outside of Boone in a small town called Meat Camp. These bands were Gozen, Self Help, Tired Frontier, Rat Punch and KrockPot.
"I also think it’s a lot more personal being at a house...you’re around people’s rooms and they live here, so you’re kind of sharing the space with people. It feels a lot more communal than a venue i guess because it’s people giving up their space to let people come and be in their space.”
- Cody hudgins
Pre - Show
Mickey Furr of Gozen begins his set on guitar as a few members of Self-Help look on.
Gozen is a two-man noise rock band consisting of Mickey Furr playing the drums and Paul Matney playing the keyboard. Furr said the April 13 show was Gozen’s first performance and despite “messing up a couple of times,” the show went well and he received a lot of useful feedback from the audience.
Furr said he is friends with a lot of people in the do-it-yourself scene in Boone, but he had not contributed to the scene until this show. The inspiration of seeing other people participate in the scene and have fun doing it, Furr said, was what inspired him to form Gozen and get more involved. Furr said house shows are to “show off the local talent” and “for everybody to understand a piece of Boone.”
The bands pack up all their gear, decide what cars to take, arrive at the venue and set up.
"The day of, we buy toilet paper, set up equipment and figure out who is running the door."
The people at the house talk to the bands about back-line, drum kits and amps. They start to clean up the basement area.
Time for more band practice.
"This is when we actually make the Facebook page because we're usually unorganized."
The bands practice and come up with a list of songs to play.
The bands meet up and have a conversation about logistics to see if they have any hang-ups or issues. In the case of this show, Self-Help needed a fill-in drummer.
Promote the show.
"We make a Facebook page if we're really organized."
Rachel, the booking agent, gets a message from a touring band and looks for local venues and acts to set up a show.
“There’s kind of like a karma effect, i guess, where if you’re ever playing an out-of-town show, then other bands will help you out and help people come so you can have a good show.”
-david murray of Self-help
Rachel Friedman helps book bands at house venues in Boone and was in charge of booking the April 13 show. Friedman said they started the process of booking by contacting Tired Frontier, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based band, in early March. Friedman said the band was eager to perform in Boone and they allowed the band to choose what other bands would be on the bill with them the night the band performed.
Friedman said the DIY scene in Boone raised them and they enjoy seeing people their age or younger doing something so creative and being able to have a part in that since they don’t own an instrument or have a band.
Friedman said the Boone band scene is “small, but very heartwarming.”
“Everyone’s very supportive,” Friedman continued. “I mean, we have nothing better to do in this town than go to shows, so when we’re all this creative, why not?”
Dylan Taylor and Cody Hudgins are two out of the five people who live at The Womb, which has become a well-known house that hosts shows in the Boone area. Taylor and Hudgins are in bands themselves and highlighted a few differences between playing at professional venues and house shows.
“I feel like [house shows] offer an alternative to just parties in general; it kind of still is one,” Taylor said. “It’s a different crowd, a different brand of people…I guess the difference is that more students come to this sort of thing.”
“I think house shows help find the medium between going to a venue versus going to a party. You can go to both at a house show…it’s kind of like the best of both worlds,” Hudgins said.
David Murray rocks out during Self-help's set on April 13.
Edward Rojas focuses on the notes he's playing for the set.