In an age when Animal Collective play tri-level super-clubs like Terminal 5, and generic venues featuring bad beer and 18-and-over door policies are the norm, more and more music fans are willing to trek out to the middle of nowhere for the intimacy and authenticity that comes with seeing a band play in someone's living room. Enter the return of the house show. Though not a particularly new phenomenon, house shows -- that is, all-ages concerts held in houses inhabited by groups of like-minded kids who don't mind wading through beer cans and cable wire on their way to the bathroom -- are having something of a renaissance.
Thanks to several factors -- the rise of the Internet as a band networking tool; an increase in the sheer number of bands out there and people who want to go see them; and a general dissatisfaction with the current, generic state of the concert venue -- there's the sense that these generally dilapidated houses, located in less than desirable parts of town, are all part of one big interconnected DIY community, as well as the larger music scene as a whole. It's not uncommon, say, for a band playing a show at the Bowery Ballroom one night to play a less publicized, more ragtag gig at Silent Barn in Ridgewood, Queens, the next. "It's all about these kids taking things into their own hands," explains Abby Banks, author of Punk House (Abrams Image). "And I think there's this feeling of mischief that comes with these makeshift spaces that bands are drawn to."
Curious to know what really goes on in these dwellings, we sniffed out a few, and in keeping with the DIY spirit of things, let the folks who reside in them speak for themselves.
All pictures from "Ladies Night" at Vermont House, May 23, 2009, Los Angeles.