On my way to the show, I tried to focus on my weekly readings. During my undergraduate experience, I got the bulk of my assignments done on public transportation. I liked the anonymity of the bus; the soft, indiscernible sounds of strangers talking; the sway of the wheels. But between my undergraduate years and the Perfume V, Alien Boy, and Lose the Tude show I attended last Tuesday, the world has become more distracting. Texts from home buzzed in my pocket, and my glasses kept slipping from my nose. But mostly – I was nervous. I was traveling to my first house show in Columbus (hosted by Organon Arcade), and I was alone. Is DIY the same everywhere? I didn’t know.
I slipped into Columbus’ music scene with little splash. Unlike the shows I had been attending in The Bay Area, my previous (and future!) home, Columbus’ events left little chance of running into an old crush, an ex friend, or my therapist. And it was easy to find out where and when things were happening – new shows, showcases, and art events have been popping up on my Facebook feed ever since I touched down here.
It’s easy to find music events in Columbus because, frankly, there are a lot of music events happening here. And though Columbus’ DIY spaces – like their counterparts across the country – have been hit by increased attention and zoning restrictions in the last year, the scene continues to thrive.
On Tuesday, I made my way into a basement I had never been in before, to see a show hosted by people I had never met. But by the end of the night, I decided that it didn’t really matter who I did or didn’t know; house shows are fun no matter your connection to the home. It’s fun to see the bands try new things, fun to see the in-house sound set-up, fun to watch singers and guitarists run wherever they felt like as they played. And there were many things, beyond the music, that felt familiar – the house cat I petted when I was feeling nervous, the conversations about astrology, the La Croix art I spotted in the kitchen, the house plants, and the carabiners everyone wore.
Though the line-up was dominated by variations of pop and punk, the performers varied in other, meaningful ways. Alien Boy and Perfume V, both touring from Portland, Oregon, have been playing together and recording music for about three years. In contrast, Lose the Tude, described on the event page as “a bunch of OLD men from here who still know how to rip as long as the show is over by 10,” have been making music since 2007. All three bands showed up with gusto. Alien Boy and Perfume V put on crashing musical performances, the vocals of Sonia Weber and Max Pogue – who both play in each others’ bands – complicated by frantic drum sequences and gritty guitar sounds.
Long-time locals Lose the Tude, whose latest album came out in March of this year, put on an enthusiastic hardcore performance. Singer Ryan J. Eilbeck nearly clocked me in the face several times during the set, which, in my opinion, is a pretty good indicator of a fun show. The band’s fervent dance moves – Eilbeck stopped the show, at one point, to clear the area in front of him by circling his hips in exaggerated motions – added to their relentless musical drive. They looked like a band that was having fun playing music together. And the joy of creation – of doing the work – is something to look for, whether in an unknown basement or a sold-out arena.