Cue hula girls. Naw, just kidding. It’s colder than Satan’s backside.
DIY spaces have made headlines recently for not-so-positive reasons. I’ve briefly discussed my own experience within these spaces. Last Saturday night, I had the good fortune to see a show in one I hadn’t visited.
James Fauser, gentleman and scholar, invited me to a benefit show for The Island, a legal DIY space in Moline, Illinois. While I’d been aware of the venue for quite a while through frequent patrons/amazing people in general, I had yet to step inside. I chose the best time to stop in.
The Island is a bare bones venue in an old office building. The only signage posted is a slip of paper the size of a napkin taped inside a small window. Seating is limited. I think the bathroom used to be a supply closet. There is no bar or kitchen. Attendees purchase snacks and beverages from the gas station down the street and share.
The people here aren’t interested in creature comforts. As they wait for the show to begin, they’re more interested in socializing and studying the murals, paintings, and graffiti that line the walls – if anyone’s inspired, there are markers available for contributions to the décor.
There is a general theme. Wave effects in the lighting system recall the sea, and jellyfish hide among the wall art. Someone finally found a way to use twinkle light nets so they look cool instead of ridiculous.
The art and the company in this space are overshadowed only by the music. On the night of the benefit show, eclectic was the key word: stoner country, hardcore, psych – all were welcome.
Karl Shuh, Jr. of A Gang of Trees started everyone off with a stripped-down set of folk music for contemporary sensibilities. If Willie Nelson and Hank Williams III ever hang out and jam together, they probably make music like Karl.
From there, the evening’s tone essentially took a 90-degree turn because Mouthbreathe played next (see the previous post on noise for further details). I love it when lineups are like that. Chaos reigns!
It was impossible to get pictures of Behelit, one of two hardcore bands that played. It’s a blast to watch their lead singer; he throws himself into the crowd and against his fellow musicians like he’s trying to start a human pinball league. He especially enjoys abusing his bass player, who tolerates it as a giant fluffy dog patiently allows a kitten to chew on his ears.
Mace hails from Chicago. The hardcore scene is, like so many goddamn things, a boys’ club, so it’s invigorating to see a frontwoman like Bee fucking kill it on vocals. The crowd loved it. Mace even impressed Daytrotter’s social media queen, the lovely Paige Underwood, who squee’d: “They’re amazing!”
Side note: It was a discussion with Paige at this show that inspired the previous post. We like loud noises.
Finally, The Golden Fleece got psychedelic. Possibly the best-known band to play that evening, their music had the most effective influence on the crowd. I’ve seen them before, but never in such a tight space. Folks at the Island know how to handle themselves, though, and they maintained the boundary between “stage” and floor despite rocking so hard the vibrations affected my photography. Time for a better camera.
The show was over by about 10:30, which was very cool – time enough to go to another show! OR home to eat an entire frozen pizza on the couch. Pick your pleasure.
In the end, the show raised $500. Five hundred smackers to help keep the lights on at The Island, which is amazing considering the most die-hard patrons seem to be broke young people – the same demographic that fully expects to have their lives irrevocably ruined over the coming months and years starting tomorrow. Fortunately, these kids seem to have each other’s backs. I look forward to further developments at The Island.