Friday, November 12, 2010

Basement Show Blog

I didn't have much to write about today, so I decided to share a blog that I've been reading lately. The blog is called Please Don't Hang Out In Front Of The House.

PDHOIFOTH is a blog devoted to pictures, stories, poems, etc., about basement shows. The blog was initially inspired by a contest by Red Bull where independent bands could submit songs, with 4 winning bands being chosen to play a basement show in New Brunswick, NJ, a city which is legendary for their basement shows. One band from that would then be chosen to open for the band Thursday.

The contest caught the attention of basement show veteran Aaron Scott, formerly of the bands Marathon and De La Hoya, currently of Attica! Attica! With a firm understanding of the meaning and importance of basement shows, Aaron was disgusted by a corporation's attempts to subvert the legacy. His response was to create PDHOIFOTH. The blog consists of fan-submitted stories, poems and pictures about what basement shows mean to them. The blog is also getting ready to release 2 volumes of a free compilation of fan-submitted songs.

Red Bull eventually pulled out of the basement show part of the contest and moved it t a venue, citing "the sensitivity of brining (sic) more attention to the basement show scene to the local authorities" as the reason. But the blog continues, documenting the current state of basement shows. They also have a Facebook page.

In case I didn't do enough justice to the blog in my description, here is the full explanation from the Facebook page:

"Basements (and houses) are the best places to play shows. They’re the best because they are ours; we create and determine the environment without mediation from corporate parasites. Red Bull energy drink is hosting a contest where bands apply to be considered for a "real" basement show as a “tribute to the legendary New Brunswick, New Jersey underground music scene.” I cannot think of a more insincere way to pay tribute to a scene than through guerilla marketing like this, which subverts the essential freedom that basement shows represent. The reason basement shows are so legendary is because of the explicit absence of influences like corporate sponsors and A&R reps. We play basement shows to share the best of ourselves without interference from those who would try to profit off us.

In celebration and sincere tribute to basement shows EVERYWHERE, and to the promoters who offer their homes for the music and the scene, I propose an artistic challenge. I don't want to sit here quietly while a global energy drink company attempts to infiltrate our space. I propose this challenge to those of you who, like me, want to respond in some creative way.

The challenge: write a song or tell a story that is your personal tribute to basement/house shows. The song/story can take any direction you want. For songs, please include a few sentences about the song. For stories, please give it a title and indicate how you want to be credited. We will master the songs for a digital-only free download comp and collect the stories as a blog. We are also accepting photos, drawings, comics, etc. All submissions should be sent to DEADLINE FOR STORIES/PHOTOS: 5 PM EST, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26. DEADLINE FOR SONGS: 5 PM EST, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2. We want to get this out as soon as possible. Time is short, but that's part of the fun!

That's not a lot of time, but part of the challenge is about urgency. If you don't feel urgently about this, that's fine. But if you do, find an afternoon in the next two weeks to write and record something, no matter the sound quality. If you're not a musician, tell your story in writing or record it. Our songs and our stories are the evidence of our legacy. I would hate to think that anyone in the future would go to a house show thinking that there were always corporate logos hanging from the ceiling."

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