When big business comes along and destroys your whole city’s live music scene, house shows become the easiest way to fill the void. They become a beacon of light; a surefire way of exploring underground music in a purist DIY manner, without any involvement from venues, promoters or money! We decided to put house shows under the microscope.
There are two things that seem to remain constant if you spent your teenage years pissing off your parents by running off to punk shows or rigorously training those neck muscles for more effective windmilling. These two things are a long burning passion for house shows combined with basically being your mates’ band’s biggest fan.
My friends and I started going to house shows not long after we started going to house parties, but once you hit the age of being able to drive overnight on excursions to neighbouring cities without being exiled by your parents, you will step up your regularity. The experience of the raw energy and camaraderie you get from a house show is like the first punk show you ever went to, you realise it’s a house party on steroids and that people sat in a kitchen looking awkwardly into their drinks doesn’t hold up.
When somebody decides to have bands play their living room/kitchen/basement/garage you know that they’ve basically given permission for their house to get wrecked (or that they’re the messiah, pick one!). People will be standing on literally anything with elevation! Fridges, fireplaces, counter-tops; you name it! There will be footprints on the ceiling, footprints on tables, footprints on faces revealing careless toothy smiles.
It’s things like this that make a house show what it is and always has been, at it’s core – a coming-of-age practice. Whether it’s playing music to your friends or hearing it from strangers, it’s the rawest form of music with no involvement from money hungry promoters or venue owners. There are no dickhead bouncers and the only exchange of money is bands selling merchandise out of an empty kitchen cupboard or the coin hat that gets passed around the room to go towards petrol.
The UK underground music scene circa 2017 is in very good place right now with tons of new bands coming out of the woodwork, messing with fresh sounds and ideas. This resurgence has in effect created a revival of the house show with cities such as Leeds, Brighton and Cardiff putting on lots of interesting varied house shows.
You should be doing it too, have a chat with your housemates/parents (or don’t!) and start something special, something eternal.
Words: Tom Kirby