Subterranean rock

All-ages and underground music is often played in venues where the 21-and-up rules don’t apply

To some, the idea of a ’basement band“ brings them back to their prime high school years when a few buddies got together and destroyed the parents’ house and ears with their dream of being in a band. However, for college students, “basement bands” provide some of the best tunes for all ages at unbelievable prices.

Since our parents’ parents’ generation, youthful dreamers have been rocking out and paying tribute to the one thing they love, music. Well, nothing has changed. There are dozens and dozens of all-ages basement shows in Reno every year. Being stuffed in a small area, surrounded by loud music from a crappy sound system has never been so fun.

Don’t let the title “basement bands” fool you. Basement bands are often local and smaller traveling bands that play in lesser-known venues but still provide authentic sounds that can’t be matched in a studio performance.

There are many places that not only offer these bands an opportunity to rock out but also provide the public with some of the cheapest show tickets around. With ticket prices ranging from free to $15, there’s no reason not to check it out. Stoney’s Indoor Skatepark, the New Oasis and the Spacement are some of the venues in Reno and Sparks. For a more complete list go to

So what kind of music can you expect to find at one of these shows? It depends what night you show up. There is everything from metal, hardcore, acoustic, Canadian political rock, punk, tribute, and just about any other subgenre of sound you never heard of.

Not all basement band venues bring in total stranger bands. Just last year, I paid $10 to attend a Trapt show at The New Oasis. Trapt has been seen on MTV and is one of the more successful breakthrough rock bands in the last two years. Not only was I front and center and close enough to actually touch the band, but also I got to walk around and talk with members after the show. It was awesome.

“It’s cool and different to be at basement shows because you’re so close to the band, they feel like they’re just normal people up there and not some untouchable band,” said Eli Zachry, a fan of the all-ages basement shows.

Zachry saw The Vandals at the New Oasis and only paid $8 dollars.

“It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and it was definitely the cheapest,” said Zachry.

So how to keep tabs on all these basement shows? The obvious method is the Internet. For example, almost every basement band has a Myspace page that gives samples of their music, their bio, and upcoming shows. Another good local source is at This do-it-yourself Web site allows bands to add their shows to the monthly calendars whenever they want, so they are constantly being updated.

So don’t stress out about being underage in a casino city. Music is here to the rescue. From skate parks to cafés, from basements to backyards, all ages free and cheap shows occur almost nightly. Get out there and feel the beat!