One Sacramento musician's call for venues to save its generation
One musician's open letter to Sacramento venues and promoters
OK, Sacramento, It’s been long enough. When is the next generation of all-ages venues going to start sprouting up?
Trying to find a place to book a band in Sacramento is getting harder to do, especially if the band is an ’80s-era American hardcore throwback. Quaint little coffee shops are great for acoustic sets and jazz ensembles, but they don’t mesh well with punk rockers looking for a pit to mosh in.
I’ve been in a variety of bands in Sacramento since 1998, bands that have been nominated for Sammies, bands that have played on the same stage with iconic punk rock legends and bands that have gone under the radar with little or no recognition.
I’ve also booked shows from time to time for the past three years. So, not only do I know the trials of being in a band and looking for shows, I know what it is like being a booker, looking for bands to put on a show.
Just a few years ago, the downtown/Midtown area was brimming with pop-up venues willing to allow local bands to turn it up to 11 on any night of the week.
If Luigi’s Fun Garden was already booked with pogo-ing kids, you could see what was happening at The Professional. Short-lived R5 Records showcased bands every weekend and Phono Select allowed the loudest rockers in town to play while they served cookies. The various underground punk houses put on shows so often that some had to cut back their frequency in order to keep their neighbors happy.
The scene felt like it was in full swing with no signs of slowing. But slow it did.
Now, in the first few months of 2015, the all-ages scene is restricted by a lack of available venues that are capable of handling the full-volume, mosh-loving punk and rock scenes.
It really isn’t that bad, though.
For example, the Cafe Colonial and the neighboring Colony, both owned and operated by Matt Marrujo, have nearly single-handedly kept the all-ages music scene alive with shows at both venues practically every night of the week. The atmosphere there is light. Marrujo and his incredible staff work tirelessly to provide not only a comfortable place for moving and shaking, but a place where food and drinks are available at reasonable prices. If there are any venues that are doing it right, it’s these two.
I would love to see more venues in Sacramento provide the same level of welcoming and inclusion. It shouldn’t be difficult to hear back from a venue owner about booking your band. There shouldn’t be only one person in charge of setting up shows. That just means opportunities are limited and bands feel left out when they get overlooked.
I know the all-ages music scene will bounce back. It always does. I look forward to adding more memories from new venues to my decades-old adventure.