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Underground music pops up 

Young DIY community makes space for local and national acts

click to enlarge Pueblos Runsfasterscared have positive things to say - about the music community in Colorado Springs. - 2006 LAURA MONTGOMERY RUTT

Runsfasterscared is an eclectic crew. Josh, the vocalist, is into underground screamo; Buddy, the bassist, likes goth-punk band AFI; Previn, the drummer, listens to metal band Motorhead; and Chris, the guitarist, sticks up for the "super-poppy stuff," like emo-punk band Name Taken.

Somehow, over three years, they've molded into a tight sonic punk/screamo package, playing venues as far away as Missouri and Iowa. And they've found that Colorado Springs, just up the interstate from their hometown of Pueblo, is a great place to play.

"Colorado Springs has a thriving music scene [that is] better than most other cities we've been to," says Chris.

While Runsfasterscared has played at The Black Sheep and other mainstream Springs venues, they also have won fans at The Everyday House and Whitney Electric.

At these DIY venues, a small group of people does everything from booking bands to sweeping floors. But a certain solidarity extends to hundreds of others; from pin-makers to groupies to musicians, everyone works toward the same goal: creating and sustaining a pulsating music scene in Colorado Springs.

"If people want to make this city awesome and have a great scene, everyone needs to be connected," says Arlo, bassist for Jeanne Lustige, a local punk and screamo band.

click to enlarge According to Jeanne Lustige (formerly known as New - American Paintings), a whole lot of love fuels the local - scene. - 2006 LAURA MONTGOMERY RUTT
  • 2006 LAura Montgomery Rutt
  • According to Jeanne Lustige (formerly known as New American Paintings), a whole lot of love fuels the local scene.

"[You can participate] by doing what you can do, whether that's making shirts, putting out music or just attending the shows," says Rich, Jeanne Lustige vocalist. "Everything is such a vital part, and everybody has their own niche in the community."

When The Everyday House first started booking bands into its 7-foot-high basement last summer, it attracted a contingent of teenagers looking for free beer and a party. Since then, people have realized that the House does not throw parties; it hosts shows. The audience has diminished, but the ones who remain are invested in the music. Ages generally range from mid-teens to late twenties.

The House, located at 34 W. Navajo St., books bands on local and national tours, and attracts fans from as far as Denver. The basement is dim with a small door. It can fill up fast with a few upturned mattresses, music equipment and up to 70 show-goers crowding the middle. Unlike bigger, more established venues, there is no stage to segregate the band from the audience or, for that matter, to throw a guitar in the air or to run around without hitting a wall.

"When you're playing in a basement with all your friends around you, there's no barrier," says Wyatt, member of local indie/punk/screamo band Da Dora Vida.

"It becomes that the crowd is the band," says Jeanne Lustige's Arlo, who, with bandmate Rich and another friend, recently has started a tape company out of the House's basement. "People are in your face ... you can look them in the eye."

Whitney Electric, which started hosting concerts and art shows in June, is a cinderblock mini-warehouse behind Wooglin's Deli on North Tejon Street. With a sliding garage door and no windows, it hosts shows that feel more like contained private parties, though they are open to the public.

Whitney and The Everyday House make themselves known to the masses or at least to young music fans by word of mouth, fliers and the Internet. Hipster thrift store The Leechpit historically has been the prime source for concert information, but the social networking Web site myspace.com may have recently trumped the store's outreach. Individuals can contact bands and venues on their own through the Web site to book shows and coordinate events.

And the bands that play often are true products of the Springs. Younger punk bands like Da Dora Vida and They Murdered Miracles have developed while listening to locals such as The Great Redneck Hope for a few years now.

"Our main influence is this city and the kids in it and the bands in it, and anyone who participates in the underground DIY punk scene in the Springs," says Arlo. "Our influence is our surroundings."

  • Young DIY community makes space for local and national acts

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