Tuscaloosa’s DIY scene in full effect this summer

This past Saturday, August 2nd, DIY Tuscaloosa and Stand-Up Tuscaloosa, hosted by RJ Marchand, joined forces to host a show at a new DIY house.

One of the house residents, James Hale, had expressed interest in having shows at his house a few months ago. He advertised having a big back yard and a thirst for more house shows in Tuscaloosa.

Upon first meeting with him to check out the space, I was taken aback at how potentially ideal the location could be. The backyard was huge and fenced in, with a big grill on an elevated porch, which was partially screened in. There was also parking in the yard and on the street. So long as we cleared it with the neighbors and adhered to the area’s 9pm noise ordinance, I didn’t foresee any reason for it to get shut down.

The evening of entertainment kicked off with the first band, a new local called Pentapuss, which was Maia Wade on guitar and vocals, Ronnie Lee Gipson on drums, and Frank Nette playing bass guitar. Separately they are all good musicians, so together it was legit, especially for a first show. Maia commented that the show gave her hope that “we might be able to foster a more diverse music community in Tuscaloosa”, adding that it was the most diverse crowd she’d seen at a house show in a long time. “We are definitely aiming to have eclectic bills, and not just one genre.”

After Pentapuss’ set, Randy Ford delivered the first stand-up comedy act. The audience seemed to enjoy the mix of music and comedy, plus I thought it was great to see people dance, then laugh, then rinse-lather-repeat.

Next up was Knympho Knife, a three-piece describing themselves as “fuzzed out jazz-punk.” If you want a sample of what they really sound like, check out their feature on local TV show, Tuscaloosa Monorail.

When the cops walked up to the yard during Knympho Knife’s set, they were just asking how long the music would be going so that if they got any noise complaints they could tell people when it was ending. We told them that we thought the noise ordinance was 9pm and were planning to have the music done by then, to which one of the cops replied “9pm on a Saturday?!” So I asked him “Can we push it to 10pm?” and he confirmed “We can’t tell you when to end your party, but if we get too many noise complaints then the bands will have to stop playing.” Fair enough, so we just turned down the bands’ volumes and the cops never showed for the rest of the night.

The next stand-up performer was Beth Howell. I remember there being a lot of people there by that time, and it was great to see that good of a turnout, especially with the majority staying on the screened in part of the porch to watch her set. There was definitely a supportive vibe in the air that night.

The third band to play was Freaky Deakys. They played earlier this Summer at the Southside Nitty Gritty Glen Iris house fest, as well as Vallofest in Montevallo. This six piece showcases Trevor Dane aka “Sweet Tea; Dane Deaky” on rhythm guitar and vocals, Rolfe Briney aka “Knight Driver” on lead guitar, John Engle aka “Smiles Davis Deaky” on bass guitar, Jack Vogt aka “Boom Boom Fingerling Deaky” on drums, Abraham Glubrecht aka “Squeaky Deaky” on fiddle, and Forrest Moody aka “Captain Peach Fish” on keyboard. Their live show was high energy and included fire dancers, who were Hannah Barrett and Andrea Dillingham. Trevor Dane said that the goal of their aesthetic was to “make everyone happy and forget about their worldly troubles, while presented in an artistic fashion.” He also added that for them, letting loose is like a form of meditation. I am a strong believer in art and exercise therapy, so I think dancing and engaging in a show will always make you feel better. Additionally, fire dancer Hannah Barrett reflected that “House shows are really something special, bringing like-minded people together to enjoy and spread the word of talented musicians, all the while making crazy unique memories such as friendly mosh pits on porches and fire dancers in the backyard.” There is definitely something about a house show that a bar can never capture. Both atmospheres have their places, but with DIY Tuscaloosa’s focus to provide more all ages shows, it seems that house shows are the way to go for now since most bars will only compromise to 18+.

You can catch Freaky Deakys‘ upcoming shows Thursday, August 14th at Parkside, and then the next night, Friday August 15th, at a house show in Montevallo (they ask folks to shoot them a message on their Facebook for more info). They are also getting filmed this week for a future episode of Tuscaloosa Monorail.

Caleb Garrett closed out the stand-up acts for the night, which lead into Dead Balloons‘ set. They were also featured on a previous episode of Tuscaloosa Monorail and are playing at Black Market Bar & Grill- 5 Points South later this month.

The next all ages DIY Tuscaloosa show will be Friday, August 22nd, a back-to-school show. Though our all ages shows are free admission for now, donations are encouraged because they are what keeps it going.

Stand-Up Tuscaloosa also has an open mic every Wednesday 9pm at Glory Bound Gyro Company.

To stay updated on more events like these, follow DIY Tuscaloosa’s group page.

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