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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    New music venue opens in downtown Tucson

    Hailey Eisenbach
    Hailey Eisenbach / Arizona Daily Wildcat Local talents Tinsels, Dying Bedmaker and Ocean Void play at Tucson’s new venue, Tucson Live Music Space on Thurs., September 13.

    The newly christened Tucson Live Music Space has only been open a week, but already it’s found its niche. The DIY music space, owned by local music aficionado Billy Brooks, has hosted only three shows so far, yet each performance has featured drastically different lineups in terms of genre, age and notoriety.

    “It’s really important that we have a healthy variety in the lineups and kinds of shows that we have here,” said Brooks, who the Wildcat spoke to last week in an online exclusive feature. “If you get all different kinds of bands playing one night, you can really bring in all different kinds of music lovers and reach more people altogether. With this space we can actually create a musical pulse in this city, as opposed to a blip.”

    That pulse, as it turns out, is something that could truly benefit the local music scene. While there are plenty of Tucson bands that find places to play regularly, the majority of the city’s performance spaces either double as bars or simply book certain kinds of acts over others due to the necessity of drawing a sizable audience. These are reasonable concerns, given the city’s strong bar and nightlife scene, yet these kinds of establishments automatically eliminate all-ages music lovers. It also makes it difficult or uncomfortable for some bands who would much rather play where people will watch, rather than talk loudly to their fellow bar-goers.

    It’s fortunate for Tucson, then, that someone like Brooks would come along with his TLMS with the intention of operating a venue that is solely “music-centric.”

    “TLMS is just about having a place for great music,” said Brooks. “No other agendas.”

    Given the closures of DIY venues like Skrappy’s, Dry River and The Pound in the last year alone, the need for a place like TLMS has never been felt more than now.

    For someone on the outskirts of local and DIY music, it might be difficult to realize just how big of a concern having a consistent and safe location to play is. If you were to talk to its participants, you’d find that what unites the Tucson local scene more than anything is a love for playing live music. The reality is that no one wants to go see a show where the bands aren’t enjoying themselves or the venue.

    However, with a venue as open-hearted yet separate from the bar scene as TLMS is, you can pretty much guarantee that those who are lining up to play are going out of their way to do so.

    “DIY places have always been our home,” says local musician Cord Boyd, whose indie rock band No Radio is playing a show at the Tucson Live Music Space this upcoming Saturday. “DIY venues are always kind of more laid back and nicer than other places … anyone can really play, which in my opinion is how the scene grows.” Boyd is hardly alone, as can be seen from how successful the first few shows have been in bringing out people who might not normally frequent local shows. Whatever the secret is to reigniting Tucson’s increasingly fractured music scene, it seems like Brooks and co. are on their way to cracking it.

    While the notion of an open-door, insular music community is wonderful, ultimately a big part of bringing in an audience is working alongside the DIY-ers in reaching out to bigger names.

    Subscribing to owner Brooks’ idea of making a “pulse as opposed to a blip,” No Radio’s Boyd has arranged for on-the-rise pop-punk band Forever Came Calling to play alongside his own band, California’s Lights in the Sky, and locals Saving Today and Cariad this Saturday.

    While Boyd has been booking in the Tucson area for about a year, he explains that TLMS’ unique open-door policy allows for bigger bands like Forever Came Calling to come through without hurting local bands playing the same night.

    “I feel like having bigger bands like Forever Came Calling could be a great thing for the scene, because more people come out and it gets the locals more exposure, rather than locals having to provide the crowd themselves,” Boyd said.

    With people as committed to the cause as Brooks and Boyd in charge, there’s little doubt that the Tucson Live Music Space will keep up the good work.

    Tucson Live Music Space is located at 125 W. Ventura St., Forever Came Calling Show 9/15/12 @6:30 P.M.

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts.

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