by Josh Vanek
So, the Kaimin ran this article, which—aside from the fact that DIY/punk in Montana is now associated with the Naval Jack or Stars and Bars (a symbol of slavery to most Americans)—perpetuates this total fallacy of a myth of a crock of sh*t that is "there's nowhere for the all-ages kids to do their rock shows." Man, I dig Mahamawaldi. Stuff is wild, weird and I like his description of it. I also like the diverse collection of Missoulians whom I respect, (i.e. Marty, Chris, Kia) who give their two cents. I like that Marcus and Matt got this funky space together and held some epically raging shows there. And I've slowed down my showgoing out of necessity in the past well, about 20 months, so I'm lame enough to have to say that I never made it there.
So here's my problem with this: mostly, it's the g.d. headline. There is a place to rock. It's called the ZACC. A mere crushed Pabst-can's toss away from the Hammer Haus. Yeah, and because it's a place that seeks to make its wares available to Missoulians of all ages, the shows happen to be boozeless, god bless 'em. And it appears to be a problem for attendance at these shows, but I tell you what, in my 20 years or so of trying to convince people to come and check out bands, there've been worse times. Man, in the '90s I lost many a rental payment at the Union Hall on a Tuesday... you daggone whippersnappers!
For a $60 room fee and a small deposit, you can hold the mightiest rock and roll concert that Missoula's ever seen. You can serve a delicious carafe of coffee, tea, or Tang made with Rattlesnake Creek water. You can make kebabs. You can use kebabs to paint a mural. You can have boys and girls slow dancing, together. Or breakdancing. Apart. You can have a dance contest. You can have an ad-hoc art show. Karaoke competition. You can get creative, have fun and party to your heart's content. You just can't get sh*tfaced or even sip beers. You could've gone to the Northside Kettlehouse and had one of two before the show. If you were of age. So you got that going for you.
But the woe-is-me tone of this stuff just gets to me. There. Are. Show. Spaces. In. Missoula. And if we could get over the narrative of "but you can't drink" and figure out what else you can do, like say: talk, listen, hackysack, skateboard, think etc. I think it might be easier to get a little momentum and move over the hump of the age old question Missoula seems to ask itself about every six months of: "how, besides drink, do we get folks to check out DIY music?" The answer for me at least is in the question.
Oh, and on a related note: you're invited to this Bugs show.