Help Save La Crosse’s Historic All Ages Venue The Warehouse

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The view from the top of the Warehouse’s famous 49 stairs by aztalanturf

La Crosse, Wisconsin’s historic music venue, the Warehouse, is in trouble. Serious trouble. In short, after 22 years of hosting over 8,000 local, regional and national bands the Warehouse (always all ages and no alcohol, never “pay to play”) is in very real danger of being turned into condos. Watch the video or visit their IndieGoGo campaign to learn more.

The IndieGoGo campaign is gaining momentum with support from bands of numerous genres, including members of Chemlab, Everclear, Martin Atkins (Killing Joke, Pigface, The Damage Manual), All American Rejects, the Descendants, Left Spine Down, GoFight, Four Letter Lie and more. You can read some quotes below. Locally, City Pages music blog Gimme Noise have published an article in support of the Warehouse.

Band support has helped, but there is still a long way to go. The IndieGoGo campaign marks one of 2 things: a 60 day countdown to the end of the Warehouse, or the beginning of two more decades of providing an all-ages alcohol-free concert space. Please help spread the word using tag #savethewarehouse and please also consider contributing to the campaign. Perks range in price and include naming rights to the main room, purchasing one of the venue’s historic 49 steps, Jane Harm’s famous chocolate chip cookies, and several fantastic, limited edition t-shirts.

Jared Louche, CHEMLAB

This venue’s one of the most important places for independant bands in the country and has been for over 20 years. Chemlab played there more times than I can count, mis-spending much of our fabled youth there rocking out and freaking out under the graces of Stephen Harm and his coterie of incredibly supportive and hungry-for-action employees like Nick Wilhelmy, and enjoying the sick pleasures of some excellent local disturbed noise like Zero Dark 30 (who never got the exposure they deserved, of course). We were always greeted on the street by a band of kids ready, snow or sweat, to hump our ridiculously heavy gear with us up every band’s arch nemesis: those endless fucking flights of eye-wateringly near-vertical stairs. The stage is wide and deep and not too high so I could always caress the glory faces that I’d soon be screaming in, steal people’s cigarettes and dance with total abandon in and amongst the audience knowing that I was in a place that “got” us. The Warehouse, Steve and Co. dug us from very early on, and it was one of the places that did so long before most other places outside the Midwest. The Midwest was years ahead of the rest of the country in swallowing everything we had to deliver, and so we spent a lot of time playing in places like the Warehouse and the Lizard Lounge in Grande Rapids. That a place like this, that’s supportive of the local scene, alcohol-free and hungry to keep doing what it’s been doing for years is in danger is Art Crime.
PLEASE send whatever you can to help support them and keep them from being sold to the soulless developers.

Greg Eklund, drummer, EVERCLEAR 1994-2003

I joined EVERCLEAR 2 years after the band had formed. In the early days of my touring with them, still playing small bars, etc., after a bad show…Art & Craig would tell me “Just wait ’til we get to La Crosse and The Warehouse. It will go off!”

Everclear from the very beginning had a rabid fan base in the Midwest, thanks to this all ages club where anyone, including teenage kids, could come see a show. One of the few true all age no alcohol venues in the country. National or local, everyone came through the Warehouse.

When we finally made it to the gig, the load in up those stairs was a killer! Luckily Steve, or some kids milling around always pitched in to cart stuff up (and down) those famous stairs.

And the cookies baked by Steve’s Mom! We looked forward to that after 3 months on the road because it seemed like a little piece of home. Thats what the Warehouse was and still is! A place you look forward to on a long tour where you knew you would have an enthusiastic crowd, hands to help on the stairs, a good night of merch sales, and cookies to hold you over ’til you made it to the next town, which was never ever as good as La Crosse and The Warehouse. Please help them out.”

Brian Nagan, FOUR LETTER LIE

The Warehouse is everything you want out of a music venue, and so much more. All ages, alcohol-free, and welcoming to everyone. I credit the start of my music career to Steve and its staff. I was privileged to play my first-ever out-of-state show at the Warehouse. Steve took a chance on my band when not many would. We developed an amazing relationship and friendship that continues close to 10 years later. The Warehouse was always my favorite venue to play, and I know first hand how important it is to the music community, and the City of La Crosse.

Kaine Delay, LEFT SPINE DOWN

Help save one of the best venues in North America. Played here with 16volt and CHEMLAB on the MIDI Ghetto Tour 2010.

City Pages and MPR Continue the “Golden Age of MN Music” Conversation

City Pages and MPR are back at it again, discussing whether Minnesota is in another Golden Age of music. We posted a blog a few months ago responding to an earlier City Pages article on this topic and the conversation continues. What do you think of this whole discussion on a Golden Age of Minnesota music?

Golden Age of Minnesota Music?

I had a conversation a while back with someone from Chicago about the Chicago “industrial” music scene, and he asked me “What bands are even in Minneapolis right now?”. I didn’t have a good answer for him at the time, not because we are lacking in great music, but because a lot of the currently active bands have a mostly local focus.

Figgles McGee of Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Figgles McGee of Gabriel and the Apocalypse by aztalanturf

Long time City Pages Gimme Noise blogger Andrea Swensson has departed the paper for The Current and in her farewell post this week, she articulated what’s been in the back of my mind for a while:

Just last month, during a taping of The Local Show with my new employer, 89.3 the Current, host Dave Campbell asked his guests if we thought we were living through another golden age of Minnesota music. Without pause, Chris Riemenschneider from the Star Tribune, Ross Raihalafrom the Pioneer Press, and myself—all longtime documentarians of the local scene—nodded our heads and answered in a unanimous “yes.”

There is some phenomenal music being created in our back yard, and it’s not just one or two genres that are thriving right now. We are very lucky. From hip hop to rock to metal to the various electronic genres, there is an abundance of tremendously talented artists and bands in the Twin Cities. But let’s focus on the darker, synth based and electronic bands.

As|Of at TC Electropunk 6 CD Release

As|Of at TC Electropunk 6 CD Release by aztalanturf

The abundance of great local shows this past week is a perfect illustration of what’s happening on the synthy/darker side of local music right now.

  • Thursday, January 5:
    The Rope, Safewords, Still Pacific, Blood and the Sun at The Varsity
  • Friday, January 6:
    OBCT, Thought Thieves, Dissociate at the Fine Line
  • Friday, January 6:
    Gabriel and the Apocalypse, Pinwheel, I Corvinus, UZZA at the Triple Rock
  • Friday, January 6:
    Men of Sport and Leisur, Jealous Jester, Torch the Spires, As|Of at Club Underground
OBCT

OBCT at TC Electropunk 6 CD Release by aztalanturf

There were three shows on Friday night that I had on my calendar. Three! While it’s unfortunate that I had to choose one show, it says a lot about the depth of talent in the Twin Cities.

The Rope

The Rope Varsity Theater Marquee

Source: The Rope's Official Facebook

I’ll start from the top with The Rope. Most of The Rope’s shows have featured extremely diverse bills at a wide variety of venues and this is reflected in their following. The band made their debut at The Varsity Theater this past Thursday night and the crowd was filled with people of all ages and from all walks of life – everyone from the leather and combat boot clad to university students to music geeks of all assortments.

Whether they realize it or not, The Rope are on the cusp of doing something big for Minneapolis music, in particular because of their willingness to join forces with bands very different from themselves musically, including electropunks Thought Thieves and The Night. More on the electropunks later.

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