Sunday, January 22, 2006

Last show @ Sanctuary Studios

So we stopped by for a little while at Sanctuary Studios last night for its last show. Didn't hear anything too impressive... so we left. Then we went back just after the show had ended and hung out a bit. Whatever you can say (or can't say) about some of the bands that played there during its short run, we have to say that its sad to see Sanctuary Studios go. Not that we are going to post a "Memories" article about the place, but we think the atmosphere there was pretty fantastic. People of all ages running around doing god knows what with god knows who, and strange bands that you've never heard of playing music that you don't expect people to be into in Dallas. And whether you liked the music you heard or not, you knew that you were going to hear something different, that it was going to be free or really cheap to get in (they usually just asked for donations), and that you could bring your own beer. And even though it was located in the middle of the projects, it sorta felt safer than anywhere in Deep Ellum, didn't it?

Aaron Gonzales, resident of Sanctuary and the guy credited for booking and organizing most of the shows, really has the right idea. If Dallas has nothing, then you've got nothing to lose. Find a place to play thats NOT a club, where you don't have to deal with club owners and local scene politics, and book bands that you like, or find interesting, or that you think other people will like. Its really pretty simple, but he is one of the few in Dallas doing it. Talking with him, you get the impression that he is not only really knowledgeable about rock and experimental music, but a genuinely nice person that has the patience required to deal with bands, fans, and the half dozen animals that seem to be running around at Sanctuary all the time. The shows at Sanctuary really are what Dallas could be all about if there were more Aarons out there, but alas there don't seem to be. At least right now. There could be, however, once people start to see that these kind of shows work, and that there is a sizeable contingency of people in Dallas quietly screaming for something interesting to do on the weekends. Really, there are. We know a lot of them.

We've got a pretty great urban environment in Dallas, with tons of places like Sanctuary Studios: buildings in forgotten parts of town with low rent and some "fixer upper" work to be done. But its these kinds of places where legends always seem to begin, isn't it? The first place that Joy Division played. The first place that Nirvana played. The Sex Pistols. Big Black. The Minutemen. Husker Du. Can. Sonic Youth. Fuck, CBGBs. The list goes on and on. Its not places like fucking Trees or Gypsy Tea Room where the shit starts. Its old buildings, makeshift stages, good bands, bad neighborhoods, interesting crowds and people that are willing to organize it all. Not for money or to get their name in the goddamn Observer. Anyone that does it for those reasons probably doesn't have a clue about good music, art, or anything else. But instead because they like music, and are bored with what everyone else is offering them. Or not offering. And not to be overly dramatic about it (we know the limits of this sort of thing) but sometimes at Sanctuary it felt like something important could have happened there one day. The setting was ripe for something important to happen. It didn't, and now it won't have a chance. Heres to hoping that Aaron Gonzales or someone like him starts something else up like Sanctuary Studios. And that people notice. And that good music thrives there. And that we one day have something to be really excited about in Dallas. Something that will give those fuckers in Austin a run for their money.



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