Indy house shows do it right 

Word from those behind the alt venues

DIYers (“do it yourself” people) appreciate house shows — concerts ranging from an intimate gathering with an acoustic set in someone’s house to a punk band in someone’s basement with 50 sweating mo- and faux-hawk-wearing rock fans thrashing around. 

There are no tickets, no middlemen and there is no presence of “The Man.” Money is often on a donation basis, later split amongst performers who just may spend the night sleeping on the floor.

The goal? Bands want enough money to pay for gas and eat for the rest of the tour.

Not at all coincidentally, we (Erin Monahan and Carma Nibarger) host monthly concerts. Since naming a house venue helps word travel, we’ve opened our home, known as the GreenHouse Effect, to the artistic community.

Also … we like an excuse to clean our house once a month, and we’re not alone. All across Indianapolis, houses are opening their doors to musicians. Some venues, such as the Indy Hostel, are more public than others. “We want to do what we can to make people happy [and] do our part for the social environment,” says Garth Stapleton, manager of the Indy Hostel. “It’s mostly folks who are just starting off and trying to make a name for themselves.”

And they appreciate the opportunity. For Jonathan and John of The Bones of Davey Jones, a modern, folky duo on tour from Brooklyn, N.Y., house venues make up half their tour. Both prefer it that way. “The more intimate environment makes it more fun,” the band says. “It’s easier to meet the local people.”

Stanley Forbes, on tour with his drummer Steven, booked their entire tour away from their homeland of bangers and mash (aka the U.K.) in house venues. Forbes says, “The people are generally friendlier and more open to meet people, rather than a bar, which is kind of anonymous.”

Who knew? Going into a stranger’s home and spending the night is friendlier than going to a bar to meet people. Many bar hoppers just cried …

Whew! Now, can you define house show? If you think it’s just inviting strangers and musicians into your home for the sake of interacting with your community, you would be right! It’s about community and art. So go out and find a house show near you. It’s almost the comfort of your own home.

by Carma Hubarger and Erin Monahan 

Indianapolis House Venues 

WHAT: GreenHouse Effect
WHERE: 305 N. Arsenal
WHEN: Second Saturday of the month; 8 p.m.; donations requested for bands; all-ages

WHAT: Indy Hostel
WHERE: 4903 Winthrop
WHEN: Schedule varies, starts at around 7:30 or 8 p.m.; $5-$10 at the door; all-ages

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