West Gate opens on Westside 

click to enlarge MICHAEL KROFT
  • Michael Kroft

Dimitri Morris sure throws a damn good show.

His house at 21st and Central, christened Heaven's Gate, was host to a year's worth of rock and roll ragers, from Pessoa and Caelume's final show on last year's Record Store Day to the house's New Year's Eve send-off featuring Male Bondage, Vacation Club, The 2150s and more.

But now, the twenty-something finds himself embarking on a considerably larger endeavor, this time on Indy's Westside.

His ambitious next chapter will be known as West Gate, an all-ages venue which will house another new venture, Headdress Records, which Morris founded with label partner Bradley Lee.

"I've just been hanging around and dabbling so slightly with so many musicians and artists over the past couple years," Morris, who currently plays in local bands Heavy Hand and White Moms, said. "Now that I'm in the position to help them out and really push things forward a little bit more, it makes it a lot more of a driving thing to really do and be the best I can and to bring about the best I can in that way."

click to enlarge 2150's farewell show at Westgate - JOE FAWCETT
  • 2150's farewell show at Westgate
  • Joe Fawcett

Originally a family-owned storage space, Morris eventually reached a contractual agreement to make the most of West Gate's expansive interior, which includes eight "different spaces that can be utilized" for a number of artistic purposes.

"Once Dimitri moved and we got the building to start doing our music business in, we decided to take throwing shows further by recording bands, doing art shows, take-away shows, live sessions, etc.," Lee says. "The whole idea behind West Gate is endless."

But of course, with every new pursuit comes a new set of obstacles.

On February 1, Morris had a slew of local acts set to celebrate the opening. With sets from Male Bondage, Raw McCartney and more, the show went late into the night, fostering a jubilant spirit for the hundreds of Indy music lovers in attendance.

But a few items went missing, including Morris' personal computer, putting a damper on what had been a successful first show.

In the aftermath, Morris found himself in a tough spot. However, after receiving much love from the community he had so faithfully served with Heaven's Gate, and now West Gate, he was quickly brought back to his feet with overwhelming support.

"We had had so many shows at that point where I just wasn't even in the mindset of that being a possibility," Morris says, of the theft. "So that happening just kind of shattered my idea of what was going on. It took me a couple days to regroup and get in a new mindset about it; a lot of individual people [got] ahold of me and really showed love and support."

He continues, "That really just made it super easy to wash it away and continue what we were doing as a whole. There are just too many good people here to just count one bad person's attitude for that night."

After a mid-February pitch-in cleaning party at West Gate, Morris and Lee are moving forward quickly with Headdress Records, lining up several events for the March, including art shows, concerts, the start of a mixtape series, the start of a zine and more. Headdress also released a 2150s and Heavy Hand split in February.

"We decided that what we are doing is way too huge for the both of us to quit," Lee says. "Nobody is doing anything like what we are trying to accomplish, so why waste that because of some kids who thought it would be a good idea to steal? It was a first setback and probably not the last, but this is what we love doing and we are going to try and continue putting out music, putting on shows, and whatever else we can to further Headdress Records and West Gate."

Ultimately, through West Gate and Headdress Records, Morris truly wishes to give the artists and musicians he has found himself amidst an outlet, thus legitimizing their dedicated work and spreading it throughout Indianapolis and beyond.

"We aren't just kids aimlessly doing things," Morris says. " There are points behind what we're doing and we have power in what we're doing. Showing that is pretty much how I plan to spend the next couple years."

Tonight's West Gate show features Anwar Sadat, Shipwreck Karpathos and Air Hockey.

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