October 2016 seems like a decade ago now. We didn’t know if live performance could work at our space. We were treading this bizarre line between self-enforced obscurity (so we could do what we liked under the proverbial radar) and DL self-promotion. But what started with a cataclysmic failure of an open mic earlier that year sort of rebooted thanks to an unlikely response to a reddit post courtesy Timelapzzz out of Philly. By the time summer rolled around we had hosted bands from Florida to Quebec. It’s been a pretty damn awesome ride.
We’ve had our hiccups. There was, quite famously, a “misunderstanding” regarding the noise ordinance that resulted in a brief moment we thought we may have picked up our own personal Javert (although I’m not totally convinced that’s entirely behind us). There’s our oddly specific low occupancy (49) which must now be considered. We learned the hard way that a summer concert series in a college town is doomed to low (or no) attendance by what amounts to a roll of the dice. But all in all things have hit as close to a stride as they’re gonna hit.
Our Ever-Changing Town
When we started putting these things on (or letting you guys put them on for us) it was a much different landscape. It seemed with few exceptions the DIY scene had been relegated to house parties and the occasional FAA show. We stumbled on this perfect little pocket of time where there really wasn’t anywhere else to go but our place. But, thankfully, that notably brief time is over.
Sherry has mentioned this section sounds a little like we’re taking credit for keeping the scene alive or something to that effect. That would be a ludicrous assertion on our part. I mean only that we entered the running as the inevitable consequence of an odd lull. And we were ostensibly taking all comers as a result of those conditions.
A city is a living thing with countless moving parts and, as an inevitable consequence of this, the scene has long since expanded well beyond our walls. As Evolving is in the actual name on the building our response to change is usually pretty clear… So your emos, your shoegazes, your alt-rock they all have multiple outlets now. There’s the Old Stone Warehouse, The Rec Room has become rock and metal friendly, St George’s has been more than accommodating from what I hear, hell, even Roxbury has been getting in on it occasionally. This is all very excellent news! Fredericksburg seems more alive in some respects than I can remember it being in a very long time.
But where do we fit into that huge landing pad of rock-friendly music venues? We don’t. And we never have, not really. It was never our intent to serve as a straight rock (or for that matter straight anything) venue. Our mission has always been to serve the under-served. To give a platform to those who have few or none. Going forward we will be hosting primarily mixed genre shows. We’re not saying your emo band can’t play here but we are saying they better bring a chiptune rapper and someone with a cello along to fill out the bill. Truth be told we never wanted to host concerts for their own sake; we want to host happenings. And the only way to do that is to disrupt our present model any time it can be defined as a model.
We’re Pretty Damn Serious
So the purpose of this post isn’t just to close the gate on your more conventional rock genres. That gate’s not closed, we’re just sick of watching people not hold that gate open for the people outside their clique, gender, race, or social class. There are no cliques at EAM. That’s been a tenet of ours from day one. We demand diversity. Diversity of person and performance. So when you’re emailing our event coordinator about a gig be prepared to play well with others, not just the bands you played with last week and the week before. That’s really all there is to it; the days of the laissez-faire show are over. If you come to us with a bill of 9 white dudes all playing in the same broad genre you will be asked to try again. Local acts will be expected to put in a little more promotional leg work so that the touring acts don’t feel like they’ve just played a show for your parents. And in exchange we’re going to keep providing a venue where you guys can try shit you’d be afraid to try elsewhere in front of one of the most receptive crowds you’ll find between the Potomac and James Rivers.
Thanks for being you
-Asellus “Asa” Claudum