For many, 2016 was a year of loss. And this would end up being the case for fans of the beloved, independent house show venue and communal safe space known as Our House. The Jackson Ward house venue announced via social media that it would be bidding adieu after the costs of managing the rundown space began to mount.
We’re still feeling the void from this vital missing piece of the Richmond music scene; the list of artists that have played at Our House could go on and on. A few names that come to mind are No BS Brass, Lady God, Houdan the Mystic, Venus Guytrap, Lightfields, the Milkstains and even Lucy Dacus.
“We reached this apex where we couldn't progress the quality of the space,” says Our House inhabitant Mitch Kordella, also bassist and synth player for Toxic Moxie. “An unresponsive landlord was great for the beginning in that it allowed us the freedom to grow and expand and take chances. But we became constrained by the physical limits of the 150-year-old house and not having the authority or resources to make the necessary big improvements to the space.”
But the house known for throwing absurdly fun and ridiculous shows will be giving it one more hurrah this weekend – although in a more traditional concert venue.
With the help of local promotional company Jets Trail Media, the Camel is hosting a proper farewell to Our House this Saturday, Jan. 28. The line-up features a number of Our House alumni and residents of the creative haven. These including the dizzying, electronic pop of Toxic Moxie, the acid psych rock dreamscapes of Ashes, the thunderous, anthemic rock outfit Imaginary Sons and the slimy, funky space jams of HeadLessMantis.
With the interest of bettering the community at large, proceeds from the show will be donated to Rags and Bones Bicycle Co-Operative. The Scott’s Addition site offers a do-it-yourself community workshop for anyone in need of bicycle repairs who may lack sufficient funds. This will be sure to be a show that will go down in the books for how it represents the rich tapestry of bands that were birthed from the rundown, but glorious confines of Our House.
For Kordella, the future for local house shows is bright.
“We have a radical and inspired core group of us who are dedicated to promoting the [do-it-yourself] scene in Richmond and abroad. We are working on opening a new space, stay tuned, but in the meantime I hope to see more people out there take matters into their own hands and create the environment to facilitate music, art, creativity, progressive values, and community. Especially with the fucked up direction our government and society as a whole is heading, it's now more important than ever to build from the ground up and be the change you want to see. DIY will never die.”
The Camel hosts A Farewell to Our House featuring Toxic Moxie, Imaginary Sons, Headlessmantis and Ashes. A Benefit for Rags and Bones Bicycle Co-Op on Saturday, Jan. 28. Doors at 8. Show at 9. $7 Advanced Tickets/$10 Day of Show Tickets.