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[whitespace] Spacing Out

Venues for all-ages rock shows are getting harder and harder to find

By Sarah Quelland

ALL-AGES VENUES seem to be an endangered species in the Silicon Valley. Already limited, choices are dwindling in the South Bay for teens interested in seeing live shows by independent bands. Paula Bray is the executive director of the Youth Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization that put on all-ages shows at the YWCA in Palo Alto. In 1999, she was awarded a Family 2 Family Award by KTVU/Fox 2 for her work with the YMF. Last Friday, she contacted me with some news. Apparently, an empty whiskey bottle was found after one of the shows (which are advertised as drug- and alcohol-free). As a result, the YWCA will no longer permit the YMF to host events on its grounds. It's an unfortunate decision, since these shows provided a safe space for teens to socialize in a cool environment and taught them how to coordinate and promote their own events. It gave local teens the chance to perform in front of their peers, and other area bands the opportunity to introduce themselves to a younger audience. According to Bray, last Saturday's show (Aug. 19) was the last at the YWCA. The nine remaining shows scheduled have been canceled. The YMF is currently putting together a grant proposal and searching for its own venue. In the meantime, the group is looking for a space to put on shows once or twice a month. Anyone interested in becoming involved with this pursuit should contact the foundation at 650.856.2648 or visit www.youthmusicfoundation.org for more information.

This isn't the first time this has happened. The Chemical Free Zone, originally hosted by the Campbell Community Center, was subject to severe scrutiny and relocated to the Southside Community Center (5585 Cottle Rd., San Jose). Other all-ages venues still alive include Gaslighter's Music Hall (7430 Monterey St., Gilroy), the Gaslighter Theater (400 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell), Channel One (763 The Alameda, San Jose) and the Orange Spot Nightclub (Scooter's Pizza, 3395 Walnut Ave., Fremont). Eric Fanali of Grand Fanali Presents also organizes teen center shows and coordinates teens-only events at the Fishbowl (Le Boulanger Bakery, 305 N. Mathilda, Sunnyvale).

There's been a big buzz on the changes to the SoFA Festival this year. The newly expanded event, now called the SoFA Music Experience, is a four-day (Sept. 14-17) music extravaganza. The event kicks off Sept. 14 with a performance at the SJSU Student Union and ignites with Metro's sixth annual multiclub music showcase and benefit concert (formerly held in April and known as the South First Music Experience). All proceeds from this event will benefit the Metro Foundation, which distributes to local charities including Second Harvest Food Bank, Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, the Child Assault Prevention Program, Meals on Wheels and ARIS (AIDS Resources, Information and Services). The newest component to the festival is the Music and Internet Trade Expo to be held Sept. 16. That Sunday is the traditional SoFA Fest, with regional bands performing outdoors on various stages and inside downtown clubs. The annual SoFA Opening Band contest is underway. The contestants include Simon Stinger, ManMade God, Adverse Side-FX, Zero2 and many others. Vote for your favorite at www.ultravibe.com. The contest closes on Sept. 5. The three with the most nominations win opening slots at Sunday's SoFA Festival.

Mars Music is holding a nationwide music search competition. The Big Deal $100,000 Music Search is open to all bands and musicians not currently under contract with a major or independent record label. Visit www.MarsMusic.com for details. Submissions must be turned in by Sept. 1. Winners will be announced Nov. 17.

The Usual has a blistering country-punk show coming up this Tuesday (Aug. 29). Drag the River, featuring members of the Descendants and All, will perform with Lonely Kings and Dilligaf supporting. There will also be a Santa Cruz performance on Wednesday (Aug. 30) at a venue to be announced. Call Taylor at Vamp at 831.462.4083 for more information.

PLAN AHEAD: Stitch, Luxt, Sift and others, Aug. 25 at the Cactus Club; OzzFest 2000, Aug. 26 at Shoreline; Los Bastardos de Amor, Aug. 26 at the Quarter Note in Sunnyvale; OuttaLine, Aug. 27 at Gaslighter's Music Hall in Gilroy; Brickhead, Binge and Wax Dolphin, Aug. 27 (early 3pm show) at the Quarter Note.

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From the August 24-30. 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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