With our recent decision to be more proactive using our space for occasional live performances, we decided we would share our thoughts on what the “in-store performance” has meant to us, and maybe share some thoughts on why it’s important to continue hosting in-stores, even with the large amount of awesome venues in town. With a few shows already under our belt this year, we’re hoping to keep up the momentum and maintain our legacy of being a sweet spot for catching your favorite bands, local and national.
Through the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, Stinkweeds served as a venue for many bands that weren’t quite on the radar for most promoters or larger venues. Information traveled a lot slower back then, and bands didn’t find the almost instant success they can see today. Tours consisted of crappy vans, sleeping on dusty floors and playing wherever they could plug in and get loud. The progression of success was slow and gradual, but…great music can’t be ignored. It just needed to fall on the right ears. It was up to the record stores, college radio stations and the hard core music fans to provide a home for these weary travelers.
Oftentimes, Phoenix wasn’t even on the radar for some of these bands. It would take us reaching out to the labels to let them know that these artists had a following here and could maybe make a few bucks if they stopped at our little store and played some songs for an audience hungry for something different and real. Some of these bands might have played bigger venues in other cities, but these smaller shows offered something different, something both the bands and the audience could recognize as special and often ephemeral. Sometimes you know you’re experiencing something important; you’re catching it right at the spark. Sometimes you don’t recognize it right away, but for whatever reason, the memory sticks with you a little bit more than something more shiny and spectacular.
Experiencing art and true talent in a small, dimly lit room, with a handful of people, feels like it belongs to you. Sure, you have to share it, but you know everyone around you appreciates it just as much as you do, so sharing doesn’t feel so bad.
This type of experience isn’t so easy to find anymore. Live music is now a more popular past-time than it used to be. There are many more venues, and bands can spread the word faster and to a much larger audience. However, there are still bands that look for that opportunity to share that special experience of an intimate performance. Maybe they grew up seeing their favorite bands in small venues, with 10 other people; maybe they miss playing intimate shows; maybe the want to show their appreciation for their fans by offering them an experience that is reserved for the die hard music lovers who still check out the record stores or keep up with updates from their favorite bands. Whatever their reason, we think it’s important to recognize what they are offering. Many of the bands that we host aren’t asking for much, if anything at all. Our last two in-stores (Prism Tats & Summer Cannibals), the bands offered to play for free!
We didn’t want to ask them why they decided to play in our little store, but their appreciation for hosting them was evident in the energy that they put into their performances. They may play bigger shows in other cities, but here, their energy was full force.
Often, when seeing a band play a small show, we can’t help but think, “I will probably never hear this band sound like this ever again.” This is why so many people have “I saw them when…” stories. Sure, maybe they’re bragging about knowing the band before anyone else, but maybe they just want to share a special experience that had a big impact on them.
As we work to keep this momentum of live shows going, we hope you’ll find the time to share these experiences with us. We know there is a lot of live music happening, now. We know that, any given week, we can all choose from any number of bands and venues. We know your time is valuable. But, we’ve been going to shows for a long time and we’ve seen our favorite bands in many different venues. We can say with confidence that you can’t beat the connection and experience of a small show.
Keep your eyes and ears on us and we’ll be sure to let you know when the next in-store is happening! But, we can’t keep doing it if you don’t show up! See you soon!
For more Stinkweeds History and pictures of flyers and in-store performances, visit the History section of our website!