As we enjoy our recent boom of rich culture in the valley, with all the new venues, art spaces, and the patrons to match their capacity, it is important to honor those who paved the way. Over a decade ago, some might have said that Phoenix was a sleepy town. We didn’t have all the big venues and festivals. First Friday was just a handful of art supporters, quietly enjoying a stroll through the handful of galleries. The small nature of this community created a vacuum for ideas that you don’t see with more established communities. Out of this vacuum came an idea that has persisted for over 12 years. The idea was to welcome artists, writers, musicians and performers of all natures and ages to explore their creativity and for spectators to challenge their own ideas of what art and performance can be. This is not the type of venue that one opens for financial gain or mainstream notoriety. This is a venue created out of a love for your community and a desire to encourage and embrace those who may have a strong voice, but have yet to find it. This is where the seeds of cultural shifts and new trends are planted. This is what the Trunk Space is and will continue to be for our community, and we believe that is deserving of love and praise.
Since they have recently announced that they will be moving from the building they have occupied for over 12 years, we thought we would share some thoughts on the experiences we’ve had at this location and what those experiences have meant for us…. We encourage you to also please share your favorite shows, experiences and other memories about The Trunk Space in a comment below!
In the 12 years since The Trunk Space has been opened, they have served two very important purposes in my life. They opened a few years after I had moved to the downtown area, and just as I was starting to discover my place amongst the many talented artists and musicians performing around town. I have never been one to embrace only one genre or cultural niche. I grew up on a mixture of Motown, classic rock, free jazz and world music and I’m still trying to figure out how to make that all work, together. Where my general eduction might have been at home in my younger years, my advanced learning was done at places like the Trunk Space. This is a place where others with different experiences and interest were also working out these ideas, and at the same time absorbing new ones from those around us. At The Trunk Space, it was clear that music wasn’t about competition or fame. It was about creating our own outlets and making sense of our own weird little worlds. I have played in many bands and I could say that almost all of those bands played their first shows at Trunk Space. Sometimes those bands kept moving forward and evolved into something completely different. Sometimes it would be a collaboration that only existed in that moment. Sometimes the material would be rehearsed; sometimes it would be spontaneous and ephemeral. No matter the project, there were never any expectations. Maybe all that was asked was to appreciate this space as a blank canvas in which to create something that was truly your own and share it with others. This is the kind of encouragement you don’t get from a lot of venues. And, I think it’s the kind of encouragement familiar to many who have gone on to transform art and music in a way that catches the attention of a bigger audience. This is evident in the successes of many bands who have either called Trunk Space their home, or have just passed through looking for just this kind of place.
In honor of the Trunk Space’s 12th birthday this month and their impending migration to a new home, I wanted to list my favorite shows that I’ve seen at their home on Grand Ave. These are in no particular order…
- Weatherbox playing American Art in it’s entirety (September 15, 2013)
- Opening for the most sold out show I ever saw at Trunk Space with Starfucker & Unknown Mortal Orchestra (March 13, 2011)
- Women just days before they broke up on tour with Manchild just days before they changed their name (October 18, 2010)
- Walter TV with Tonstartssbandht (October 13, 2014)
- Porches & Frankie Cosmos with Diners & Where Are All The Buffalo? (October 9, 2014)
- St Ranger hosting a beach themed party at the end of our tour with Triptides – featuring performances by the amazing and short-lived The Cigs & The Buxtons
- Throwing our second beach party for Twin Steps and all my friends in Webs, Bear State & Atsia Gharana (July 27, 2013)
- Just one of the many times I saw Wild Pack of Canaries from Long Beach at Trunk Space – this time with Rubedo from Denver and Skinny Shamans (October 2, 2012)
- Playing with Vadaat Charigim from Israel and Bear State (May 11, 2015)
- Staying out past curfew to see Asleep In the Sea, LTD Robothouse, Icy Core of Jupiter, Andrew Jackson Jihad & Colorstore (the other most packed show I ever saw there) (April 27, 2007)
You can check out a ton of bands that have made there way through the Trunk Space through the years and some that are just now carving out their little niche at their Annual Indie 500 Music Marathon.