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Noise Annoys

All hail The Loudhouse, host of Tucson’s latest underground racket

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The trajectory of the grand closing of the DIY venue is tradition now, and it's cliché. It happens in virtually any city large enough to host a music scene and follows the same basic pattern every time.

The venue—almost always the host of punk or hardcore or metal shows—is martyred into a scene as a kind of life-changing embodiment of the enlightening possibilities of music. The places usually last a few years and some local examples include the beloved District and Gary's Place. I have a friend who booked shows at one of these independent spaces, and he pointed out that the entire Do It Yourself (DIY) concept is the model for every business startup, including ugly behemoths like Walmart, and it rarely has much to do with underground music. Another friend's pet phrase is also applicable: "they can't all be winners." What all of these venues in Tucson and beyond have in common is that they could be named The Loudhouse (915 W. Prince), which is a newish punk, hardcore, hip hop and metal spot located in a meth-y stripmall far enough from downtown Tucson to feel like the suburban Phoenix neighborhood it resembles. And god bless 'em.

The Loudhouse typically sports live shows around four nights weekly and if you attended one there and then one at, say, Club Congress, you'd get be a fairly good idea of what Tucson's rock scene's all about. The Loudhouse fills an important musical need—it provides home for bands who don't fit elsewhere, and it gives a sense of continuity (and community) to a brand of metal, rap and punk that's too rough around the edges for downtown. Too, other acts that appeal to ears accustomed to more extreme sounds—like the surf-inflected Latin rock of Los Guapos—are provided with a inviting place as underground as they are. And where else are touring one-hit wonders like Green Jelly and Afroman gonna play? So go see Border Town Devils or Notorious B.A.G or Mindwars in the one venue in town where they all fit in, or as my friend would say, where they all can be winners.

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