Over the next three issues, the Trinitonian will publish articles as part of a series that explores different types of entertainment venues in San Antonio. The series highlights three types of locations: a do-it-yourself space, a medium-sized venue and a larger concert hall. During the series we interview artists, members of local administrations and members of the public.
This week's edition focuses on a DIY home location called South Newby. The Trinitone is not providing the address of the place to maintain the privacy of the venue.
Even before the show, South Newby feels different from the other San Antonio music venues. For beginners, it's a home. His stage is the living room.
South Newby is one of the many San Antonio entertainment venues that operate under the do-it-yourself ethics, hosting local and touring bands for concerts organized by the community almost every week. The venue is also the royal home of several members of the San Antonio music scene, some of which play in local Indian genres Elnuh and Booty Feet. Although each of them has played in commercial premises, the musicians host do-it-yourself house shows to grow their listening bases and provide an intimate space for other local performances to perform.
Luke Mitchell lives at home, transmits live sounds and performs in several local shows, including his project, Slomobile. For him, hosting shows is a highlight for the unofficial San Antonio music group, in which his band and many others play key parts.
"In the last two years, I've just met all these fantastic people in town who are doing the same things I'm doing and building this network of do-it-yourself musicians," said Mitchell. "This house, South Newby, is the culmination of all this and all that we did with Booty Feet, Elnuh and the entire band."
Having do-it-yourself spaces like South Newby also helps touring bands fill their program and provide fans with a more personal concert experience.
Stef Chura, an indie band based in Detroit, performed a matinee show in South Newby on Saturday 22 September, less than 24 hours after Frankie Cosmos and Lomelda opened at Paper Tiger.
"I started playing a lot of shows at home, like only shows at home," said Chura, the frontwoman and author of the group. "It's really essential for people who, you know, can not drink and can not go to bars."
This is one of the reasons why sophomora Trinity, who is a minor, took part in shows in South Newby.
"Music is very real and very raw," said Ridlen. "I guess it's really fun to make the music more fun when you can connect with the artists."
Another strength of DIY spaces like South Newby is their flexibility. Without monetization as a driving force, property owners invite community members to participate, yet they are able.
For Dante Lawrence, a native of San Antonio, means his catering company, Tres Veg Boyz, he can sell food to shows. On Saturdays, the meal was subtitles of vegan meatballs, a menu choice designed to please carnivores and vegans.
"We base a lot on what we do as do-it-yourself ethics, so I think it's definitely important to have that kind of starting ground for all kinds of do-it-yourself initiatives," said Lawrence.
For do-it-yourself places like South Newby, their darkness is both a blessing and a curse. Operating outside the mainstream allows them some protection against closure. Although it is difficult for some fans to find them, it also provides the feeling of the community for which their shows have become famous.
The community aspect of DIY culture is the reason why Loretta Rodriguez, Trinity junior, is a South Newby regular.
"Usually, most bands are local, so it looks like you're just a part of the place you live in. I moved here – I'm not from here – so I really feel like I'm part of the community through these shows" said Rodriguez. "It seems everyone is friends or friends of friends here."
In addition to the songs written in Trinitonian, we are creating three additional videos that act as mini-documentaries on each space. Although the story and video can all be independent, we encourage you to read and watch both components to get the best version of the story.