Philly DIY: Turning Your Basement Into Music Genius

Within dirty, slimy, broken down houses in Philadelphia, lies one of the most unique and well respected music scenes, and it all takes place in basements. Referred to as “The Philly D.I.Y. Music Scene”, these basements shows have gained lots of momentum and popularity amongst youth culture. The purpose of these basement shows is to support the music scene and let local artists be heard. For local artists, booking shows can be difficult at times. Venues don’t want local and unknown bands because they feel these bands aren’t profitable for their sake. For the venues, it’s all about making money. The owners of these basement shows could care less about being profitable. They’ve literally opened their homes to artists, allowing artists to be heard, and music fans to hear them.

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Since venues reject most local bands, the owners of these venues have created a Do-It-Yourself attitude, hence the Philly D.I.Y. name. They want artists to know that they can play a show without having to deal with the pressure of venue owners. These house party shows take place all throughout Philadelphia, giving music fans, usually college kids, a reason to go out every weekend and hear great music. What’s great about the Philly D.I.Y. scene is that artists don’t have to promote much because people will just show up. People want to let loose and hear great new music and be a part of the music scene and promote art. Bands from all across the country are realizing this and flocking to Philadelphia, hoping to become a part of the music scene, and have their voices be heard. This isn’t happening anywhere else. An artist can’t go to a random city and expect there to be basement shows, it just doesn’t happen, thus making Philadelphia unique. The Neo Gramscian Hegemony Theory applies to the DIY scene very well, in that now that Philadelphia has established a unique music scene, people from other cities are trying to recreate the philly scene in their own hometowns. There is even a facebook page dedicated to the Philly D.I.Y. scene, allowing bands to post about their shows and this also allows D.I.Y. music fans to find out about local music.

Some well known D.I.Y. venues include The Nest, The Petting Zoo, Golden Tea House, 502 South, 3rd & Girard, Mile High House, and the Michael Jordan House. The Michael Jordan House is very well known for launching the career of the band Modern Baseball. Modern Baseball was just your average band who were a part of the philly music scene and played basement shows, and because of this music scene, they are now an up and coming band with 2 records under their belt, recently selling out a headlining tour at the TLA, touring relentlessly and internationally, opening for big bands such as The Wonder Years, Brand New, and Dropkick Murphy’s. All of this happened just because they played in these dirty and grimy basements.
Even NBC 10’s meteorologist Sheena Parveen has talked about it!

Lots of more bands are beginning to gain the attention that Modern Baseball had gotten, making the Philly D.I.Y. Scene more and more popular. As a fellow musician who has played in these types of shows, I can attest for how amazing it is to play in a random basement at midnight and have a bunch of fellow music lovers show up and mosh and sing their hearts out. It is truly something remarkable, and it is something worth knowing about.

2 thoughts on “Philly DIY: Turning Your Basement Into Music Genius

  1. I like your article, i had never heard about the whole Philly DIY. Its cool that people open up their homes for bands to play. I think i would like to see a live DIY show and take a few friends. The whole idea reminds me of garage bands , how people would practice and play in their friends or neighbors garage. I like how its completely free to play and cost the band nothing. Its hard for bands to book shows at night clubs and other venues, i would think only because the club would only want in demand bands people who have some what of a name. With the DIY you don’t need a buzz, if you find a house you can play. I would like to see the DIY pop up in other city’s, so people who are really into it can travel and see other DIY bands. As well as meet new people who are traveling for the love of music. I think something about music brings people together in a good way. What more could u ask for free music, and the band gets their music heard.

  2. One of my biggest regrets is that I stopped hanging out around the music scene here in Philly, and reading this made me miss it so much! I haven’t been to a basement show in so long, but they were the most fun shows I’ve ever been to. The DIY scene in the city is something every city should have. Locals like The Wonder Years and Modern baseball, that started playing local Philly shows in basements are the best examples of how much good a scene like Philly’s punk scene does. Really good article, and good luck with your band, dude!

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