Photo: Adrianne Behning Photography
by Lisa Vasquez
Editor’s Note: This story is published in We’Ced Youth Magazine Issue #3
Dozens of warm bodies crowding a small room in the downstairs flat of a house. Waiting for the sound of bass and drums. The room seems to get smaller and hotter with each second of intense anticipation. Where’s the band? Did they flake? Who’s going to take their spot? Then, a group of guys come on stage, nervous, excited, and ready. They take their positions, introduce themselves and start playing. The tension from the crowd is released like two rocks slipping from underneath one another, the earthquake has begun.
As a teenager, music is a big part of our daily lives. Whether it’s for enjoyment, setting the mood, or helping us block out our troubles, we’re are constantly listening to something. Music is particularly important to me because it’s how I express myself. I may not have the money to buy the clothes I want or look how I want to, but music is like having all the clothes you want, each song a different outfit that fits you perfectly. I could be acoustic one day then heavy metal the next.
Different genres reflect what kind of mood I’m in. If I’m content I’ll play some Dance Gavin Dance or Circa Survive. On a rainy, gloomy day I’ll listen to City And Colour with some Brand New. When I’m on edge or upset I’ll listen to Chelsea Grin or any other heavy metal group. When I listen to my favorite bands or artists, I get chills from my legs to my chest. When I’m alone I’ll let the music take hold of me, close my eyes, raise my hands in the air and sing along. It’s like my own little religion.
[pullquote_right]Different genres reflect what kind of mood I’m in. If I’m content I’ll play some Dance Gavin Dance or Circa Survive. On a rainy, gloomy day I’ll listen to City And Colour with some Brand New. When I’m on edge or upset I’ll listen to Chelsea Grin or any other heavy metal group.[/pullquote_right]
As much as I love dancing around in my room, I wish that more shows in Merced were accessible to young people like me. Montse Reyes, a 19 year-old waitress at J&R tacos and writer for The DLM Magazine, gushes that, “hearing live music is different than listening to it on a CD or iPod. You’re experiencing the passion and the energy. Nothing feels better than going to show and getting pushed up against a wall with a bunch of people. If you come out of a show really sweaty then you know it was a good a show.” Most venues that would do underage shows in Merced are no longer around, and I can’t go into a bar that has live music because I’m not 21. The all ages shows that do exist, and are cheap, can be hard to find if you aren’t in the particular social group putting on the show. Music shows give youth something to do but how are they supposed to benefit/participate when they don’t know how to find it?
Since the beginning of this year, most of the all age venues in town have been shut down, such as The Ark in Merced, which rumors say was closed due to fire code violations. The Devil’s Closet is in Atwater was also shut down but has since opened again. Most shows are held at The Partisan which is a 21 and up bar on Merced’s main drag, or at house shows that aren’t advertised well. You really don’t find out about shows unless you are in that circle or until after they happen and you hear how great it was.