Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Factory in Rochester (this Friday: Hard Lessons, Carjack, Joey and the Traitors

The Factory in Rochester

Photo: Jerry Wald

This is for you.

This is for bands. This is for music fans. Bands, you get more control in setting up your own shows – no battles with bar sales or hidden percentage cuts, you set your cover. Fans, there's no hazy cloud of secondhand-smoke, no waiting around for more people to show up in order to boost bar sales, no strong-armed meat-stick bouncers elbowing you.

It's a hangout, a club house, an escape; total democratization of the grand liberation brought by the live musical experience.

The Factory in Rochester is located down an alley parallel to Main St., between 3rd and

4th, 2 ½ stories, with a green room, a hangout/vestibule, a storage room and the main-floor/stage area with capacity of about 100. There's couches slid into crevices as you walk in and up the stairs to the stage, this humble square of space with photography on every wall and a projector blitzing esoteric imagery over the space.

Managers Jerry Wald and Shane Ford grew up around Shelby Township, attending Eisenhower High School together and continually collaborating on various art related projects through their teens (most recently as an electronic DJ duo). While working freelance photography in Rochester, Jerry heard about the space opening up as a potential studio for his boss.

"This shouldn't be just a studio, this is a venue!" Jerry said, and quickly brought Shane and his brother Jesse by to check it out. Three days later the trio set up a sublease and started painting.

"We wanted to bring Rochester something for everybody," said Shane, whose finishing up a (useful) BA in Business Administration, but also played and toured in bands through his teens. He's 20; Jerry's 21.

Jerry has his own photography studio upstairs and makes posters for every show (as well as live film-splices) while Shane is utilizing his experience in recording to aid his new "sound-guy" duties. Just like that, they had a venue. They put themselves out there – simply, here we are – a place for music. Doors are at 9 p.m., Thursday-Friday-Saturday, it's always all-ages, always no-smoking – a venue fueled purely by enthusiasm.

To test themselves they set up a "show" in August, with 2 bands and expected maybe 20 people. But 2 bands grew to 4 bands and nearly 80 people showed up on the first night. Immediately, they saw the vitality for the Factory's presence

That first week, painting the space, getting it ready – they thought out loud grandiose daydreams of "wow, wouldn't it be great if we could get the Hard Lessons to play here?"

Indeed. The Hard Lessons played the Factory within a month or so of it's opening, in mid October of 08. This Friday, the Hard Lessons return with Detroit's electro-punk-shaker Carjack and Toledo's Joey and the Traitors

A laid back art-splattered hang-out with live music. Your own Warhol-ian Exploding Plastic Inevitable in Rochester!

"We're not going into this to make this our jobs, we have jobs," said Shane, "we want this for bands… an outlet to listen to everything and anything…"

They're planning for charity events, collaborations with the School of Rock and Eisenhower's art program, movie-nights and maybe becoming a coffee-house/hang-out during the day and a gallery/shrine to the DIY.

"We want it for everybody," said Shane, "We don't drink, smoke or do drugs, we're just straight forward people who like to hang-out. We wanted to provide this for people in that same spot. If I had a place like this in high school it would've been a dream come true."


(profile of the somewhat-new, self-run, non-bar, music-focused venue in Rochester MI)



christopher said...

i'm glad somebody finally did a piece on these guys. we played there (and will again soon) and it was incredible, jerry and shane have even worked w/ us at other venues.
these dudes are fucking awesome.


Jay said...

Glad younger people have this venue, but I did like it much more when it was the Bassakward Arcade, The Factory people removed all the remaining art (whatever was left), made it brightly lit, etc. Bassakward had a free video and pinball arcade, but you won't find that there now. It was also over 30% larger at that time...and the Factory now uses the room with the worst acoustics of the three rooms in that space, not sure why. Bassakward used the lower room with the low ceiling, great acoustics and size. Why not use it now? I also am curious if they ever met fire/building code regulations: there is apparently now only 1 door (for entry and exit), a small stairway inside with no handicapped access, no windows. These requirements existed with Bassakward (they even used front/back doors, what a concept!), as that venue did not cause any problems leading to noise complaints and police intervention, as the Factory has caused. A bit more discretion and planning would circumvent those problems. Why get involved with the police? And capacity is very small these days (again, it used to be at least a third larger).