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The benefits of House of God

The benefits of House of God

Denton Tx- Rainspell Plays their first live show at House of God

The benefits of House of God
February 26
18:05 2018

Guitar riffs reverberated throughout the modest home, deafening the standing-room-only audience. Beads of sweat rolled off the guest’s faces, a natural side effect for having 50 bodies in a room, visible only under the dim glow of Christmas lights and a “Happy Hanukkah” sign. The sound and sweat continued to pour as the restless crowd formed a mosh pit swirling around the living room in the House of God.

The DIY music venue hosted “Night of Noodles” on Saturday night. The benefit show featured a lineup of five local bands: Friendship Bracelets, Lady Bug, Rainspell, Animal Jam and Seafire. The proceeds donated for the event went to help another DIY venue in Fort Worth known as 1919 Hemphill.

“It’s a DIY venue completely run by volunteers and held up by the community,” said Addison Nelson, organizer of the benefit show and bass player for the band Rainspell. “Some time last year, [1919 Hemphill] got attacked by a lot of alt-right and 4chan internet users and ended up closing for a little bit.”

According to Matt Snoddy, resident of House of God and a biomedical engineering senior at UNT, the money is going to bring 1919 legally up to code with a certificate of occupancy, a fire escape and more exits.

“This is my first time booking a show, and I just picked bands I knew would work well together and I liked a lot,” Nelson said. “We’re friends, all the bands are kind of friends. They know each other, and we are all kind of in the same relative genre, so I just hit everybody up because I knew it could be a really cool lineup if we could all do the show together.”

House of God has organized two previous benefit shows, one for Denton Community Health Clinic, which provides health care to people who cannot afford it, and another for Denton Friends of the Family, which helps victims of domestic violence. The benefit shows have averaged nearly $200 raised per event. 

The venue has quickly gained notoriety among DIY shows in Denton, playing an integral part in the local music scene. House of God frequently organizes free shows for local and traveling bands of many different genres.

DIY won’t die

Reports of sexual assaults at a similar DIY venue, Jagoe House, made headlines in early January. Two days after the allegations surfaced, organizers of Jagoe House posted a statement on their Facebook page announcing that the popular venue would be permanently closing its doors.

Having been a mainstay among the house show community, the closing of Jagoe House shook much of the DIY community in Denton, including House of God. 

“We took a little siesta from house shows after that happened,” Snoddy said. “We just kind of asked ourselves what we could do, you know? It wasn’t Jagoe’s fault… That’s not on the guys living there, and it wouldn’t be on us if it happened here, but I know I would feel super sh—y if that happened.”

Prevention of a similar situation is very important to Kaeley Qualls, a resident of House of God who also happens to be friends with the woman who first stepped forward about sexual assault at Jagoe House.

“Since she told us about it, we’ve definitely taken more steps, like having a table where we check IDs and everything,” Qualls said. “We are definitely taking way more steps to be cautious and make sure stuff like that doesn’t happen here.”

The venue added an ID table, which also serves as an alcohol checkpoint of sorts, in order to gage if a visitor has had too much to drink. 

While House of God has taken several steps to prevent any incidents from occurring at their venue, Snoddy believes that there is only so much they can do.

“You can’t 100 percent prevent it,” Snoddy said. “You can’t watch every single person, how much they are drinking, or walk people out to their cars — you can’t. You don’t know everyone here, you don’t know who’s going home with who, or anything like that, so it’s really hard.”

Home is where the house show is

Despite organizer’s best efforts for strengthening the house, the bands and the community, Snoddy announced midway through the night that a man ran up during one of the sets and stole the donation jar containing the benefit proceeds. While 80 percent of the proceeds were stolen, Nelson posted via Facebook that the event still managed to raise $124 for 1919 Hemphill, proving that even in a moment of misfortune the community is too strong to be discouraged.

Though precautions are actively being taken, the community seems to be in agreement about the difficulty of preventing incidents like sexual assault. Nate Lawrence is a radio, television and film senior at UNT and frequently attends house shows in Denton.

“It sucks what happened,” Lawrence said. “But I’m not surprised because the crowds that go to house shows, they just go to get drunk and do things. It certainly sucks that happened, but it’s not something that surprises me, you know.”

Lawrence brought several friends, some of whom were women, to House of God for their first house show experience. However, a question of safety or fear of being assaulted never arose among them.

“It’s not just at house shows,” said Emily Key, a music education sophomore at Dallas Baptist University. “It happens everywhere. It’s good to be aware.”

A shadow has fallen over the house show community in recent months, but members push forward because they feel DIY venues are too important to a thriving local music scene to be let go.

“I mean, you hear about big bands like Sad Cops, Pearl Earl, Two Knights and all of those bands you would probably pay $5 to go see,” Snoddy said. “They are trying to branch out and play their big gigs, play bars now, but they all got their start at house shows.”

 Featured Image: Rainspell Plays their first live show at House of God. Will Baldwin

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Slade Meadows

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