For most college students, weekend nights consist of roaming around the outskirts of campus looking for a party – or any place providing alcohol, really. For Declan Romano and his housemate’s Dave Curran and John Bullick however, the party comes to them.
Deacon Romano, 21, is a local musician who performs with his newly formed band “Deacon and the Devils”. Along with the music gig, he and his housemates hold weekly house shows for local musicians trying to get their name out there. This semester they held their first show in their new house at 1626 Diamond Street, or Stade D’amour (Stadium of Love). While it may seem like a simple thing to execute, house shows often receive noise complaints from neighbors, usually resulting in a visit from the police. “Running the parties are definitely tough,” Said housemate John Bullick, “It’s tough to keep the neighbors happy and at the same time run a fun, safe party.” Along with performing at house shows, Romano is responsible for organizing them as well. “Most of [the bands that preform] are friends or friends of friends.
The “house party” scene is a rapidly expanding, vibrant vein of local underground shows. These house shows offer a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for both the hosts of these shows as well as their musical guests. Small bands, like Poison Ivy League, use these shows purely to market their brand, as most house shows have a low/no payout for preforming. “The headliner for tonight dropped out, so [Deacon] gave us a call and we were able to make it.” Said John Brehmer of Poison Ivy League, “Hopefully there will be a good crowd for tonight.”
For Stade D’amour’s first house show, three local bands performed, including Deacon and the Devils. The doors opened at 8:00 p.m., but the first patrons didn’t roll in until around 9:00 p.m. There was a steady flow of people coming in and out through the night, charging $5 and checking ID’s at the front door. Around 40-50 people payed to see the show, and all the proceeds went to funding new equipment for their venue. “I think the night went pretty well. Being that it was our first show at this venue, I can’t complain about the volume we got.” Said housemate Dave Curran. Curran helps set up and manage the parties, a strategist of sorts. “House shows usually draw a more liberal crowd, so it’s important to have bands that they’ll like. The new fad is booking all female or all people of color bands.” Said Curran.
The residents of Stade D’amour have gone through a lot of trouble to cement themselves as one of the most consistent reliable house show venues in the city. In 2016, the members of Stade D’amour lived in a house on 16th and Girard, but after numerous noise complaints from neighbors, their landlord evicted them. Luckily, they were able to find refuge on 1626 Diamond Street, and have been trying to rebuild their brand ever since. “We were having a show every weekend. We would get about 100 people out to each show, and the bands that were preforming were higher profile,” Curran said, “We’re really lucky that [this house] was open, and honestly I think it’s a better place to run shows out of so we’re hopeful.”
Despite all of the risk that comes along with running these shows, the monetary incentive encourages hosting them. For young adults who are either in college or right out of college, hosting these shows can help supplement their income, considering most people of that age are in debt. Having a show once every week, Curran said they used make upwards of $300 – $500 a night on Girard. Multiply that by four, and they’re making an extra $2000 a month by hosting house shows. Throughout an entire year, that’s an extra $24,000 split between the three members of the house and the bands that play there. On the expenses side of things, they only have to spend money on buying equipment for their venue and buying alcohol for the shows. Curran divulged that their electric and gas bills do take a spike during the months where they have shows. “In the summer the electric bills can get kinda high,” said Romano, “usually the electric bill will be about $200 – $250. But the profits from the show can help offset those costs.”
All in all, the men of Stade D’amour are as much entrepreneurs as they are music junkies. Using their house as a business asset, they’re able to generate revenue and have fun, while not encumbering too much risk. Moving forward, the guys hope to build their new name up and bring in higher profile bands. With the house show market booming, there is nowhere to go but up.