Concert Review

Concert Review: Trunk Space Fest

Mercifully, it appears as though reports of downtown Phoenix art space and performance venue's impending demise are prove to be mildly exaggerated, as co-owners JRC and Stephanie Carrico believe their establishment has been weathering a recent financial nightmare and will continue to exist in the coming months.

And such a situation is due, in part, to the outpouring of support that the venue has received over the past few weeks, including last night's well-attended Trunk Space Fest. Close to a hundred locals came out to the fundraiser, which also served as a reunion and homecoming for a few bygone bands and performance acts that were one-time regulars of the Trunk Space, including ska act The Dietrichs, indie rock trio Budget Sinatra, and kooky comedy troupe Uncle Sku's Clubhouse.

It was a unique experience for myself getting to watch The Dietrichs and Budget Sinatra perform, as both broke up before I ever got the chance to see them live. Each band was in rare form last night, providing energetic sets. The other acts on the bill (including Chinacat Sunflower, The Shaving Party, and Djentrification) also failed to dissapoint.

JRC was a little bit harried as he bounced around his venue running the soundboard and running the event along with Carrico, but at the same time he seemed to enjoy the night and all the love their venue was receiving.

He explained to me that their recent money crunch resulted from three or four bad months during the fall where it seemed like few people were showing up for gigs. Adding to this financial debacle were some unforeseen problems (including an unruly patron from the neighboring Bikini Lounge who shattered one of the Trunk Space's plate glass windows), which drained their savings account.

Thanks to a recent anonymous donation of $500 via PayPal, in addition to Saturday night's benefit, both JRC and Carrico believe they'll be able to survive well into 2010, when things should pick up for the Trunk Space.

They've got some rather cool shows scheduled for the coming months: infamous Flagstaff one-man act I Hate You When You're Pregnant is making a return to the space on January 23, and the Dead Milkmen's Joe Jack Talcum will perform on February 2. JRC also told me they've also gotten a few acts who'd normally appear at Modified Arts beating a path to their door, plus the fact that March is practically booked solid with bands going to and coming from the annual SXSW.

But even with all this good news on the horizon, it doesn't mean that you, the local music fan should only pay a visit to the place for just these big shows. Any number of lesser-known bands also need support as well, and if you want indie venues like the Trunk Space to continue to exist, y'all need to do your part as well.

Before I finish my didactic soapboxing, I'd like to revisit a post made by Valley rock promoter Vil Vodka over on AZP Withdrawal right after the Ruby Room closed last month:

"If you really like some of the venues still standing...then please support them. Book your band/show there. Eat there. Drink there. Discover new bands there. Stop turning sports bars into rocknroll venues. There are still plenty of places for your band to play at that you dont have to create a new spot..."


Critic's Notebook

Last Night: Trunk Space Fest at the Trunk Space.

Personal Bias: I live in the same apartment building as JRC.

Better than: Hanging with drunk hipsters at Shady's.

Random Fact: Budget Sinatra's last performance was back in 2004.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.