Suburban Dropout | Photo Courtesy

While having a good time listening to a live music performance by a local band at a house show, Corinna Hall realized that she had become separated from the friends she had come with. It didn’t take long for those nearby to notice that she was alone, and they promptly welcomed her into their group. 

Hall said she spent the rest of the show hanging out with her new friends.

“Those that go to house shows tend to be some of the most friendly and welcoming people so if anything it’s an opportunity to make new friends,” Hall said. 

Communication studies sophomore Corinna Hall considers herself a “house show regular.” She said she sees them as a chance to connect with individuals who are deeply involved in the music scene in San Luis Obispo.

A house show is a type of live performance that takes place at an individual’s home, often in a living room or backyard. The atmosphere holds more of an intimate setting compared to a traditional concert venue since houses can limit capacity.

Electrical engineering sophomore Ryan Marienthal is an avid house show attendee who appreciates the DIY element. Opposed to a professional venue, which often hires people for sound and lighting, bands playing house shows are typically responsible for their setup.

“The DIY aspect of house shows is such a cool scene because there’s not too much incentive besides that everyone likes music,” Marienthal said. “Bands put their time and effort into making these shows happen for audiences”

Marienthal said he appreciates a great environment to experience music at a cheap price.

Information on entrance fees and locations is often distributed through social media.

Instagram account @slo.underground is a popular source regulars use to hunt down what house shows are happening in San Luis Obispo. The page posts e-flyers dedicated to any house shows going on in town. 

Bands are grateful for these people who support local artists at their house shows.

“Just the fact that you showed up means everything to anyone who’s playing,” said Luca Carnevale, bassist of local band Suburban Dropout.  

Suburban Dropout is a rare outlet for punk music in SLO. It consists of four members: vocalist Will Murph, guitarist Cooper Durkey, drummer Carl Ward, along with Carnevale on bass.

The band has been rapidly growing, attracting more and more of an audience to their shows. Ward said they started playing house shows to a group of about 25, and with each show, the crowd has been growing to 40, then to 50 audience members.

Although Carnevale said that they accept any and everyone at their house shows, bands and regulars expect attendees to understand a certain level of “etiquette.” 

“Don’t come to a house show expecting it to be a party,” Murph said.“The goal isn’t to get wasted, the goal is to have fun.” 

Murph said consuming large quantities of alcohol beforehand can also alter the functionality of the show. 

Hall said many people choose to consume alcohol at house shows, but drinking too much can ruin the experience.  

“You want to be able to be fully present in order to enjoy the music,” Hall said.  

Wardrobe is an essential part of the house show experience, according to Hall.

“When going to a house show it’s most important that you wear comfortable clothes, but also something that expresses your own personal style,” Hall said.

At a house show, the audience will be in close proximity to the band. Durkey said he suggests audience members bring earplugs to house shows.

Moshing is a common occurrence at shows. Murph said it can fuel the band’s and the crowd’s energy.

Durkey said some people that attend shows don’t know how to mosh properly.

“One of the things you have to keep in mind is to keep your elbows kind of tucked in and moving with the crowd and not try to fight it,” Durkey said. “That’s how you end up hurting people or hurting yourself.” 

For people in the audience who don’t want to participate in moshing, the back of the crowd is typically a safe space to enjoy the concert without physical interactions, Ward said.

“Moshing may not be fit for everyone; it’s always important to look out for those who need help,” Ward said. “If you see someone who is uncomfortable, make room for them.” 

House shows do not have any security so it’s up to the audience to look after one another to provide safety when needed.

When going to a house show it’s a must to respect the owner’s house the show takes place at, Murph said. 

“Do not smoke inside, go into rooms that are closed, or touch anything you’re not supposed to,” Murph said.

As house shows are compact, being aware of your surroundings is essential as accidents may happen.

Murph said a “good rule of thumb” is to avoid getting too close to the performers as you might fall on top of them. 

“People have fallen through drum kits that have sharp edges and the drummer may still be drumming and accidentally hits you,” Murph said. 

Suburban Dropout band members said the audience is more than welcome to help clean up after the show.

With these cautions in mind, bands and house show attendees share a common goal: to connect. Members of Suburban Dropout said that is their favorite part about these small, local venues. 

“It’s like a community,” Cooper Durkey said. “You see a lot of the same faces at a lot of shows. You go with your buddies and you get to know people.”