Punk house going strong

Inside local Eugene punk scene

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A local punk site called Ant House hosted musical guests Nopes, Critical Shakes, Brother Husbands, and Free Sex on Thursday, Oct. 6.

The band Cunt Surfer has changed their name to Brother Husbands because they didn’t want to have difficulty talking about their band, or be labeled misogynists, because of their name.

The house has been throwing basement shows for almost three years and has done so without complaint or police harassment, uncommon in the punk scene. On the edge of Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood, their location between two highways makes them immune to noise complaints.

Residents share rooms upstairs and the shows rage in the basement. The performance area is the standard low ceiling affair with intervening ductwork and the typical mold and beer aroma. The residents have put some solid work into their lighting and effects. They have also produced an illuminated “Ant House” sign, the hallmark of the house, which lights u at the back of the stage.

The sound is good for a basement show and the house even goes out of its way to provide earplugs. However, like most small shows, the press of bodies watching the bands does the best job of muffling sharp sound.

About 40-50 people can listen to a band and the mosh pit edict is great for the amount of people involved. When most people go to a punk show a solid mosh pit is typically what they are looking for and on this, the Ant House delivers.  All genders seemed comfortable in the press of the pit and audience participation was high.

They heavily produce and distribute impressive handbills and one can typically find their fliers posted in downtown Eugene. Only throwing shows monthly is a sign that these punks understand the importance of moderation so the house doesn’t bear the apocalyptic wear and tear of punk houses that are perpetually in venue mode. Residents say that Ant House is a house where people live and not a music venue. That being said, there is some great music going on there.

Critical Shakes, Brother Husbands and Free Sex all have band members who are currently or formerly living at the house.  The Nopes came up from the Bay Area for the show and a hat got passed around for their gas money.

The music scene at Ant House is decidedly punk but it does have an Indie variety common to most open-minded music scenes. Free Sex stuck out most but the band overflows with a character so hilarious that it could be mistaken for a comedy act.

What isn’t evident is the politics of Ant House. This can be very important in the punk scene where sub-currents of fascism and white supremacy can lurk. Fortunately, there wasn’t any sign of that.  A couple of patched up dudes had the usual counterculture and anti-fascists iconography clearly displayed.

House members also have a handle on do-it-yourself production and one can see a large screen-printing carousel in the basement. Local bands are flush with patches and buttons made at Ant House.

The Ant House put on a great show on Thursday and if you are looking for a hot, sweaty, loud mosh pit to dance around in, Ant House is the place to be. Bring a couple of bucks for the touring band’s gas tank, empty your pocket of change for some patches and buttons, and most of all BYOB.

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