In Akron, local musicians and music enthusiasts find any place they can to have a show. The porches of Highland Square see this every summer during the annual PorchRokr Festival. The basement of a house on Kling Street has been known for this for about 12 years.
A new group of local music supporters has hit the scene in the past year, organizing showcases for local musicians to play in unique venues.
Appropriately named “Alternative Attic,” the group has held shows in the basement of It’s a Kling Thing!, the Hive Mind, and most recently, the attic of the Oakdale House.
Alternative Attic, created by Adam Bonomo, is made up of a few media professionals who graduated from the University of Akron, who film each show and turn them into music videos.
Adam wanted to find a way to help Akron’s local musicians and play a role in the DIY scene.
“It’s sometimes a fine line between what you’ll hear in one of these basements and what you’ll hear on the radio, and it’s all about exposure. If I’m doing my due diligence to try to make sure people succeed, then I see no reason for them not to most of the time,” Adam says.
Adam became inspired when he went to his first DIY show.
“Whenever I went to my first DIY show and saw a show in the basement, it kind of highlighted to me that music can exist anywhere, and it’s all about the effort people are putting into it and supporting it.”
This effort embodies the spirit of Akron’s DIY scene, Adam explains.
“Akron’s DIY scene is pretty much just musicians and houses full of musicians putting on shows for everyday people that aren’t like necessarily venues. All that money gets recycled back into bands.”
This inspired him to “highlight that by having bands in the most uncomfortable places, such as my small apartment and the attic of some house I live in.”
Initially calling it Acoustic Attic, Adam wanted to have small acoustic shows in his apartment. However, when so many of his friends wanted to perform in an apartment that could host 10 people, he realized that he needed to make some changes.
“Nick Muffet of Small Mammal Records hit me up about having a show in a parking deck, and we had a show in the Spicer parking deck [near UA] and it was all acoustic acts. I guess that was the first showcase of music. I felt like it still held true to the [idea that] music can be held anywhere.”
Alternative Attic moved out of the parking deck to the Hive Mind, a community art space at 375 West Exchange Street. Since then, they have held shows and filmed music videos out of other venues, including It’s a Kling Thing! and the Oakdale House, both houses that operate as venues for local musicians.
These venues charge a small fee for the shows they put on, which is given to the bands and musicians that perform.
Alternative Attic shows have showcased a variety of talent, from rappers like Mo Turk to acoustic acts like Hayden Gilbert of Hayden Gilbert and The Ruckus.
“I usually try to make them all a similar genre, but sections of that genre in Akron. We really try to get some people from the DIY scene, the Highland scene, the Downtown Akron scene, and I feel like we did a good job of diversifying there,” Adam says.
Adam’s passion for Akron’s music scene began during his college career, when he started searching for local talent through the University’s student-run television show, Lowdown. He also worked as a DJ for WZIP’s Late Night Local Talent, which gives exposure to local musicians, usually rappers. He was inspired by “seeing how passionate they were and how grateful people were that you gave them an outlet to show their music to people.”
He encourages people to support local music at any and every venue. Dates and musicians for the next Alternative Attic showcase are still to be determined.
Follow Alternative Attic on Facebook at Facebook.com/AlternativeAttic or on Instagram at @alternativeattic.
Allyson’s background is in media production and anthropology. She loves coffee, cooking, traveling, and teaching people about things they didn’t know before.
Photos: Hayden Gilbert and Abby Ruggles perform at the Oakdale House. Photos used with permission from Adam Bonomo.