April 14, 2015
The Odd Room is an unassuming double-duplex situated perfectly between NoDa and Plaza Midwood that allows musicians of all backgrounds and origins to play a venue-worthy house show. Each show at The Odd Room leaves its crowd with a unique feeling, specifically, they get what they put in… as long as they recycle those empty cans and, you know, don’t track mud in. Be cool. Shows have full capacity to get rowdy (full-room moshes) or stay intimate underneath the venue’s ambient white rope lighting. The crowd dictates the energy and the crowd is there solely to have a good time, support friends and show respect to the artists playing. Respect, friendship and community play a heavy role in shows at The Odd Room and that’s what makes it extra special. Maybe that’s because most of the people throwing shows at the venue either live there, used to live there or are part of a tight group of friends dubbed the Odd Boy Collective, aiming to cultivate, support and nourish the music scene here in Charlotte in their own unique way.
Catch New Orleans touring band Mystic Inane (Negative Jazz Records) with local support from Patois Counselors on Wednesday, April 15. Mystic Inane is a sludgy, psychedelic trip while sitting in a shag-carpeted garage. Their music is the auditory version of playing lights against shadows in a gritty alleyway; dark and traumatized fuzz with deeply distorted fantastical elements. Local favorites Patois Counselors will open the tone of the night up with their erratic, twisting take on punk. Harnessing both the frazzled driving of early Dinosaur Jr and the churning angst of Mission of Burma, Patois Counselors capture and retaliate against post-punk stagnation. I spoke with Michael Kuhn, an Odd Boy himself, to get inside information on the Collective and The Odd Room.
CLTure: Who makes up the Odd Boy Collective and how long has this been going on?
Michael Kuhn: The Oddboy Collective is comprised of Mike Rice, Jarrod Hayslette, myself, and the Oddboy Army. It started with Mike and Jarrod’s brainchild as a zine to promote and cover local bands in the Charlotte music scene and North Carolina as a whole. Though we have yet to produce a physical product, the Collective has mainly been a collection of interviews in the form of an online blog for the time being. They published the first article back in October of 2014 in lieu of Terrence and Phil’s (Junior Astronomers) Birthday Show at the Neighborhood Theatre. Since then I’ve just been trying to help out in any way I can from setting up house shows, taking pictures and sending emails, just the dirty work.
CLTure: Can you describe what motivating forces prompted the Collective to form and start creating these house shows?
MK: The Odd Room and the Oddboy Collective really started as two separate entities. Jarrod and I started booking shows at our house to help out our friends’ bands back in September 2014. We really wanted a place that was both a solid show space and a haven for bands to hang out and crash at while passing through Charlotte. The Oddboy Collective started, like I said, as coverage for the local Charlotte music scene and North Carolina as well. It made sense to kind of combine the two or at least have the Oddboy Collective as a brand for the shows to be represented under. We really just want to try and create more of the already existing sense of community in Charlotte that out-of-town bands and show-goers can recognize. I guess our motivating force is to do something we are proud of and that represents Charlotte in the best way possible.
CLTure: Do you feel that the original vision of what the Collective wanted to contribute to the scene is still flourishing?
MK: I think that our original purpose is still very much alive and even more now than ever. The Oddboy Collective is a very new project and not yet as well known, so we haven’t gotten distracted from our original goal. The physical zine is still in the works, we are just trying to plant some roots and get a foundation going first.
CLTure: What aspects within the community do you believe support the Collective in their DIY, all-hands-on-deck and, most of all, respectful attitude that the Odd Boys and friends exhibit?
MK: I think the biggest thing is support in itself. Though we reach a very small audience we wouldn’t be anything without people going to shows or being interested in the bands or just showing support in any way possible. That’s pretty much what a DIY community is, people giving a shit and sincerely caring about the music and trying to improve it for the better. It’s all about being proactive and “doing it yourself,” because if you don’t who will?
CLTure: How exactly does the Odd Room attract such great touring bands?
MK: Honestly, everyone who has played the house has either been our friends or friends of friends. We are kind of friendly people. Between the amount of people Jarrod has befriended on tour over the past few years and everyone I’ve met through Oddczar and Girl Pants, there’s a long list. We’re really just trying to help out our friends and make some new ones too.
CLTure: What has been, for you, the most memorable show at the Odd Room?
MK: The most memorable show for me so far was probably our first show at the house with Prawn. It was a super last minute, thrown together show on an off-date Prawn had on their Topshelf Tour back in September. Girl Pants played and surprisingly we had a really good turn-out for it being the first house show, and on such short notice too. I think we broke the Internet that week from the spam of all our dumb flyers and Instagram posts we made while promoting it. It was just a lot of fun seeing those dudes and the amount of people in the Charlotte music scene that actually gave a shit about what we were doing and showing their support for the bands.
CLTure: What has been the most significant and worthy thing you’ve learned from not just being part of the Collective and throwing shows, but also your consistent and admired contributions to the scene as a whole?
MK: Respect. It’s kind of something people look past these days. It’s not about how long you’ve been in a scene or a band or gone to shows. It’s not about paying your dues or who you know. If you don’t show respect don’t expect to receive it or get anywhere. That’s the biggest thing for me and it goes a long way.
CLTure: Are there any sort of binding aspects or a code amongst all the Odd Boys to ensure maximum and genuine oddness at all times?
MK: Just a few unwritten, unspoken words. Always make time for B time (inside joke). Stay wet, stay weird. You do you. Keep music evil. \ If you follow these words you’re an official Odd Boy or girl.
CLTure: Do the Odd Boys have anything in the works regarding future projects or frontiers?
MK: Our future plans and endeavors include continuing to do the same thing we are doing, and just working our way onto a bigger scale and picking up publicity as we go. A physical copy is definitely still a goal of ours that we are very much working towards. The Odd Room has a lot of really cool shows coming up and even more in the works. We continue to promote our friend’s bands and back those who we truly support. There is a lot to do and we are only just getting started.