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Bronx Church Celebrates 10 Years of Alternative Music

(Photo: Annette Siguenza)

by Annette Siguenza

Bronx Journal Staff Writer

People of all ages gathered outside a local Bronx church on a recent Friday night. Dressed in their “Sunday best” – Converse sneakers, fitted jeans, baggy skater t-shirts – they came to experience what some say is the “best rock scene on the East Coast.”

The concerts, which started in 2000, are organized by the Bronx Underground (BXUG) a do-it-yourself booking and promotional company that caters to the rock sub-genres of music and art expression. Three hundred energetic fans attended their 10th year anniversary show of local Indie Punk, and Hardcore bands on October 8th at the First Lutheran Church in Throgs Neck.

(Photo: Annette Siguenza)

Ten years ago, the Bronx music scene was not cohesive, said co-founder Anita Colby. “The rock scene in the Bronx was located at a bar, so people of all ages couldn’t attend. People would show up, then leave after one band.” Thus a decade ago, Colby, 30, along with childhood friends and local band members Adam Fachler, 29, and Dave Rose, 31 formed BXUG.

The first BXUG show was underneath a nautical museum at a community center at City Island. Eventually BXUG found its home in another, literally, “underground” location—in the basement of the First Lutheran Church (FLC) across from the Throgs Neck Expressway where co-founders Colby and Rose went to nursery school together. The BXUG has been with the church for six years. Bronx natives and outsiders now know FLC as a safe, alcohol-free venue where they can have a fun, rebellious time.

(Photo: Annette Siguenza)

“This place provides a safe environment where kids are off the streets for a few hours,” said Lady Derrion, mother of trumpet player Omar Reyes from What’s Your Problem Brian. Parents need not to worry. Amid the kids are 20 staff members — some are at the entrance checking bags and scanning with metal detectors.

A typical crowd of 300 people attends these shows, regardless of who is playing. “An amazing mixture creates this scene,” said Colby. “The kids want to see awesome bands and have a good time.”

(Photo: Annette Siguenza)

And so they did. Local musicians like Frantic Ian gave heartfelt acoustic performances. He was followed by hardcore guitar swinging bands like Turns to Fall. Then came classic rock and roll from The Kezners and a raw in-your-face performance by How I Became a Pirate, with a powerful vocalist who sang without a microphone or shirt.

Bystanders watched as youths thrashed against each other and formed a mosh-pit center floor. The last band of the night, Dibs on Anthony/A Moment’s Worth, had the crowd voting on which song to play next. Fans and friends on and off stage sang in unison with catchy punk rock songs like “6am.”

The musicians mingled with the crowd or watched their longtime friends perform. Co-founder Rose showed his talents with the bass guitar and Fachler played the drums for singer/songwriter Drew Torres. Colby performed her cheerful retro-pop sounds with the saxophone and Fachler was on the bass guitar for What’s Your Problem Brian.  The band’s female punk vocalist Andrea Vitale reunited to play their signature 90’s ska-rock music.

(Photo: Annette Siguenza)

The company has encouraged talent of all music genres to book with them. Colby said they don’t charge bands, even though other booking companies bargain with talent to sell certain amount of tickets in order to get paid.

“Bands get paid regardless,” she said. “As people in bands we don’t think it’s right to charge.”

BXUG also co-owns a rehearsal studio on Eastchester Road known as the Underground Music Studios, which accommodates space for local bands and musicians to practice for hourly and monthly rentals, starting at $500 a month and $25 per hour.

As a result of BXUG, businesses were born such as Land of Cake Believe bakery, Regret Clothing and Love Tokyo jewelry. These small companies have profited from vending at the shows.

Colby said non-profit organizations like The Bronx Council on the Arts have partnered with BXUG, holding free shows in Westchester Square and Orchard Beach. “Sponsored shows like this can give free shows to the community,” said Colby. Asked about the future of BXUG, Colby said she hopes to hold more benefit shows in the Bronx.

After 10 years, this Bronx musical underground community is thriving. The First Lutheran Church lends a homey vibe for all ages to enjoy.

“[FLC] is a positive place for people with like-minds to make new friendships,” said Colby.

(Photo: Annette Siguenza)

One Response to Bronx Church Celebrates 10 Years of Alternative Music

  1. kompresory śrubowe August 15, 2011 at 12:44 am

    The article you wrote is really interesting.

    Reply

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