The large, 120-year-old brick home on South Grant Street is much more than an IU off-campus rental property. To some, it’s the headquarters of the underground Bloomington music scene.
An Oct. 13 shooting that left two victims injured, including an IU freshman, outside of the homecoming party being thrown at the Brickhouse has thrust both the home and the music scene into the public eye.
The Brickhouse has served as the venue of countless house shows, but the university will end the tenants’ lease Friday through a mutual termination agreement. Grant Mitchell, IU senior and Brickhouse resident, said he and his roommates were told by the university they created an environment where a shooting could occur at their party.
Mitchell will now have to balance his 20-credit-hour schedule with moving out. He said he doesn’t know where he’ll be living this weekend or for the rest of the year.
Gus Gonzalez, guitarist and vocalist of the Bloomington-based band Flower Mouth, said losing the Brickhouse would remove a cultural hub for thousands of people.
“Every bit of me wants to say it would kill us,” Gonzalez said. “They’re taking down our HQ — it’s an attack on us.”
IU sophomore Ally Knox said she thinks the amount of house shows at other venues will decrease with the loss of the Brickhouse because of how influential it was.
Gonzalez said he’ll remember the Brickhouse for the rest of his life because it was his introduction to the “do-it-yourself” music scene.
“It’s an essential part of the underground community,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a whole lot more than just a party house.”
Gonzalez said the DIY music scene involves taking basements and turning them into music venues. He said it turns homes into public spaces that create a sense of belonging.
The Brickhouse is a great venue for house shows because of its size, Gonzalez said. The home is over 2,000 square feet and features a very large basement and is close to campus.
Gonzalez said although the renters of the Brickhouse change, everyone that moves into the home knows its place within the Bloomington music scene.
“No one’s going to move into the Brickhouse just thinking they’re going to be living in a normal space,” Gonzalez said. “It’s very much known among our scene as the capital.”
IU sophomore Kiah Myers was introduced to the Bloomington music scene at the beginning of her freshman year and has been going to shows at the Brickhouse for over a year. Myers subleased a room in the Brickhouse for two months this summer after seeing an ad in IU Classifieds.
Myers said it is an honor to live in the Brickhouse, and she felt special sitting on its large front porch.
She said the residents of the Brickhouse open their home to the community. While she lived there, Myers said the Brickhouse put on two shows, and she organized various craft nights.
“It was more of a community space than a home,” Myers said.
Myers said the history of the DIY music scene isn’t well recorded, but she was told by someone that one of their parents attended a show at the Brickhouse in 1979. She said the shows at the Brickhouse during the 1980s were exclusively punk rock.
“This an old thing,” Myers said.
Myers said the Bloomington music scene is a very positive environment that doesn’t focus on profit. She said there are rarely door charges to enter shows, and they often put on charity shows. Myers said attendees are usually encouraged to tip the band.
“Our community is a positive place, and the Brickhouse is an anchor for that positivity,” Myers said.
Knox said the Brickhouse is one of her favorite houses to go to shows at. She said the people at the Brickhouse mean a lot to her, and it's a place of comfort and safety.
“They provide a really safe place for people to have a good time and listen to music,” Knox said.
Gonzalez said he worries about the future of the Bloomington music scene without the venue.
“There could be a chance that we never see a house show there again,” Gonzalez said. “It’s pretty shameful to me that they’re neglecting the sentimental value that home has to thousands of people.”
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