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All-ages column

I’m Lauren Napier

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Well. Let’s see. Who am I? I’m Lauren Napier. Tour manager, merch girl, music journalist, cellist and general nerd. You can attempt to read between the lines, but what it all comes down to is music is the soundtrack to my life. I ask the questions. It gives me the answers.

Somewhere in between is a stream of rock and roll, sleazy clubs, and all-ages venues. Rock and roll runs in my veins from my head down to my cowboy boot-clad toes. Sleazy clubs tend to get old after awhile: the smell of stale beer, the creepy glam-rock washouts, the drink-carriers that — caught up in the music — spill sticky sweet liquids on your shoes or brand new skinny jeans.

All-ages venues have been my home for quite some time: most of the bands I tour with play them, most of the bands I interview play them, and most of the bands I listen to and love play them. And as long as there is a local scene and there are local kids who want to feel the music, there will be a need for all-ages venues. It’s an undeniable need. And it’s sometimes seemingly unattainable. So every week, within the pages of the Weekly Volcano, I’ll be bringing readers an intimate glimpse into the entity that is the all-ages scene in the South Sound through my column, Rockin’ the Cradle.

It takes a community willing to work together to give the youth a place to congregate. It takes a collective effort, and a conscience one at that, to keep the all-ages scene from drying up and becoming nothing but a withered memory stored in our nostalgia. What happened to the days when those under that magical entry number of twenty-one packed inside churches, basements, warehouses, or other nonconventional venues just for the sake of music?

After talking to a couple of local bands and all-ages show attendees, it’s apparent that there is a fan base, that there is a need, and that there is willing support from both sides of the conundrum. These Endless Skies, a blistering grindcore band from Puyallup, say that they just want “respect” from the scene and an active interest from the kids who “should be encouraged to listen around for bands they might like, rather than going to shows because their friends are playing them and leaving right after said band plays.”

It’s not all about hype … it’s about discovering something for yourself, regardless of your preferred genre.

The only way to make the all-ages scene grow is to support it. Break out of the genre-boxes and realize that your peers need the listening power of your ears.

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