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The Den

All-ages scene

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You walk through urbanXchange’s hip, second-hand boutique. You take a few more steps and there is a record shop. You walk yet farther and there is a small hair studio. The structure continues, and there is a tea bar still under construction and then a stage shows itself against the very back wall. If that’s not enough art stimulation for you, there’s a gallery wall on the backside as well. It’s a space where Tacoma can satisfy its need for artistic nourishment and enjoy an all-ages venue.

And that art-infused venue is called The Den. Nestled behind urbanXchange on Pacific Avenue, the name is apropos. Allegra Oxborough, promoter and booking agent, is a Minneapolis transplant to the South Sound, but is certainly no novice to the chaotic music scene and the special scheduling challenges that accompanies it. The Den is Oxborough’s newest venture, and the venue’s opening show on Feb. 7 consisted of Mount Eerie, Calvin Johnson, Karl Blau and Kusikia. The donation-suggested entry fee was a subtle yet inspired strategy implemented in the hopes that the audience would be generous, realizing that the costs of running a venue are considerable.

The Den, in the words of Oxborough, is an establishment that will provide a location for the “outpouring of art and a desire for music and art from young people.”

“(Tacoma has) so much artistic energy bubbling up and definitely not enough (all-ages) venues for people to put energy into,” Oxborough continues.

Something has to counter the heavy bar scene and the metal presence that is running rampant in Tacoma. This was clearly supported by the packed turnout at the grand opening. “People are just starving for this kind of energy,” says Oxborough — and The Den plans to feed the hunger with an all-ages audience atmosphere.

There are many variables that fuel the all-ages scene: efforts that will make its living, breathing entity a raging actuality. But unfortunately one of those challenges is money. “People have to be willing to support youth and artists that come in with ticket sales. And I think that that is the hardest to get through to people,” notes Oxborough. The shows have to be accessible to students and younger music enthusiasts who might not have disposable income within their grasp, but at the same time the cash picked up from ticket sales has to be enough to fund the next show. A difficult conundrum, yet one that the all-ages scene can overcome; a feat that it is forced to repeat time and obstacle again.

This Saturday, Feb. 14, The Den will host PWRFL POWER, Sugar Beats, the Pact and The Drug Purse.

[The Den inside urbanXchange, Saturday, Feb. 14, 8 p.m., $6, 934 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.2280]

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