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The Viaduct

An all-ages venue on South Tacoma Way

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The venues within the all-ages scene tend to shift, either within a certain genre focus due to popular music trends, or in location — all together due to lack of community support and funds. And even if a venue does stay put, it’s hard to draw out the youth — unless it is a show in which they are specifically interested. What happened to the days when people came to simply check out a new band or just to see a show on (insert day of week) because the doors were open and the music available? There are some staples in the scene here in the South Sound, both on an individual and a community basis. Cameron Black, an active member of the all-ages scene at various venues and in various facets, and the Viaduct, an all-ages venue on South Tacoma Way, are two of those staples that have stayed true to the all-ages philosophy despite recurrent setbacks and persistent difficulties.

Black, accompanied by his daughter, Hope, sat down with me over a meal to discuss both his role and the role of the Viaduct in past efforts and current endeavors.

The Viaduct had its first show on Dec. 7, 2007; at least at their spot on South Tacoma Way. Before its current home, the venue called the Nalley Home.

 “(The club was) under the viaduct … it was a really run-down building and (they) could never get it approved” explains Black. “The landlord was sketchy … and we found a new spot on South Tacoma Way and decided since we already had the MySpace built for the Viaduct we would keep the name even though it was nowhere near the viaduct.”

Prior to the Viaduct’s existence, “Wherever a show could happen, it was going to be booked,” says Black — and the shows were booked in the oddest places, addresses constantly changing due to lack of funds, noise complaints, lack of permits, and a slew of other impediments. Black’s original task was as an electrician at the venue; his day job came in handy as he did the electrical work on the new all-ages spot that was soon to become an important cog in Tacoma’s all-ages scene.

Now the Viaduct is shaping up, but is still not making the funds that it needs to support its cause and to maintain a place for underagers to check out a show. The venue is volunteer-run; no one is getting paid. The money goes to overhead costs and to pay the bands. The best thing you can do to help the venue is to talk about it. Word of mouth is the best way to get people interested, explains Black. Or “stop by the venue and pick up some flyers.”

Or even volunteer at the venue and help out firsthand.  But make your presence known. Make it known that you appreciate the Viaduct’s existence in the all-ages world. Because in the schema of the music scene here in the South Sound, all-ages has its own heartbeat, and the Viaduct is pumping blood into the living entity that is the local all-ages scene.

[The Viaduct, 5412 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma,]

Viaduct’s weekend shows

Friday, Feb. 27, 6 p.m., $8

Living With Lions, All Teeth, Rebuilt, Hear The Sirens, Cool Runnings, At Night, To New Beginnings

Saturday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m., $8

The Gypsies, H.P.P., Urn Fire, Fist Fite, Total Wreck

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