Back to Archives

Adrian's legacy

Sound Check: One man’s church basement is another man’s pocket money.

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Club Adrian is what you might call the underdog of the Tacoma underage music scene — not quite as hip as Viaduct nor as publicized as Club Impact, but none the less frequented in droves by scenesters of the local all-ages music scene. I’ve often heard rumors of its existence, but never the whole story. Legend has it that the club exists in the basement of a church but rocks as hard as any nightclub. This week I discovered the truth behind the myth.

Once upon a time, way back in the year 2002, a boy named Adrian (last name omitted for privacy and because he could not be reached for comment) asked the Rev. Joy Cooley McDonald if he could put on a rock show in the basement of Asbury Methodist Church. He thought it would be a great place for live music since the church already had a stage and all of the necessary sound and lighting equipment. Thinking this could be a good thing for the underage kids in her community, the reverend agreed, and it became a regular Friday night occurrence.

“It was his dream to put on these concerts,” says Cooley McDonald. “It was a way for him to make extra money — when you’re in high school, that’s not always an easy thing to do.”

Adrian ran the club for three years and then went off to college at Seattle Pacific University where he is a junior. Cooley McDonald feels his experience running Club Adrian helped him to attain the Bill Gates Scholarship that helps to pay for his education. She says having Club Adrian on his application showed that he was experienced, creative and responsible.

Throughout the years since he left, the torch has been passed several times. Now the job has landed in the capable hands of Bre Williams, the youngest person to ever run the club.

Cooley McDonald says that typically the people chosen to run the club have been 16 or 17 years old. Williams is just 15 and a half. She began running it in September of 2007.

“Bre came in as a volunteer, and when the person handling the booking before her decided to move on, Bre asked if she could take it on. We think she’s doing a very good job,” says Cooley McDonald.

Though the club does not preach to the kids who come to the shows, a certain degree of good conduct is expected. “Kids do have to follow the rules of the church such as no lewd behavior, no cussing and no drugs or alcohol,” Williams says.

Why allow a loud and raucous venue in a sacred place like a church? Cooley McDonald says, “It’s important because young people are often disconnected from the traditional institution of church. I hope that at some point in their lives they will look back and think that the church had an impact in their lives just by being there. Ours is a ministry of presence. It’s an incredible, positive thing for kids to do on Friday nights. It’s a very positive environment.”

How does it compare to other all-ages venues in the area? Williams, who also volunteers at Club Impact on Saturday nights, says the dance floor and the stage at Club Adrian are bigger than at Club Impact. She explains that the venue is similar to a small school gymnasium with the same type of flooring. The size is comparable to Viaduct, another all-ages venue that is within walking distance of Club Adrian. She says, “At Club Adrian there is also a lounge in the back for kids to hang out.”

While some say that the sound at Club Adrian is not as good as its competition, Cooley McDonald says, “We are always looking for ways to improve our sound systems.”

The reverend splits the door money between the bands, the sound man and Williams.

Patrons are asked who they came to see in order to make the distribution of funds fair, but efforts are made so no one goes away empty-handed. Even if a band doesn’t draw a single person, they are still at least given gas money.

“We try to make sure everyone gets paid something” says Williams.

Most shows are hardcore, metal and punk, but this Friday it’s all indie bands with As Far as Foxes Go, A Life Worth Living, Sunset at the Cinema, Gryphon, and Taylour Makes Music.

For more information, visit

[Club Adrian, basement of Asbury Methodist Church, Friday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m., all ages, $6, 5601 S. Puget Sound St., Tacoma, 253.472.4239]

My name is Angie and I’m just a shot away — If you can’t rock me, somebody will.

Comments for "Adrian's legacy"

Comments for this article are currently closed.