1st Edition

DIY House Shows and Music Venues in the US Ethnographic Explorations of Place and Community

By David Verbuč Copyright 2022
    282 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    282 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    DIY House Shows and Music Venues in the US is an interdisciplinary study of house concerts and other types of DIY ("do- it- yourself") music venues and events in the United States, such as warehouses, all- ages clubs, and guerrilla shows, with its primary focus on West Coast American DIY locales. It approaches the subject not only through a cultural analysis of sound and discourse, as it is common in popular music studies, but primarily through an ethnographic examination of place, space, and community. Focusing on DIY houses, music venues, social spaces, and local and translocal cultural geographies, the author examines how American DIY communities constitute themselves in relation to their social and spatial environment. The ethnographic approach shows the inner workings of American DIY culture, and how the particular people within particular places strive to achieve a social ideal of an "intimate" community. This research contributes to the sparse range of Western popular music studies (especially regarding rock, punk, and experimental music) that approach their subject matter through a participatory ethnographic research.

    Introduction. Material and spatial constitution of DIY communities in the US.
    PART ONE: Physical place and social space of DIY music venues in the US
    Chapter One. Physical place and DIY house shows in the US
    Chapter Two. Social space and DIY venues in the US
    Chapter Three. Private and public aspects of DIY spaces and shows
    PART TWO: Geographic place and DIY venues and scenes in the US
    Chapter Four. Small college town DIY scenes: Davis and Olympia
    Chapter Five. Two Urban DIY Scenes: Portland, and Oakland
    Chapter Six. Sprawling metropolis: Los Angeles, and its fragmented DIY scenes
    PART THREE: Spatial constitution of DIY scenes and communities in the US
    Chapter Seven. DIY individuals, music groups, houses, and shows: assembling the local DIY community
    Chapter Eight. DIY touring practices: assembling the translocal DIY community
    Audio and video sources


    David Verbuč is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

    “David Verbuč’s book DIY House Shows and Music Venues in the US skilfully demonstrates […] that novel and insightful writing about US West Coast music is feasible if one dares to stay off the beaten path. […] Verbuč has written an insightful and timely book that excellently counterpoints the insider’s view from a borrowed sleeping bag on a sticky carpet with analytical considerations on the significance of place, space and material agency for DIY music practice.” 

    Benjamin Duester (in Popular Music, published online 2024)

    "Focusing on the materiality of social and cultural relations among American DIY scenes through a theoretical framework that includes theories of place, materiality, intimacy, [...] the author is opening a space for new perspectives of materiality and affect which are closely interlinked through intimacy, and through the social aspects of music. This book therefore represents a significant contribution to the studies of popular music, as well as a valuable reading for researchers from related scholarly disciplines." 

    Tanja Halužan (in Narodna umjetnost: hrvatski časopis za etnologiju i folkloristiku, 60/1, 2023)


    "Verbuč’s book is refreshing in its focus on the cultures surrounding the music rather than the actual sounds [...] This section [on how geography affects DIY scenes in the United States] was particularly engaging, as Verbuč’s ethnography allows the reader to really observe how each city, and each individual music scene (metal, indie, electronic, experimental, punk) within each city, is its own microcosm [...] DIY House Shows offers an important starting point for scholars looking to explore DIY music in the United States. Verbuč is methodical in discussing how gender, race and/or immigration, sexuality, economics, and class affect each of these communities."

    Aram Bajakian (in Popular Music and Society, 46/4, 2023)

    "This book is not just a dry reflection/examination of space but is instead a ‘hands on’ exploration of individuals, both punk and non-punk. Indeed, a key strength of the volume lies in Verbuč’s prose being easily accessible and succinct [...] Sometimes methodology – and specifically the use of ‘theory’ – is used as a ‘bolt on’, a means of over-academicizing the text: but this certainly not the case in this regard. This volume, therefore, stands as both a source book for DIY house shows, and an excellent example of the understanding, conceptualization and application of methodology and punk.

    Mike Dines (in Punk & Post-Punk 12/2, 2023)

    "Theoretical and analytical passages of the text alternate with ethnographic moments that eloquently illustrate the argumentation. The book has a thoroughly thought-out structure, a high-quality theoretical foundation, and is based on a solid methodology." 

    Zita Skořepová (in Český Lid, 109/2, 2022)

    "By examining less visible and so far overlooked music worlds, David Verbuč in his excellent book illuminates those aspects of music practice, which we in Europe until now treated as self-evidently American, without realizing how hard-earned they actually are. I need to especially emphasize his attentiveness to the women's perspective and the perspective of those, who in the more egalitarian communities, removed from the dominant hierarchical norms, also feel oppressed."

    Rajko Muršič (in Glasnik, the Bulletin of the Slovenian Ethnological Society, 62/1 2022)