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Friday, June 17, 2011

Sewercide Mansion, the dirty palace

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 3:20 PM

A white picket fence in need of a paint job runs a ragged border along a lawn populated by 20-somethings clutching cans of cheap beer. Female-fronted punk comes screaming out of the basement’s large, propped doors. This is Sewercide Mansion.

The Queen City house show venue (329 Woodvale Place) has only been in existence for about six months but is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best underground spots to see both live and touring bands.

When I arrived for the latest of these shows, I was met by my friend Sydney Nieboer, who admonished me for once again missing her set – so far they have been primarily an opening act and I am late for everything. Nieboer fronts the local band Syd and The Lipshits and started Sewercide with Elijah von Cramon when they were both living at the house. Von Cramon, who fronts another local punk band, Paint Fumes, still lives at Sewercide and handles all the booking.

In addition to Syd and The Lipshits, this night’s bill included two Canadian bands, White Lung and Nü Sensae, and was rounded out by Charlotte’s own Brain F ? (pronounced Brain Flannel).

In addition to maintaining my reputation for being a flake by missing Syd and The Lipshits, I had also missed Nü Sensae, whose set had people talking. The two member band had apparently put on quite the show.

Luckily, I go to Sewercide as much for the people as the music. Forget people-watching, Sewercide is where you go to meet people. Not every show is a punk show, but they all have that same community vibe where most people would rather come up and introduce themselves than critique you from afar.

This is in large part due to the general, unpretentious atmosphere that comes as a result of huddling together in a dank, graffiti and bed sheet decorated basement, amid the smell of cigarette smoke and sweat. Uptown this is not.

Stepping into the basement to catch the rest of White Lung, I noticed this was one of the better attended Sewercide shows. The band was surrounded, only becoming visible for brief moments as bodies bounced off one another, sometimes bringing them face to brick with one of the basement’s several – hopefully soon to be padded – pillars.

That may sound violent, but it’s all done in the spirit of revelry. Whenever someone falls down, there’s always a pair of hands to help them back up and lead them out of the swirling pit if necessary.

Brain F ?closed out the night and I was glad to finally get to see them live. They became one of my favorite Charlotte bands based solely on the couple of songs they’ve posted online. Thankfully, their live performance held up and my high opinion of them remains intact.

They ended their set and everyone went back into the yard for one more cigarette and round of bullshitting. White Lung and Nü Sensae packed and loaded their gear as the local photographers who had taken it upon themselves to document the evening got a few last pictures for posterity’s sake.

I went upstairs to find the bathroom before locating the friend I’d arrived with to head back home. While I stood there humming a Brain F ? tune and emptying my bladder, I glanced over at the sink, painted with rust and blood, and realized that if The Milestone had an even dirtier little brother, it would go by the name Sewercide Mansion. And hanging out with him would almost always be a hell of a time.

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