I really think that Exit Only is a great idea. Though not enough of a youngling anymore that I can't go to bar shows, I sure remember the feeling - standing outside the back door of Berbati's to catch a glimpse of the High Llamas because the only all-ages shows were in the punk and hardcore scene that I had no interest in or at house shows I wasn't cool enough to know about - and hey, a warehouse, where bands play all ages shows for cheap? this sounds like a great idea. The location, while it feels remote, really is pretty close in (like a block away from the yellow line max, or two blocks off the Fremont busline) and since it's in a weird industrial area you don't have to worry about fussy neighbors.
Unfortunately, when I played there on Friday with New Century Schoolbook, I discovered that the reality has a number of failings.
Yeah, I expect a warehouse to be sort of stark and dirty, but it's so much this way as to be kind of depressing. Employ a broom, and put something on the walls, even if it's only butcher paper.
Also, on arriving (a bit later than the rest of the band, they usually let me show up late because I have really minimal gear. I was smart to be a flute player.) I found it almost impossible to figure out who, if anyone, was kind of "in charge." There were three guys standing in the entryway who paid just about no attention to me at all while I wandered in looking for my band and making sure I was in the right place.
The PA kind of sucked, and they only had one microphone. Fortunately we were able to borrow a second mic from the Raggedy Anns, (who I unfortunately didn't see, since I had to go answer phones for Tri Met at 9 in the morning the next day)
Now, I can also understand not having a lot of gear. Gear ain't free, after all. But you know, they could have told us ahead of time "Hey, we only have this one amp & head and one mic, you might want to bring some stuff if you need more than that."
Apart from some technical difficulties the show went pretty well, and the audience was into it.
Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means trying to talk shit. I think Exit Only is a great idea in a good space. but they need a wakeup call. If they had a little better organization - someone there to greet band members and tell them what's up who was easy to find (there was a guy there, I just had a devil of a time locating him) maybe invest in a little bit of gear and at least be really up front about what gear they have, and decorate a bit, they could be something really cool. and we all know there's a need for cool all-ages spaces in this town. Go the extra mile, fill that need.