DIY performance house Space Camp packs it in

DIY performance house Space Camp packs it in

After two years of hosting 100+ live bands and acoustic sets, the student-led concert venue prepares for its last show.
Published: May 4, 2018
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Almost every weekend in a university area house, musicians and appreciators alike pack into a basement to dance, sweat, listen, and perform live. The two-story, sage green home, otherwise known as Space Camp, has been a destination for DIY bands to share their sounds for nearly two years. The music comes to an end with its Final Spaze Jam this Saturday.

Space Camp’s debut dates back to fall 2016 when psychedelic rockers The Sea Life approached Evan Pacheco looking for a place to perform. Pacheco offered the basement and now admits to not fully knowing what staging a live show entailed.

“I had never really done anything with house stuff, but I was like, ‘yeah, I guess I’ll plan a show,’ ” the Bandier Program senior said.

Pacheco and roommates tracked down a PA system and others to help and a couple acts enlisted to try out playing the space. The Sea Life’s Halloween show marked the first of what would be dozens that followed for about every other weekend of that school year. Space Camp had launched.

Radiator Hospital performed Dec. 10, 2017, in the Space Camp basement.

This past school year, all eight roommates of the four-story house are involved with the production of Space Camp. Between booking shows, manning the door, checking sound, coordinating with artists and maintaining the space, all hands are needed, especially with performances slated for in the house’s basement and living room nearly every weekend.

“There are a few of us who study music industry for our career path, but for everyone else it’s like ‘I love music’ or ‘I love sound,’ ” project member Allison Carr said. “We all have interests in art and its consumption and curation. All of us have made it an important part of our lives.”

Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else performed on Oct. 19, 2017, at Space Camp.

In the past 18 months, Space Camp has hosted nearly 50 shows in total. Despite having three to four bands a night, the collective can’t manage to host 90 percent of the acts who contact them interested in playing Space Camp, according to Pacheco. Known for its distinct culture, the venue creates the perfect weekend experience for music fans. Each show draws in a crowd, yet organizers deem it to be a concert hall.

“I wouldn’t necessarily consider Space Camp to be a party,” Carr said. “It’s unlike other shows where people go to drink and hang out. Here, people come to hear the music.”

The performances, mostly indie rock, are lined up with full bands and/or acoustic sets at nearly every show. Along with student bands, well-known acts from all over the country perform at Space Camp, bringing students and Syracuse community members alike to see personal favorites.

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While they may come for the music, attendees also flourish in the vibes of the environment. Space Camp fosters a culture that allows acts and fans to feel at ease no matter their background or identity.

Project member Nate “Nort” Currie, who aims to ensure others have a comfortable time, considers safety when preparing and hosting a Space Camp event. Currie prioritizes monitoring the house and being vigilant and responsible for everyone around.

“There’s clearly people who come back here who are looking for that,” Currie said. “This is the place I would want to hang out if I didn’t live here. I like making sure the atmosphere is good, and I think that’s also something that motivates a lot of us to stay involved.

“We want it to be different.”

In front of Space Camp's signature wall featuring the autographs of artists who played the venue, organizers Nate "Nort" Currie, Evan Pacheco and Allison Carr discuss their favorite performances.

With six of the eight current Space Camp organizers graduating from Syracuse University in May and moving away, the Space Camp era will come to a close. Rather than pass the mission along to other fants, the group wants the experience as they remember it to stay in tact. Space Camp will dissipate, similar to Scarier Dome, another Syracuse DIY music venue that ended in spring 2016.

“If we were to use the Scarier Dome name, it would have just been so wrong,” said Carr. “That’s exactly how I think people would feel about someone using ‘Space Camp,’ but it wasn’t us.”

Final Spaze Jam open three hours earlier than usual to accommodate 12 acts, including GBMystical, Soft Fangs, Full Body, Andy John Mendosa, Comfy, Sirens Image and more.

GBMystical performed in early 2018 at Space Camp.
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is a Magazine major and contributor to The NewsHouse at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.