It always sucks when the crowd at a show is more interested in drinking than actually watching the bands play. On a recent Friday night, my band (shameless plug, sorry) is playing at a house in the Central District. All the other bands have played amazing sets, and things are running smooth, when suddenly the party pops off. Seemingly out of nowhere, the crowd is spilling out of the basement and onto the lawn. We start playing, but most people don't even make an effort to come inside and check it out, instead preferring to noisily drink and smoke in the yard. The house show has turned into a house party. A little after midnight, things get so loud and so out of control that the fun-haters with the badges and guns come and put an end to the festivities.

Anytime you mix shows with alcohol, things have the potential to get out of hand, for good and bad. Boozy shows may not be as focused and deliberate as shows with a no-beer policy, but they can be the ones you remember most fondly (if fuzzily). Still, really good times often carry really high consequences. If you're throwing a show in your home, it's definitely worth thinking twice about whether or not to allow alcohol. Seattle's sadly defunct Punkin House had a strict no-alcohol policy, and it helped them maintain one of the longest-running basement venues in recent memory.

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Despite spotting a few beers at the recent New Bloods show at Beacon Hill house the Monsterssori Observatory, the place—hardly a party house—seems set for a good, long run. After all, when was the last time you were asked to leave your shoes at the door of a punk show? Hopping around to the Portland violin-punk trio in the Observatory's bike-filled basement with 50 or 60 other kids in their socks was easily the highlight of my week. It was the band's first night of their tour, and I can't imagine a more successful send-off. Everything could have gone wrong—bassist Cassia Gammill's amp crapped out before the band played a single note, and drummer Adee Robeson seemed sick and a little out of it—but the band sounded great, broken strings, borrowed equipment, and all. And what's more inspiring: Everybody was there for the music. recommended

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