Plenty of Room in the Trunk Space
Plenty of Room in the Trunk Space
photos by Kelly Fox
Everything at the Trunk Space is quite obviously a work of the local arts scene. Even the blackout curtains are homemade. The fans of the music wear clothes that they fixed up themselves, DIY-style, and many of them even brought their dogs to make it feel more like home.
The caretaker of the church that shares the plot of land also lives on site, so out of courtesy to him, all shows end around 11:00 PM, said Stephanie Carrico, cofounder of the Trunk Space. She is very proud of the venue, which she says is a hair away from becoming a non-profit. “There hasn’t been an official grand opening yet,” she said, “(but) it’s getting more grand – or less, since it’s not on Grand anymore.” The space started doing shows in their new location in October.
Leika Kitamura is a high school student who has volunteered at the Trunk Space since its previous incarnation on Grand Avenue. She said that there are usually about five shows a week, and no two are the same. When asked how many she had seen, she replied, “I don’t even know. I’d say around 50 to 100.” She is a student at the Metropolitan Arts Institute, where Stephanie Carrico teaches photography during the day.
The bands that frequently perform in the new space are either only a half-step up from the crowd or on the floor with them, and frequently mingled with their fans. There are usually plenty of bands on playing on any given night. For the evening that Kelly and I attended, the poster for the concert – which was made by a local artist in the studio on site – listed at least four. More showed up.
The first act was Breaking Glass, a five-piece band that played hobo-chic punk on suitcases and washbasin-tubs. They were the opening band for Rail Yard Ghosts, a massive outfit of ten musicians from all over the country who travel with their dog Pawpaw. He was among the five dogs that were walking around the room and getting petted. Rail Yard Ghosts is a folk-punk band that leans heavily into their far-left political messages. “My country ‘tis of thee/ Dark land of slavery,” they yelled to open their show.
Among the most beloved acts of the night was Andy Warpigs, who had to perform quickly due to his having another set that he had to get to at the Rebel Lounge that same evening. He performed a few songs with his friend Garyn on the washboard, including crowd favorites “Drown My Baby” and “Everybody Likes You Now.” The latter song’s music video was recently released, an independent product directed by Andy Warpigs himself. Onstage he was loose, joking that “existential dread is in this season” and telling people to donate to Planned Parenthood because the band is anti-baby.
Papa C. Nathan was among the most interactive of the acts in the evening, wrapping himself in scarves and wandering through the audience, which sat during his set with Buddy Tom K and Ralph White. Their sound is strange and quavers, composed in equal parts of oud, acoustic guitar, violin, and self-made instruments that create a psychedelic soundscape. Buddy Tom’s lyrics frequently reference aliens, and in his space cowboy outfit with his low bass voice he induces an altered state of mind where aliens among us seem completely and totally plausible.
The event that evening was centered around Ralph White, who sat alone on stage with the last of many banjos that evening. His Southern drawl and meandering songs brought to mind his native Texas, and as Rail Yard Ghost’s Pawpaw howled along to his accordion, he brought the room together in a casual and unusual way. It was a unique experience, something that defied description. Suffice to say that the Trunk Space is alive and well.
Reach the writer: @WilliamWeinst1