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"You all want to create something bigger than yourselves": Life on Belmont's house show circuit

Hollow Head playing a house show. Jaymey Hedberg/Belmont Vision

When music knocks — Belmont answers the door.

Students invite friends and strangers alike into their homes, welcoming a community under the same roof and a common love of music.

Students open up their homes to host intimate shows. Their popularity is mostly due to proximity to campus, making them a convenient entertainment option on the weekends for rising Belmont artists and students under the age of 21.

Senior music business major Max Foster saw an opportunity for a business to flourish in this environment. The entrepreneur founded Foster Entertainment LLC., with about 90% of his clients consisting of Belmont artists.

Foster said he admires the work ethic and intentionality of Belmont students when it comes to their music and those are the people he wants to work with.

“All this community wants is an artist that can play for zero people giving a performance for thousands.”

Foster advises artists to continue doing house shows regardless of the audience turnout.

Hollow Head playing a house show. Jaymey Hedberg/Belmont Vision

The senior enjoys hosting shows in his own backyard, Comely Drive, as well as in alternate locations.

His show “The Pregame” on Aug. 26 at Hawkins St. Music Row, was alive until 1 a.m. with his biggest turnout yet.

“The day cops shut down music on Music Row is the day that Nashville burns,” he said.

Whether the venue is a backyard bash, a crowded apartment or musty basement, these Belmont parties all have one thing in common – the music.

Down the street from Circle K, an ordinary house that transforms into The Fence around 7 p.m. on the weekends. Senior Ryan Parrilli lives there and hosts shows in his backyard.

In collaboration with Foster Entertainment LLC., Parilli’s band, Chasing Tonya, performed there during parents weekend and brought in a diverse crowd of students and parents.

“I don’t want this to be like ‘Oh, it’s college kids drinking,’ I want this to be an open thing for everybody,” said Parilli.

Although they’ve experienced sold out venues and crowd-surfing sets, they have a soft spot for the intimacy and chill vibe of house shows.

A familiar face at almost every Belmont live music event, sophomore Phil Silverman is the ultimate house show guide and supporter, attending at least 20 already this semester.

Starting a Snapchat story for Nashville house show updates, he always knows “the move” for each night, saying that house shows “bring the community together.”

Not only are house shows cultivating a Nashville and Belmont audience, junior foreign exchange student from Cologne, Germany, Aaron Stahl, has been exposed to the Belmont music scene through house shows as well as in his own dorm, with all three of his roommates in bands.

Stahl attended a house show called “Roktober Fest” on Oct. 1, which to him felt “kind of like home.”

Stahl remembers the energetic performance of Lambeaux, Belmont 2022 Battle of the Bands participant, and found the sheer amount of leather pants amusing.

“The house show is not a thing in Germany, I’ve never heard of anything like that. It’s fun to see others follow their passion.” said Stahl.

Support comes in an array of audiences, including faculty. Adjunct guitar instructor John Cardoni has been in bands since high school, where he first dabbled in house shows back in Illinois.

But Nashville is the place to be for these young musicians, standing alone as what he calls a “massive amount of opportunity that’s in a different echelon than most other places in the country.”

“When you’re in a band, the sum of the parts is greater than the individual person. You all want to create something bigger than yourselves, that romantic notion of you against the world,” said Cardoni.

Cardoni teaches guitar to Jack Lare from Hollow Head and Aden Gray from The Fangs. Both bands, along with Ava Beathard, performed a house show together at Hillside Ave.

Students were shoulder to shoulder, but didn’t seem to mind the overflowing apartment. With lasers, strobe lights and music surrounding the space, sophomores Mike Caracappa and Deven LaLonde hosted a party to remember.

A bouncer beckoned students through the front doors into a foyer where you heard the music before you saw it. Behind the bobbing heads, you could catch a vibrant glimpse of the bands on stage.

“It was great bringing recognition to all the talented bands and crew members, especially creating a space for Belmont students and others from around Nashville to come together and enjoy the music of our aspiring young artists,” said Caracappa.

From seeing alumni, old TT groups or best friends, house shows continue to be a reunion for the Belmont community as well as an equal arena and level stage for both fan-favorite and upcoming artists to share their common love for music.

This article was written by Jaymey Hedberg.

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