Punk's not dead in East Lansing

Thursday, March 3, 2016, 7:00 am
By: 
Caitlin Leppert

Punks not dead. At least not around here.

This Friday, The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, will play host to the city’s first-ever Emo/Punk Night. Against the backdrop of DJs spinning the genres’ classics, attendees will be able to swap records, collect posters from past concerts, observe the art of screen printing and interact with local musicians.

It might be the city’s first Emo/Punk night, but event organizer, Fusion Show’s Nate Dorough, said it’s been a long time coming.

“We honestly have been thinking about this whole idea of a record swap for years, and never really had the motivation to follow it through, I guess.”

Even though there has yet to be an event of its kind in the area, emo and punk music are popular genres among residents.

“From house shows, to Mac’s Bar, to the Avenue, there’s always been a solid punk scene in Lansing,” Dorough said.

Heather Frarey, owner of The Record Lounge, 111 Division Street in East Lansing, said classic punk such as Black Flag remains a top seller among customers, but punk newcomers, like Title Fight, are popular as well.

Emo music, a subset of punk, noted for its melancholy lyrics, lacks the hard edge that initially attracted many of punk’s listeners.

“Punk is more harsh,” Frarey said. “Punk is harder than emo. Emo is kind of whiney, not my thing. But it sells”.

When it came to Dorough’s attention that The Loft had a vacancy this Friday, he said it was a prime opportunity to host the swap.

The Record Lounge will be among the vendor booths. The store’s close proximity to MSU has positioned it as a go-to vinyl destination for college students itching for punk.

Frarey said the Emo/Punk Night will provide The Record Lounge an opportunity to connect with members of the music community outside their usual clientele.

“We get a little bit of everybody, but our base is college students. Since the event is in Lansing, it might be an older crowd.”

Not to say only older punk fans appreciate vinyl. Frarey said that since 2008, the demand for records has exponentially increased, especially among college students.

“The last couple of years have been crazy. Everything that’s coming out is on vinyl. Taylor Swift started releasing vinyls, so I guess everyone is into it.”

Taylor Swift might not be among the records available for sale Friday night, but Frarey said The Record Lounge’s pop-up shop will be well-stocked with music, posters and apparel.

The event was in the planning stage just two weeks ago, and Dorough said its sudden manifestation made it difficult to find vendors.

“We put this together on two weeks’ notice, so a lot of our favorite record stores and artists and vendors already had a lot going on that night.”

Despite scheduling difficulties, Dorough said a number of vendors, including The Record Lounge, have confirmed their attendance. Aubrey Roskoskey, Brent Mosser Brian Beckwith, GTG Records, Have Fun Records, Loud Music and Apparel, Triple Deke Records and Urban Geographer make up just a portion of the vendor list.

The all-ages event is free admission, although donations will be accepted. Doors for the event open at 7pm.