By Mike Romero
Five blocks south of Center Street at 162 East and 500 South sits the latest addition to Provo’s growing list of concert venues: The Garage. Founded by Provo musicians Gavin McMahan and Dee Kei Waddell, they provide weekly, low key house shows in an intimate setting so that artists and fans can connect for free.
“Dee Kei came over to check my garage out for potential recording and rehearsal space,” McMahan told Reach Provo. “We were talking about how fun free house shows are and how there needs to be more of them. Sure they happen in Provo, but there’s no regularity to it. There’s no particular place that has a full PA and lights and everything or the capacity to put on a show comparable to a local venue. Bands don’t know where to do it and Provo doesn’t have a place to regularly show up for a free house show. We realized how much gear we have between the two of us and how we could totally pull off making it into a legitimate venue for free regular shows.”
Since then, Dee Kei and McMahan have been “up to their necks” booking, planning, promoting, and hosting events. Tonight, McMahan’s band (Paint the Woods) and Dee Kei’s band (Motion Coaster) will be putting on a free show at the venue. Joining them will be the space rock infused band, The Solarists. The Solarists recently performed with Grey Glass and Brother. at an outdoor concert in southern Utah in preparation for the first annual Goosenecks Music Festival. The festival premiers this August and is one of the sponsors for the show tonight.
The Solarists used to play together in high school, according to lead singer Clint Purser. “There are four of us. Me (lead vocals, bass, saxophone), Nate (vocals, lead guitar), Kaua (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Justin (drums),” he says. “After Nate and I returned from serving missions I contacted him and we decided to keep making music. Our first show was October 2015 and and Kaua joined us this past January.”
Since solidifying their lineup, the band has recorded and released two singles: “Alright” and “Young Blood.” They aim to create “catchy melodies that will be stuck in your head for light years to come.” The band is excited to play tonight, since they got their start playing house shows. They love The Garage for its feel and its sound system.
The show is taking place on a Saturday night – something out of the ordinary due to a prior Paint the Woods engagement at Audio West yesterday. From here on out, The Garage wants to own Friday nights in the Provo music scene. “It’s a place that Provo can show up to every Friday at 7 o’clock, pay nothing, and expect a great show,” says McMahan.
The show starts tonight, April 16th, at 7:30PM. Make sure to like The Garage on Facebook and follow the page for updates on future events. If you’re hoping to play there, you can message them for booking info. You should also check out The Solarists. You can hear their latest single, “Young Blood,” below.