1919 Hemphill's 10th Anniversary 1919 Hemphill Sunday, October 21
Sitting on an old, tattered yellow chair inside 1919 Hemphill's DIY music space, volunteer Al Rios talks about everything from his love of punk music to the gentrification happening in Fort Worth's rougher neighborhoods, which includes Hemphill Street. The 28-year-old has been volunteering for the non-profit, co-op style venue since its beginning 10 years ago.
This past weekend marked 1919's 10th anniversary, and served up three nights of punk, metal and hardcore music from local bands. Baked goods and 50-cent sodas graced the venue's tiny kitchen, including a generous helping of vegan cupcakes dropped off by Spiral Diner.
"If we can still have DIY shows 10 years from now and if the neighborhood doesn't encroach on us, I'll be happy," Rios said.
As young, old and homeless alike began trickling in through 1919's barred doors, we sat discussing the venue's many unique features that have lasted a decade. Inspirational quotes and venue rules line the walls of the two-story building, which offers a "free store" to pick up or donate clothes, records and shoes, and a small library room where you can rent books or play sheet music on the organ in the corner.
"A lot of spaces like this tend to get shut down because of underage drinking or because of fights, or because of violence and that kind of thing," Rios explained. "We just decided, when we started, to make a safe space for people of all ages... so we don't allow drinking or smoking inside and we try to keep it to a minimum around the building. Obviously we can't prevent it 100 percent, because it's punk music, but most of the time people are responsible and they understand, and they get that what we're trying to do is bigger than just going to a show and getting trashed."
It's evident in the positive messages that exist in spray paint or sticker form, from floor to ceiling, and the camaraderie amongst show-goers.
"I brought cookies," exclaimed Rios' mother, as she cheerfully carried a tray through the venue's makeshift living room. "Last night I brought cupcakes, and today I brought cookies."
Upstairs, the first band started, rousing the 15 to 20 people who were sitting on couches reading political material and alternative zines like Razorcake and Planet First! Journal.
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On the wobbly second floor, three-piece thrash metal band Electric Vengeance opened the show, drawing inspiration from fellow thrashers like Metallica and Vio-lence. All night, moshing broke out in random spurts, causing the upstairs floor to bow. Fort Worth's drum and synth duo Pinkish Black were the fourth act to play, taking everyone down a few notches with their operatic duality.
Raging Boners, Mean and Ugly, Wild//Tribe and Akkolyte also performed, and each band brought a loud, energetic set that kept the crowd moving. Hemphill didn't make a big to-do about their anniversary. They just kept on doing what they do best.