Buildings that matter

by Nic Olson

The bricks and the hardwood. Those tiles that decorate the pillars. The bar with the stools. The old timey feeling. This building is one that matters. It is a place that is worth something.

My past ten years of life has been highlighted by a few places. My home in White City. I somewhat grew up there, it was pretty big. White City School. I kinda grew up there, it was pretty cool. The Exchange, the venue in Regina. I grew up there.
I don’t remember my first show at this venue, it was probably some local punk bands in the summer of 1999 or 2000. And I’ve seen literally hundreds and hundreds of bands display their talent, or lack there of, on a stage of spit soiled carpet.

I have more memories from this shady underground music establishment than anywhere in Regina. Than anywhere in the world. Like:

I’ve seen 400 people packed in, to see three local bands. The smoke looming in the air like the heavy memories of the past. The past that allowed smoking in venues and bars.
I’ve seen a few legendary bands in front of less than 30 people. The room awkwardly empty, until the bands play and the passion comes through the speakers and into the soul, filtered through earplugs.
I’ve seen some of my favourite bands in the past, play concerts of serious quantity and quality, showing people what real music is all about.
I’ve seen music; local and touring, struggling and well-paid, bands and artists, in the purest form of sound there could ever be.

Tonight I went to a concert. I had no idea this concert was happening until I heard from a friend, about ten minutes before the first act was due up. I drove there quickly, knowing two of the acts well, and the third not at all. The first two reminded me of why I love music and the people around it. The third reminded me of why I love The Exchange. I was planning on leaving after a song of the third band, just to hear what they were like. After one song, I couldn’t leave. I was loving it too much. I couldn’t leave. I had no choice but to stay to the end and buy my second album of the night, one that was a wallet emptying $15.

As I sat, listening to live brand new music, I became somewhat emotional. Thinking of the things I’ve seen there. The affect music has had on me. And soaking in a perfect new band. I can’t properly express the importance of this building to me. The channel for any type of music, keeping independent music important, this building.

Check out:
The Exchange.
Andy Shauf.
The Rural Alberta Advantage.