It’s Friday night in Rexburg, and you’re wondering, “What can I do for fun?”
A lot of people ask this question, all the time in fact. Luckily, we at The Ennui Project have the answer. But first, let us answer your question with another question — Did you know there’s a music venue in Rexburg? (Obviously not, otherwise you wouldn’t be asking for things to do on the weekend).
Well, there is! And it’s called The Basement.
The story of The Basement starts with local musician and sound technician, Tommy Fraser. Fraser (and local songwriter Christian Anderson) started the venue in the Spring of 2017. However, the venue — located in the literal basement of the infamous, once-thought-to-be-cursed building at 50 College Ave — wasn’t an instant success.
From Sammy’s to Zeek’s, and Zeek’s to Skizzy’s, many aspiring business owners have occupied what is now The Basement’s space. Each ambitiously attempting to establish a functional music venue in Rexburg, but disappointingly, none succeeded.
Shortly after re-opening the on-again-off-again venue, Fraser too decided to pack up and pursue other opportunities. Fortunately for all of us, he passed the mantle down to fellow musician, Brenden Taylor.
“[The Basement] means a lot to me and I think it means a lot to many others as well,” Taylor said. “Rexburg needs a space where the artist is free to express themselves in whatever way they want.”
Since taking the reigns, Taylor has continued running sound, booking events and hosting bands on a weekly basis. With the help of the local music community, Taylor has transformed The Basement from a literal hole-in-the-ground, into a fully fledged music venue. In September of this year, Taylor started independently paying the lease to maintain the venue’s space.
“The whole place is basically a big collaborative project between local artists, bands and music enthusiasts,” said Tanner Waite of The Howls. “We’re really lucky to have it. It’s something I’m proud to be involved in.” Waite created The Basement’s website, runs its social media accounts, and creates the venue’s promotional flyers and advertisements.
The Basement has been a host to many local bands in East Idaho such as The Howls, For Your Health, Deniston, Blanched, Horsebite, Vitanihil and many more. The venue has also booked various regional bands like Gaffer Project, Yr Parents, Telesomniacs, Micheal Barrow and the Tourists, and Snailmate.
Occasionally, The Basement hosts art shows, open mic nights, stand-up comedy performances, parties, and other non-live music events.
One of the more popular gatherings at The Basement is “Vinyl Night.” This original event is exactly what it sounds like — vinyl records, played while attendees are encouraged to hang out and talk, taking the opportunity to get to know other members of the local music scene.
“The music community in Rexburg is small,” said Paden Carter of Vitanihil. “But it’s really motivating to see that it’s promoted by a small handful of people who care deeply about independent music.”
So next time you’re looking for something to do, go to a show at The Basement, stop by a Vinyl Night, or just swing by to see what’s going on. When you find ways to get involved in the local music scene, you’ll start asking yourself a new question — “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
Here are some step-by-step photos detailing exactly how to find The Basement:
One: Find the iSource store
Two: Find the LOVE wall
Three: Find the College Ave Deli sign
Four: Find the terrifying Rexburg alleyway
Five: If you haven’t found it yet, we can’t help you
For more information about events and booking, visit The Basement’s website.