TourKidd webapp release defrosts The Icehouse, DIY community

The Ice House, located nearly in the shadow of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, hosted an event Saturday that could only happen in 2015.

TourKidd, a webapp created to unite community, brought together a vibrant show of lighting, music, food and art. 

TourKidd co-founder and ASU alumnus Khayree Billingslea has two partners in the venture, Nick Aufiero and Seve Zavala. The webapp seeks to solve the booking nightmares that plague the DIY, or do-it-yourself, music scene. This gave rise to TourKidd's catchphrase "DIY Together."

"Sometimes it's hard to get in touch. You don't know if you want to reach out to the band's email, the band's Facebook page, a band's Twitter," Billingslea said. "There's no platform that is specifically for DIY musicians that brings promoters, as promoters directly in contact in the kind of intuitive way that we're offering."

The webapp currently includes "conventional venues" on the application, from Funny World to the Marquee Theatre, with a focus on the Funny World size of the gamut. The webapp will also include venues in Flagstaff and Tucson. 

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(Photo courtesy of Peter Northfelt)

At this event, Billingslea predicted that the vibe of everyone, from collectives to small businesses to bands and DIY artists coming together, "might be cool." The app's release includes rating system a la Yelp! will help keep everyone in the scene accountable. 

"There's enough going on at that show every minute that you might be entertained," he said. "If you're not entertained, you can go across the street (to the Pressroom) and get entertain-able."

The bands at the show and the community at large attend this event in order to show support for the idea that TourKidd tries to push in its very existence. Without the webapp and organization, the community would not be formed at such a high standard, all while bringing all these different alternative organizations together under one roof. 

"In order for this to be useful for bands and promoters throughout the Southwest, you need buy-in from the community here," Billingslea said. "And those bands, at least in some way, are going to support the notion of what TourKidd is doing. That's a branding move, but also every band, at some point following the show, our goal is to get them on TourKidd."

Both bands and community came out to support the release, and every single room had a different vibe and effect on audiences. 

Agape Collective was in a room outdoors, with tents set up to protect from the rain. The moniker "collective" worked because of the teamwork I witnessed. 

The group set up a new age paradise that looked very much like an opium den — though this one had tea, massages and plenty of incense (this group is from Flagstaff, after all). The visuals in this room started early on, with kaleidoscope projections that fit that hippie aesthetic.  

The setlist for this room included crowd favorites like Playboy Manbaby and Thin Bloods. Somewhat counter-intuitively, Injury Reserve performed here even though the rap group works closely with Las Fuegas.

Walking into the Las Fuegas room, it was immediately apparent that Injury Reserve would not have fit in here. This was the "chill room," as it was constantly called when I was wandering around the white pillars, couches and rugs brought in to populate the room. 

The decor looked like Restoration Hardware meets Anne of Green Gables for two reasons — early on, people looked like they were lost when they wandered into this room, and there was also a lot of fake ivy hanging from the ceiling.

Music like Justin Moody, Saw Fox and the oft-written about Longbird played within the room. Steve Roggenbuck also appeared! What a chill time. 

Read more about Steve and his poetry here. 

Another room without a theme existed in the sectioned vibes of The Ice House. Philosophy freshman Sam Thomas, a member of The Underground Foundation, explained some of the challenges in executing the event. His role was that of stage and sound manager for the extra room. Five bands, including Sun Hex, played this intimate set. 

"It was originally outside, but due to the weather we had to move it inside, so a lot of the original plans have been altered significantly," he said.

Ascetic House was in the largest room, with the most industrial-looking setup to boot. It included commentary with virtual, disembodied voices and hosted bands like Draa and Red Tank!.  The space was sure to entertain the inevitably enormous crowd who wanted to see heavy, end of times-inspired sets.

With little installation aesthetically, sculpture alumnus Mikey Estes put in an installation featuring inherited pornography.  

"I inherited these VHS tapes from a friend of mine of gay porn from the '90s," he said.  "A lot of it was produced in the Czech Republic or in Germany, but a lot of the visuals don't work for them.  The tapes are super distorted and the only audio that comes out is distorted audio."

The multimedia element included small TV screens and headphones with which to listen to the sound accompanied prints above the media. Both used the theme of disembodied sex.

"The prints that are along the wall, I inherited with the tapes as well, utilize bulletin board systems. The publication date is like 1992," Estes said. "It illustrates a username and how to log on and meet people in your area, have cyber sex, pre-Grindr, pre-AOL gay and lesbian chat rooms."

Billingslea approached Estes and the project took off from there. The installation was in the Ascetic House room and was a great fit with the potentially overwhelming music selection. 

"I think it works pretty well music-wise, because Ascetic House is kind of like 'mutatious' a little bit," Estes said.

Reach the reporter at pnorthfe@asu.edu or follow @peternorthfet on Twitter

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Correction: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Ascetic House as Aesthetic House.  It has since been updated.


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