Thanks to Luke Ottenhof for his time and attention to Side Door’s origin story and mission.
It had been four days since I returned home from almost two months on the road travelling across North America and playing music in people’s living rooms. In the six months that I spent preparing for such a venture there were a plethora of thoughts and feelings rushing through my mind, but nothing beforehand that could have accurately painted the picture that was to be created over the canvas stretched across the continent. 17,000 km, 53 shows, two floods, one hospital trip, many storms and a whole lot of free Chipotle later the whole thing seems more like a dream than a memory. Looking back through these visions though, one theme stands out; human good will and kindness.
The premise of the tour was to play as many house shows as possible. For those who are not familiar, a house show (or house concert) is exactly what it sounds like; hosting a concert in your home (so not necessarily a techno concert). House shows come in all different shapes and sizes and in my experience are tailored around the desires of the host. Some houses have names and operate like small venues. Other homes that I played in had never done such a thing before and the hosts simply invited there friends over for a nice evening of music and usually food or drink. Over the course of these last two months, the nature of house shows unfurled its wings and really showed a true glimpse of its beauty for me.
One thing I discovered was that when playing house shows we never had a bad experience. Even if the host couldn’t convince many people to come out, the shows always felt personal and meaningful, and were always a good time. I experienced extreme generosity from those that allowed us to perform in their living room or back porch. I was fed most of the time and always given a place to stay. More so, people who attended were very supportive of my endeavour and music, and so I never had to worry about money for gas to get to the next city.
Venue shows can be incredible, and by no means am I disregarding that avenue for performance, but I have truly fallen in love with the house show community as well as the life style of touring to perform in people’s homes. I was privileged to eat with and perform for complete strangers on this trip, and the level of trust that was bestowed to me was unlike normal experiences in everyday life. Though I am back home, I cannot wait to get back on the road to feel these experiences again and make new ones as I continue to explore the house show community here in North America, and beyond in other stretches of the world.
See Sheldoncole perform this Friday at Spartacus Bookstore in his hometown of Vancouver. Tickets must be purchased in advance at http://bit.ly/sheldoncolespartacusshow
Thank you Peter Moreira and Entrevestor for this article: “Side Door Targets House Concerts”
Thank you to Matt Meuse and CBC News for this article. “Dan Mangan wants to help you book live music – in your living room.”
Thank you to John Kurucz and the Vancouver Courier for this article. “Dan Mangan invites musicians and fans to enter through the side door”