“Let’s just get
awesome!” Jason Anderson, native New Yorker and K Records
troubadour, delivered these poignant words on March 19 as he
performed at the Halfway Inn. Affectionately called the Half-Ass,
the sole venue of the East Quad Music Co-op is located in the
basement of East Quad Residence Hall. Embodying the spirit of
Anderson’s words, EQMC has devoted itself toward the
experience and the love of music. Two years ago, the organization,
once strong and successful, found itself losing that desire and
emotion and was subsequently disbanded due to the inability of
students to enforce basic rules outlined by the Residence Hall
Association. Alcohol violations, overcrowding and disregard for
quiet hours ultimately resulted in a hiatus for EQMC.

Beth Dykstra
Hardcore act Threatener bring a fast-paced, high-energy explosion to the stage. (TREVOR CAMPBELL/Daily)

 

Now reformed after a more than two-year absence, EQMC is back in
full effect, led by its new president and organizer, RC sophomore
Kathryn Chalmers. Along with a group of students deemed the
“Doom Council,” Chalmers fought successfully to get
EQMC running again.

The group’s intent to get an affordable, all-ages venue at
the University was the driving force behind its quest for musical
freedom. Although small, intimate concert venues exist in Ann
Arbor, they are frequently not all-ages. For example, performances
at The Blind Pig vary in age restrictions, sometimes as high as 21
and older, which excludes a majority of the student body.

 

EQMC brings an all-ages venue to a highly visible locale on
Central Campus. The students’ plan was to pull in
high-quality, national touring acts, and match them up with equally
talented, but unknown openers. Chalmers and the “Doom
Council” took their proposal to East Quad hall director Taryn
Petryk, who said she was reluctant at first about the group’s
reformation in lieu of past incidents. But Petryk later gave
approval, provided the organization follow the rigid guidelines
imposed by the University. With funding coming from MSA, the East
Quad Governing Assembly and the RC Republic, the EQMC purchased new
equipment, redesigned the stage and garnered publicity for its
performances. Before its first show back, the EQMC put on a benefit
concert that raised more than $200 to revamp the club. With
sufficient funds in hand, equipment ready to go and bands on call,
EQMC was again ready for action.

Since reforming, the club has faced a multitude of setbacks. RC
junior and audio technician Taylor Hales has faced various
equipment problems and has been forced to drive to Ypsilanti to get
speakers and a mixer repaired. Hales hopes to keep the organization
up and running in the fall, but it’s still looking for a
dedicated president as Chalmers will be studying abroad next year
and unable to continue her tenure. Despite its problems, EQMC has
delivered on its promise to produce high-quality, low-cost concerts
with explosive energy.

 

On Friday nights, music fans of all ages pour into the basement
of East Quad, not looking for big names or mainstream hits, but for
a memorable experience. EQMC dedicates itself to the
underappreciated — those who have the talent, but don’t
get the publicity they deserve. Bands who perform regularly at the
Half-Ass aren’t in it for the money, and they’re not in
it for the fame. They’re in it for the love of music.

 

Tonight at 9 p.m., Old Time Relijun, Pop Project and The Fuzz
invade the Half-Ass. EQMC expects to see you there with $5 in hand,
an open mind and a smile. The EQMC’s last shows will be on
April 9 and 10.

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