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Rise and shine

The Coma Collective attempt to reinvigorate the all-ages scene

THE COMA COLLECTIVE: The green room doubles as a museum of sorts. Photography by Pappi Swarner

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While it would be unfair to call Tacoma's underage music scene comatose, there seems to be no shortage of locals who think it needs a good shot in the arm.

Among them are Shayne Weeks and Sam Olsen, two young, doggedly creative musicians spearheading the Coma Collective, an arts contingent in the mode of Elephant 6. The Collective is currently enjoying a three-month creative residency at an abandoned Pacific Avenue property, courtesy of Spaceworks, the city-sponsored pro-arts initiative that converts empty storefronts into havens and "points of interest" for Tacoma's creative subculture. Weeks and Olsen are slowly converting the space - one block from Hell's Kitchen, and two blocks from the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts - into an all-ages venue with an eye toward cultivating a shatterproof South Sound DIY music scene.

It's an ambition that Olsen has long held. In 2010, he was awarded the Spaceworks Tacoma Creative Enterprise award, and immediately put his name on a waiting list for a space well-equipped to host all-ages performances.

"There are a great number of talented kids in Tacoma who have no place to show, and I want to change that," he said at the time, adding that his goals were to "confirm a music scene for young people" and "give kids something to do downtown."

Manning an all-ages concert venue is, of course, notoriously difficult (though resources like the All-Ages Movement Project's book In Every Town offer a considerable amount of how-to advice), but Weeks and Olsen seem unfazed by the customary obstacles. The scope of their collective ideas aren't limited to their residency at the Pacific Avenue space - the pair are launching a locally focused record label (called Invisible Records as a nod to Tacoma's self-deprecating underdog status) and releasing self-produced monthly compilations of regional music. The first of these comps is due sometime this month, but so far the only bands on board are Weeks and Olsen's char-broiled punk/garage outfits.

"It will be just Slushy and Red Hex, or maybe just made-up joke side-project names for the first compilation and a few ‘real band' songs thrown in," Weeks explains. He admits "things are starting off slow," but insists that "there are really killer ideas a-brewing, which will be brought to light this summer."

The Coma Collective's residency at 1114 Pacific Ave. lasts through June 30.

The Coma Collective

1114 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

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wow said on May. 08, 2011 at 1:05pm

most of this information is extremely inaccurate.

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