Scrummage University Closes Eastern Market Campus – Wildcatting, Prussia, Sister Suvi, and Childbite Play Send-off

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I had no idea when I walked to the back entrance and up the three flights of stairs that I would be walking into the last rock show at Scrummage University’s Eastern Market loft. As some of you know, we like Scrummage at Metroblogging a lot. And while it’s a shame that Scrummage will be leaving its convenient and easy-to-reach location on Winder street, the boys are moving to an abandoned toy factory across from a cemetery on the East side (sounds like something right out of a movie, doesn’t it?) where they won’t have to worry about waking up neighbors with their pesky dance parties and their obnoxious rocking-and-rolling music. Besides, the new place will have more than twice the space, more room for more roommates, and there will be a closed-in lot for pilgrims to park.

And it very well may be a pilgrimage, since the new place is supposedly located on the corner of Van Dyke and Davison, right about here. A more dangerous location and a brave decision indeed, but perhaps also a braver, newer world for Lord Scrummage to reign over. Besides, they only have a couple more years before they have commit mass suicide on July 17, 2010 (so spaketh Lord Scrummage).

If you have no idea what I’m taking about in this last sentence, just forget about it and let’s talk about Prussia.

I originally came to see Wildcatting and Childbite–both great bands–but Prussia stood out last night. They had pride of place in the lineup, playing around 11:30, and the honor of having played the first show at the Winder Street loft well over a year ago, and now the last, and they will be playing the first show at the new Scrummage on March 1 (czech here for a complete listing).

I listened to Prussia’s songs on their MySpace page beforehand and thought I heard a pop band that could naturally follow in the footsteps of Saturday Looks Good to Me, who skipped town for Chicago some years ago. But Prussia left at home the low-fi aesthetic and reverb overdose of those recordings, bringing with them an artillery of drums, cymbals, and hand-held percussion instruments, with plenty to share with the audience. Midway through the first song, I found myself surrounded on all sides by bells, shakers, tambourines, and hand claps, while facing head-on two adrenaline-high drummers pounding madly, the band working up a kind of stereophonic tribal revival.

It was a typical Scrummage show, in that it was pretty extraordinary.

Scrummage U exudes a good-natured spiritedness that we lose as we get bogged down in stupid things like pride and money and forget how to have fun. Whenever I’m there, I feel that I can let loose the inner weirdo that lives deep inside me. A lot has been made about how many young people hang out at Scrummage, but I think the bigger story is how many 25, 30, and 35-year old folks hang out there on a regular basis. It’s not the youth that makes Scrummage work, it’s the blatant rejection of snobbery; it’s the contagious “who gives a damn, let’s all dance” attitude. I like the fact that most of the time it’s too damn dark in there to see and be seen. Prussia’s singer got it right as he roared the lyric “While you’re fighting for your sanity, I hope you don’t destroy me with it.” That’s kind of how I see Scrummage among all of the pessimism of the rusted city that surrounds it.

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