Basement Transmissions celebrated a successful year at their new venue.
Erie, Pennsylvania is a city known for its country music fans. However, there has been a shift in music taste with a growing population of rock and metal enthusiasts. The venue Basement Transmissions has played a large part in this transition. Owner, Robert Jensen has been involved with music his whole life, from performing in bands to working as part of the labels and now as the owner of one of Erie’s best places for music.
Some thank him for the townâ€™s growing popularity with big acts such as Slipknot and Mayhem Fest that play due to the number of people BT brings in for these larger shows. However, Jensen says the community of music lovers can be thanked, saying, “Honestly I think our whole community has come together over the last couple years to help make things like that a possibility. I have done my part, but many people have helped.â€
The original BT held around 75 people and served as a starting point place for local bands. Since the move last year, BT now holds over 400 people and though it is still a place for locals to get their start, it is also a venue where bigger acts come to perform while enlisting those local bands as openers to give them experience in front of a large crowd.
These national acts include bands such as Mushroomhead, Crown The Empire, Comeback Kid, Avatar, Anti-Flag, Red, and Battlecross. These shows have been nearly sold out since the switch from the original venue, allowing more fans to experience this new wave of music hitting Erie.
Eight of Erie’s top local bands played the First Anniversary show. Agathist, a metal/hardcore band, started the night with a sound that gave listeners a punch of invincibility, similar to the feeling of jumping in the heated pit.
Following was Jivan, a new rising band that put on an entertaining and different type of show. With their goofy personalities, the members made a unique connection with the crowd while invoking the sounds of Dream Theater, Tool, and Incubus.
Saevitia took the stage after Jivan’s set and got the crowd moving right away. The band has had trouble finding the right lead vocalist and, with ex-lead singer Logan Emerling gone, many wondered who would be singing in his place. At the beginning, Zach Harper came out, an original member who parted months back. It was obvious he missed the stage as he showed his abundance of energy that had been building up over the past few months.
Second vocalist Garrett Jageman made a surprise appearance for his debut show with the band. Jageman went from being a kid in the crowd to singing to an audience, fronting that very same band he listened to years ago. The vocals between the two singers were on point, ending the search for the right vocalists.
Keeping up the heavy theme, Bail Easy was up. Though there were a few technical problems during their set, the band was able to power through it like true professionals. They got the people moshing, and similar to Agathist, had a sound that makes any fan want to release their anger in the pit.
Amavasya took the stage, and although it was their first time performing at BT, many of the members had performed with different bands at the venue. They performed a cover of “Machine,” by Born of Osiris to perfection and lead singer Barry Eakin did an outstanding job of matching Ronnie Canizaro’s vocals. Despite only having performed a few shows, many locals expect big things from Amavasya in the near future.
As the sun began to fall, BT was only getting hotter as the crowd continued to expand. Kevlar went on stage in front of just a small group of people, but following the first song it felt as though attendance had tripled.
The band performed with Puddle of Mudd the night before at The Thompson House in Newport, Kentucky but did not seem to be tired at all. With tons of energy, the band continued to headbang, as did the crowd. It was an outstanding performance overall and they performed every song from their new EP The Void to promote their upcoming tour.
Joose opened after the intermission and their funk following was in full support. They incorporated mosh and dance and encouraged the crowd to sing along. Lead singer Jack Stauber brought a diversity of fun to the audience. There was something for everyone, an element of the show made evident by the entire crowdâ€™s continuous cheers and movement during Jooseâ€™s entire performance.
Following Joose was the final set brought by the band Clusterfunk. The hard rock/blues band brought a different genre to the party, with a lot of funky bass and many danced along to them as well. Guitarist Nick DiNunzio drove seven hours from Indiana, proving his dedication to the genre and to Erie. After their set, the night officially came to an end with the first year of BT’s new location.
Each band that performed made sure to congratulate Jensen on the anniversary and stated how the venue is like a second home to them. “Owning and operating the building is a big job in itself, the venue is just one aspect of my job at BT. The fun part actually,” said Jensen. Everyone that attends the shows is beyond grateful for him. He has created a place where people who love music can clear their head, hang out, and listen to good music.
When asked who helped him get to where he is now he responded, “So many people it would be hard to even start to acknowledge them. A few of the big ones would be my investor Jimmy Jackson, The Edinboro Start-Up Incubator, my parents, my friends and the whole music scene in all reality!” Jensen also expressed what is expected in years to come saying, “Better stuff on all fronts! Bigger national acts, better local and regional shows.” Everyone is blessed with the work he has done, and for his efforts to keep rock/metal music alive. We thank him.