Classic venue The Smell is on this week's cover of LA Weekly and the subject of a feature story (with sideshow) by Jessica Hopper.
The Smell — like most clubs, a depot of questionable haircuts and loud bands — doesn’t at first glance seem remarkable. But many consider it a different kind of place from other clubs that came before it. It’s an all-ages, no-booze, not-for-profit operation that shuns most of the hierarchies of cool and is staffed by punk-minted teenage volunteers, legit and steadfast. And right now, it’s at the center of the worldwide underground, a positive role model for the DIY ideals of community, safe space and inclusion. Plus, it books some of the country’s most exciting bands, with No Age, Abe Vigoda and Mika Miko its sweaty ambassadors. The Smell makes good on punk’s long-unfulfilled promises and offers a working model of what community can be.
The Smell not only gave No Age and other bands a place to play, but it also indoctrinated the musicians on how to approach their careers, gave them an ideological toehold in the scene, and fostered them amid equanimity and fellowship. So what becomes of you after you exit that community? What happens when the dogma of “no hierarchy” is eschewed, and you are assigned a new role, as kings of the scene?