Local bands shine in underground venue
Courtesy of Julia Dickinson-Frevola
In the basement of a house in Uniondale, people crowd inside a room lit by red bulbs and bundles of Christmas lights. Merchandise and stickers lay out on the folding table, accented by a board covered in stickers from bands whose performances long since departed the stage. Cool air wafts slowly into the hot room from the open back door as the crowd mingles. Murmured voices and laughter lilt throughout the backyard in the cold dark evening air as glowing cigarette butts light up smiling faces in between sets.
It’s been known by many names in its years of operation; – Our Lady of Perpetual Hope, High Hopes, the Dustbowl – but its mission remains the same: to provide a safe space where voices and music can be heard from people of all walks of life, in the comfort of a “bungus” hole in the wall, according to its residents. This is the Dude Ranch, where local bands come to play sets, and open mic nights occur every Sunday. Currently home to several Hofstra students, the Dude Ranch hosts both local and touring performers from all over as an at-home “music” “venue,” according to the house’s Instagram.
Notable performers in the past year who have made an appearance include Fear Not Ourselves Alone, who are self-described as “the last punk band from Queens;” 25th Hour, who recently played their first out-of-state gig at the Dude Ranch in September; Lavender Menace, who make “power pop for your soul;” HTML; Power Funeral; Forget This; and local favorite Foley. With earplugs at the ready to prepare for the coming storm of Weezer covers and artisanal punk jamming, attendees on foot, in chairs and on the floor sway and scream along to the emotionally-fueled songs echoing through the room and out into the yard. The Dude Ranch offers a unique experience for fans and music enthusiasts to meet performers in a space that is small enough to be familiar, but energetic enough to provide space for the big noise of some of the punk bands that perform. Attendees are not only allowed but encouraged to interact with performers one-on-one to talk about music, interests, touring experiences and art.
Not only does the Dude Ranch provide a venue for bands to perform, but it also hosts open mics every Sunday at 8 p.m. Students and art enthusiasts are encouraged to share their poetry, perform stand-up, do spoken word or even get up and rant about how much they can’t stand how their roommate just leaves their dirty socks everywhere, if that’s what the night calls for.
The Ranch is also dedicated to utilizing the homey basement for events like the “Halloween ExtravaDANza” on Saturday, Nov. 2, where all attendees are required to come as a different Dan/Daniel/Danny/Dani. For example, some (already taken) costumes include Dani from the floral Swedish terror “Midsommar,” the ghoulish teen Danny Phantom or even sexy Danny DeVito as the mustached Lorax. The Dude Ranch can be found a 10-minute walk off campus, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.