The first time I visited the Smell was sometime in 2001 or 2002. Not too many memories from that time are very vivid or interesting, but that night was.

A few of my older friends dragged me along to see some thrash band, DS13. The alley was crowded with kids that had tons of piercings, tattoos, ratty patches and many other attributes that are connected with gutter punks.

I cowered inside to avoid their gazes. As soon as the band started it considerably got hotter, louder and more aggressive with each song.

Things have changed considerably since those days. I’ve gotten a bit older and the kids less scary. Or perhaps I’ve gotten more so.

In 2003 the place was renovated and looks different from its early days. Everything from the bands to the art on the walls to the volunteers make the Smell feel like a community and less like a place that was once just a venue in a scary, dark downtown alleyway.

I now have friends that have played there, have artwork up on the wall, plan to volunteer there, want to play there, and on any random night I meet friends of friends who are somehow connected and involved. Even though I wasn’t there for the beginning or most of the middle of its 10 years, the Smell has become a place that I call home.

Here is a shot from the final day (Jan. 6) of an 11-day 10-year anniversary event. The lineup from that night consisted of Hard Bop, David Scott Stone, Disaster, Fast Forward, Silver Daggers, Abe Vigoda, Mika Miko and No Age.

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