The Music Underground 

In Oakland, unlicensed DIY spaces have quietly exploded into a thriving music scene.

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With more creativity, control, and sense of community, it's not shocking that local bands would prefer to play a DIY space than an established venue — even if they have a choice. "Last Saturday I had five bands booked and only one showed up," lamented Chittock a couple months ago. "Then I hear there was a party down the road. They make a lot more money when they do that because it's all-ages."

In an ironic twist, some clubs now appear to be taking some cues from the warehouse scene. "I just went to Public Works for the first time, but what struck me is that it's made to look like a loft space," said Fluorescent Grey about the San Francisco club. "I don't know if that's how it looked when they moved in and took it over but it's made to look like an Oakland warehouse loft. And I just thought it was funny because it's the most marketed club in SF right now besides 103 Harriet."

Ultimately, however, Oakland club owners don't appear to view the proliferation of DIY venues as a zero-sum game — even if they acknowledge that they do occasionally eat into their customer base. "It's always good to have music," said Chittock. "The more music we have out there the better. That means more people are coming out to see more bands."

"Anything that supports and furthers Oakland's musical culture and art culture is extremely essentially to keeping money on this side of the bridge, and also sparking interest from outsiders to move and live here," agreed Herbers. "It gives people a reason to come here and tour here. If anything, the city benefits from it."

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