January 07, 2007 : Underground Rock - Globe and Mail
BY NADJA SAYEJ
Just past the green of Trinity Bellwoods Park, there's a brick abode tucked away on Bellwoods Avenue. It is quiet by day -- but loud by night, as it becomes a venue for indie rockers who scuff their socks on the beer-stained carpet while clanging away to a crowd of cross-legged kids in knit sweaters.
Dubbed "The Bellwoods House," the three-bedroom bungalow has been a word-of-mouth spot for local musicians to play and record since 2004.
Guitarist for Ohbijou, Casey Mecija, who rents out the house with her sister Jenn, 21, and friend Kimberly England, 28, spawned the idea. She simply craved to share her stacks of electric pianos, guitars and house drum kit with other musicians for free.
"It's a practice space that has evolved into an unconventional venue," said Ms. Mecija, 25, lazing on a couch. "Bands have played in their socks and underwear and it gets pretty crazy. The crowd pounds the walls and ceiling with excitement."
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But not everyone's excited. Their next-door neighbour, Joe Sousa, is known to stand by the fence at night with his hands on his hips.
"The drums are the worst," says Mr. Sousa, 47, a slaughterhouse butcher. "They play late at night and my wife has to get up at 5 a.m. for work every day."
It's a good thing that Friday's launch for a Bellwoods House compilation CD is happening at the Tranzac Club rather than at home. Entitled Friends in Bellwoods (http://www.friendsinbellwoods.com), the double disc celebrates all 36 basementers, and is what co-organizer James Bunton, 26, calls "an audio diary of the house." Gentleman Reg, Sebastien Grainger (ex-singer and drummer of Death from Above 1979) and the Paramedics (with Bry Webb from the Constantines) will play, among others. All proceeds go to the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank.
"It's a small music world," Ms. Mecija says. "Everyone is one degree away from the basement."