As far as I know, the people who run the seminal all-ages venue 1919 Hemphill are cool and non-judgy about whatever funtoxicants a person enjoys everywhere else. It’s just that 1919 is committed to being a safe place for minors to enjoy live music, ergo the 1919 motto: “no drunks, no drugs, no jerks.” As a longtime binge-drinker who loves marijuana and supports responsible use of recreational chemicals, I find 1919’s prohibitions counter-productive to my prescription for a good time. Then again, I’m 37, and 1919 Hemphill wasn’t really created for me. It might advertise “all ages,” but if we’re being honest, 1919’s shows are mostly for the kids.
Eventually, though, those kids get old enough to go to bars. And, as it happens, a bar right across the street from 1919 has begun hosting similar-sounding shows (mostly punk, hardcore, and various interpretations of heavy metal). The 1912 Club is as divey as they come, but it’s the kind of place where your money is as green as everyone else’s.
Weekly editor Anthony Mariani reminded me that 1912 used to be known as the Sinaloa Bar. I’d also been told by some other friends that the regulars are predominately Hispanic. Indeed, when I posted up at 1912 last Thursday night, I overheard snatches of conversations en español on both sides of me. The one to my left was apparently really funny and R rated, because it was full of laughs and multiple applications of variations of the verb chingar. But the bartender was bilingual and stoked to be there, and never once did I get the “gringo go home” vibe.
Calling the 1912 Club “nice” is kind of a stretch. It’s certainly clean, and the $2 cans of Colt 45 and well tequila shots make getting drunk there a helluva bargain. But if you have a friend who wants to know if a bar’s simple syrup is made with organic sugar, you should probably go somewhere else. Along with the preponderance of Spanish words and brown skin tones, he or she would probably have a hard time appreciating the way the black and white checks of 1912’s linoleum floor turn into bare concrete right past the pool tables. It’s still a dive, after all.
And yet! 1912 is equipped with an internet jukebox, and its bar top is decorated with baskets of munchies. The room is probably big enough to hold about 80 folks comfortably, with the bands setting up in the northeast corner. Given the theatrical lights at the wings of the stage area and the row of contiguous mirrors lining the walls, I’d venture that at some point in the building’s history dancing to disco music was conducted here.
1912 Hemphill St, FW. 817-921-0411.[/box_info]
I’d gone to 1912 specifically to see Clear Acid, a heavy, atmospheric four-piece that reminds me a little of Japanese giants Boris, if Boris had a black metal bent but didn’t give two shits about the sub-genre’s rigid rules and signifiers. I’m pretty sure Clear Acid’s approximately 30-minute set consisted entirely of only two songs, both of which flooded the space with torrents of distortion and reverb.
Clear Acid’s four members appear to be in their early 20s, and the band would definitely fit in with 1919 Hemphill’s predilection for heavy, abrasive, experimental music. The next band at 1912 looked even younger. And they sounded like, well, The Adolescents. And the bassist dressed and carried himself like the world’s biggest Mark Hoppus fan (Hurley hat, oversized Dickies shorts, surf green Mark Hoppus Signature Jazz Bass®), with arguably superior chops. Watching them, I actively tried to ignore the fact that I was the one of the oldest people there. But then it occurred to me: A lot of the barely 21-and-ups milling around me might think the same thing should they pop into 1919. What’s the age when you stop having fun at straight-edge shows? Whatever it is, I hope you figure it out over a couple of beers at a bar. –– Steve Steward
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