So I always hear from people that it's so hard to meet friends in Portland--they're stuck up, or standoffish, or flaky or cliquey. For a lot of transplants, this adds another level of difficulty to living in a new city. But what if you're an indie rocker or a hardcore kid, and you already feel alienated, and all you can do is sit around and listen to Bright Eyes or old Jimmy Eat World albums and weep and get drunk? Shouldn't there be somewhere you can go, a community that will embrace you and love you as its own--all the while discussing the new Air record or how good Les Savvy Fav is, and trying to figure out the title of that Peaches song that's so awesome? Well, there is. That place is called makeoutclub.com.
Makeoutclub.com founder Gibby (like Madonna and Cher, Gibby has no last name) has created a welcoming society of music enthusiasts that not only encompasses individual cities, but also the world. Originally, he titled the site after an Unrest song, and was going to use it to post his poetry, photography, and writing. But when a friend, Brian Arban, decided to quit his own "meet people" site called "SEXY SCENESTERS," Gibby picked up where he left off, although this time with a focus on music, shows, and bands.
I asked Gibby if he thought of the website as more of a dating service or an "I like the Cure, you like the Cure" meeting service, and he responded: "It's not a service It's a community. A place. I haven't made a dime on it, and I spend about four or five hours a day maintaining it, along with a few other people. Because it's free and publicly accessible, of course there are people that use it as a 'dating page.' That's fine. There are also tons of kids who find roommates and apartments, book tours, form bands, start tape-trade rings, zines, etc and I find that much more interesting--don't you?"
Why yes, I thought to myself, I guess the internet isn't so bad--when people are actually using it constructively, instead of downloading double penetration shots. If my brother had makeoutclub during his days of trading butt rock bootlegs, my parents would have saved a couple Gs in phone bills. And if a website is catering to a niche market, it seems to me like the subscribers are less pathetic--as long as they still leave the house once in a while.
This Friday, makeoutclub is teaming up with K Records' COCO, Get the Hell Out of the Way of The Volcano, Examination Of (from North Dakota, and makeoutclub faves), and DJs Fact 103 (Gibby) and Selector Dub Narcotic (K impresario Calvin Johnson). The show is at the Meow Meow; in my opinion, that's a perfect market for unsuspecting webheads. Its official title is "IN REAL LIFE": i.e., you get to meet your makeoutclub friends in... real life. (Or, outside of the internet, where people move around and breathe and stuff.) In fact, one of the first profile/photos on makeout is actually of Calvin. Hmmm, maybe he'd like to trade zines with me, or something.
Actually, the relationship between Gibby and Calvin (and makeout and K), is sort of an online success story--although sparked by a personal meeting. The two met at a show and started emailing and realized they were both out for the same thing--"bringing kids together through music"--and so they ended up doing a party together and who knows, maybe even more. (Okay, I'm trying to be funny people, don't get pissed.)