Outside the safety of local rock schools, young guitar slingers in Boise have historically struggled to find their place. For some time now, the underage rock scene has depended on illegal house shows and artist-hostile pay-to-play schemes. And as Clint Vickery, guitarist for Spondee and co-owner of the short-lived, all-ages venue Colorcube told Boise Weekly in June 2010:
"If kids don't start developing a love to go see live music when they're young, they don't have that when they're older. So, the only reason they're going to go and see it is because it's at a bar. They're not going for the music, they're going for the alcohol."
The Crux, a new coffee shop that opened at 1022 W. Main St. in January, might be aiming to fill that niche by rolling out an eclectic array of live music accessible to minors most evenings. And since it's a coffee shop first and a venue second, it may even turn out to be financially viable.
Though The Crux is playing down its marketing until construction is completed on the west wing of its seating area, management has already started putting acts on the picture window stage. Monday night featured a performance from local punkers Art Fad and touring psych-rockers Max Pain and the Groovies.
Both bands were louder than one might expect for a venue that size, but the 30 or so young people surrounding the stage didn't seem to mind.
Because The Crux charged a cover to benefit the touring band, the show was 21 and older. But management said that will be the exception, not the rule. And most of the crowd members looked as if they may be having one giant 21st birthday party.
One of the handful of older people in the room remarked that it reminded him of The Dreamwalker, a coffee shop that served as a cultural anchor for Boise's young people nearly 20 years ago.
Preferring to rely on word-of-mouth until construction is finished, The Crux doesn't have a website, Facebook page or public calendar of any sort. But all signs are pointing to the fact that it's a locale worth keeping an eye on.