Striation Arts / facebook.com/striationarts

Carnifex, a metal band from San Diego county, recently performed at Basement Transmissions on March 6.

Student artists find home at Basement Transmissions

Apr 4 • Arts & Leisure, Top Stories • 915

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OLIVIA BURGER
a&l editor

No drugs. No drinking. No drama.
When it comes to providing a place for performances, Basement Transmissions keeps it simple with their motto.
Located on 145 W. 11th St., Basement Transmissions has become a safe environment for Gannon University students and Erie community members to enjoy music and art.
Open to all ages, the venue has been dedicated to offering youth an artistic center for creating and performing since its establishment in 2011.
Founded by Robert Jensen, aka Bobby J, Basement Transmissions began with the hopes of creating a new scene for music and creativity after a few other venues in the Erie area closed their doors.
After a former music venue called Forward Hall went out of business, a room for opportunity opened up for Jensen. With some ideas and improvements of his creation, he opened up his own music venue in the Erie area.
“I started the business with $500,” Jensen said. “Now I own the building and it’s progressively getting bigger all the time.”
A music lover all his life, Jensen performed in a band and made a living doing shows in his basement years before owning the music venue.
In 1998, he started a record label out of his basement called Basement Transmissions, and the name for the venue was inspired by the label.
Basement Transmissions has expanded and thrived since its conception as a label, with all sorts of local and global artists performing on its stage.
Guest performers’ music genres have ranged anywhere from death metal to hip-hop, showcasing a wide range of sounds for music fans.
Big name artists featured at Basement Transmissions in the past include Crown the Empire, Chief Keef, Mushroomhead, Blackalicious, Whitechapel and many others.
Many local artists have also performed at Basement Transmissions. The venue allows them to practice and perfect their talents in front of a hometown audience during special events and free open mic nights.
Freshman pre-pharmacy major Garrett Jageman is a local artist that has performed at Basement Transmissions over 30 times.
“When I had first started playing, Basement Transmissions was truly the only venue available for groups to perform their own music,” Jageman said.
“Even though my musical groups have expanded our horizons and have played in other cities, counties and even states, our home has always been Basement Transmissions.”

Basement Transmissions certainly isn’t limited to music, however, with many of its events featuring workshops or showcasing local artists in some form.
In the past, Basement Transmissions has hosted art exhibits, craft shows, guitar clinics, punk rock flea markets, pop-up shops, makeup and war paint workshops, poetry slams and an annual alternative prom event called Toxic Prom.
Senior social work major Rachel Webb recently attended a pop-up shop event held at Basement Transmissions where she sold hand-painted thrift store garments.
“Having events like the pop-up shop utilizes the venue for more creative events that Erie needs,” Webb said.
“I really like the big open space of Basement Transmissions as well as the overall vibe there — it’s a lot different than most venues in Erie.”
Aside from promoting various events and providing a main stage for performances, Basement Transmissions also offers practice space for musicians, a recording area and even a skate shop, making it the ideal spot for creativity and collaboration.
Whether you are an artist, performer or an attendee, Basement Transmissions gives all students a place to let their guard down and be themselves.
“While I may not be a super active participant at Basement Transmissions anymore, the venue raised me as much as my own family did,” Jageman said.
“Without the support of the staff and owner Bobby J, I would never have gotten to experience my fondest memories.”
Upcoming events at Basement Transmissions include a pop-up punk flea market on Friday, the Rock Star Crazy Tour with artist K Camp on Thursday, April 13, the Toxic Prom with a “Freak Show and Oddities” theme on Saturday, April 22, and “The Devils Wears Prada” on Monday, May 8.
For more information about Basement Transmissions and a full list of upcoming events visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/basement.transmissions/.

Photo contributed by Striation Arts / facebook.com/striationarts

OLIVIA BURGER
burger028@knights.gannon.edu

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