When it comes to live music, major commercial venues spend a great deal of production value to convey a special experience. However, for a truly intimate, unique concert, no amount of money will ever compete with a good old fashioned house show.
With no stage to separate band from audience, fans can get closer than at any traditional venue, and what is often a spectatorial event transforms into a communal one.
This is especially the case with one of Oklahoma City’s new house venues, Khaos House (located at 7328 NW 115th St.), which made the perfect place for a full night of glorious emo music earlier his month.
Since opening its doors last year to the punk and DIY scenes, Khaos House has quickly made its mark in OKC’s live music underground. Joining the likes of Mothership Connection and The Dojo as a torch-carrying haven for all-ages counterculture happenings, Khaos House is the rare house venue that extends beyond a mere meeting place for music-minded cliques to party on the occasional weekend, as many unnamed house “venues” tend to be currently.
The space has hosted touring acts and local acts alike in its road sign adorned living room with plenty of hospitality to go around. That hospitality comes primarily from the house’s two queer-friendly cohabitants, Rob Khaos & Scout Anvar, both of whom work to keep Khaos House a safe space while assembling quality experiences for guests.
On this chilly Saturday evening, dozens of young music fans showed up with $5 donations to support and vibe with four of Oklahoma’s trending emo bands: Ben Quad (OKC), My Heart & Liver Are the Best of Friends (Tulsa), Cliffdiver (Tulsa), and Carvist (OKC).
Meme-loving quartet Ben Quad kicked off the show early with a slew of angsty numbers interspersed with dad jokes. Embodying the deflective, post-depression Internet humor of today, the band clicked with an already engaged Millennial audience to start the night off on a high note.
With the enthusiastic crowd packed into the living room and spilling into the kitchen, it didn’t take long for one joker to take up crowdsurfing early on. This “joker,” however, was none other than the venue co-owner himself, Rob, who would also go on to instigate mosh pits throughout the night.
Next, My Heart & Liver Are the Best of Friends rocked its dramatic set with low-key stage presence and high-energy musical performance.
Here, the moshing escalated to the point of toppling a mic stand, but never got fully out of control. Fortunately, the venue offered free water to ensure all attendees remained hydrated as the crowd’s energy amped up.
Cliffdiver’s set was probably the most heightened of the night (unless one were to ask Ben Quad, as these two bands are currently in the midst of a hilarious beef with each other). The frontman’s physically expressive performance proved especially engaging for those up close, and even with its signature smooth saxophone in the mix, the band sounded fierce and fiery.
As the night waned, the crowd slowly started to diminish until a tight but robust core of attendees remained to give headliner Carvist a particularly focused audienceship.
Carvist came across as the most introverted of the night’s acts, with members often either looking down with hair draped over their faces or turned away from the audience completely. Nonetheless, the band put on an exciting, visceral show that hit such an emotional intensity that by the end a second encore was encouraged. The band also shared some new, unrecorded music as well, which were some of the best compositions of the night.
When everything wrapped by 11 pm to stay within the neighborhood’s noise regulations, there were no complaints. Rather, everyone seemed thrilled with the show, and it isn’t hard to see why.
Full-throttle performances met up-close-and-personal staging to create a musical experience unlike any other, especially for fans of the moody, scream-heavy genre that prevailed throughout the night.
Khaos House is suitable for a wide range of styles, but it truly hits its niche with alternative scenes like punk, metal, and in this case, emo. It takes a selfless venue like this to ensure such artistic and cultural communities thrive, so here’s hoping this one hangs around for a while.
Continue below for: 1) a full set of photos from the release show; 2) upcoming shows at Khaos House; and 3) Carvist’s new album, Breathe, which is now streaming on all music platforms.
Upcoming Khaos House shows
(all shows are a suggested $5 donation; doors at 7 pm, music at 8 pm)
aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.