Underground and welcoming

The Whole celebrates another year of live music on campus

by Keri Carlson

NCorrection: The Daily incorrectly listed the cost of tickets for The Murder by Death show. Prices are $5 for University students and $10 for the general public.

Nobody goes to jail voluntarily. It usually takes police, a judge and a bailiff to get a person inside a cold, dark cell. No wonder, then, that The Whole had trouble living up to its potential.

“The Whole looked like a prison,” said David Hill, the venue’s manager. “I knew that, and everyone knew that.”

The Whole, tucked in a corner in the basement of Coffman Union, did not receive the same kinds of refurbishments as the rest of the building, with colorful carpeting and furniture. It’s a bleak gray, a far-from-welcoming hangout spot.

This year, Hill has worked on transforming the dreary basement into a cozy venue students will want to come to, whether for shows or homework during the school day.

The gray columns are now plastered with brightly colored fliers from past Whole shows such as Dillinger

Four, Los Crudos, The Promise Ring and Low. Blue and green chairs and sofas clutter the upper level, much more like a true student union. Parts of the wall have been trans-formed into a chalkboard on which students have scribbled cartoon faces, professed their love for certain bands and advertised their student groups.

Hill said he wanted students to be able to express themselves; the chalkboard allows them to say what they want.

The most eye-catching addition to The Whole is the sound panels that were painted during spring break and a mural on the wall that leads to the club.

Tamas “Zen” Pomazi, who has been a graffiti artist for more than 20 years, drew the faces of some musicians who have performed at the club.

For the artists chosen to adorn the walls, Zen said, he tried to showcase the bigger national names such as Liz Phair but also wanted to stress local artists such as Atmosphere.

The panels are lit up with lively colors. Zen said he chose to use a lot of pink, green and blue to mimic the colors on the chalkboard.

Hill and Matt Wulff, The Whole Music Club co-chairman, said they believe these renovations have helped the club.

“We’re still in a rebuilding phase,” said Wulff, a University junior. “But our attendance went up for the year.”

To celebrate a year of great shows and the new renovations, The Whole will end the semester with two big programs that include Kill the Vultures, a hip-hop group that features members of Odd Jobs and Esmerine, an experimental group featuring members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Now that the interior of the venue has been made more inviting, The Whole can concentrate on improving other aspects of the club. Hill said he hopes that the club can increase awareness on campus next year.

Wulff said he hopes the club continues to grow until it’s back to how it was in the 1990s.