For more than a year, Ruth and Lauren Laramee hosted D.I.Y. shows in their hometown of Wilbraham, Mass. under the title The Common Place. But by August, the sisters had decided to move to Denver to go to school. Soon they began scoping out the new musical scene, and in less than five months they organized the “Stache Bash” benefit show. Set to take place on Thursday, Dec. 1 at the Hi-Dive, this show will feature music by four local bands, as well as an intriguing “best mustache contest.” More importantly, the “Stache Bash” will benefit the non-profit organization, Blue Star Connection, which helps cancer patients receive donated musical instruments.
The Metropolitan spoke to the Laramee sisters about The Common Place, the “Stache Bash,” and why music is so beneficial.
IG: What is The Common Place all about?
RL: The Common Place is a unique venue that was established in Western Massachusetts with a primary goal of making “Do It Yourself” performances more accessible to the community. We began by hosting small-scale concerts at our house with local bands playing for about 150 kids. [We then] journeyed across the country to Denver. With The Common Place establishment over 2000 miles away from what it once called “home,” we wanted to keep the dream alive.
IG: How did you learn about the Blue Star Connection? Why did you decide to get involved and help out?
LL: I took a sports, entertainment and event management class [where] we were required to do 10 hours or so of “service learning,” which consisted of students going out and gaining hands-on experience. I decided I wanted to do something that related more toward the music field [and] learned about the Blue Star Connection through Amanda Oldani, a fellow student in my class.
IG: Why did you decide to host this show at the Hi-Dive?
LL: Since moving out to Colorado and bringing the name with us, The Common Place [hasn’t had] a physical location to host shows. We decided to go with the Hi-Dive, a smaller scale venue, which we felt would be a perfect match to host the upcoming “Stache Bash” benefit show.
IG: Along with The Common Place presenting, Denver’s own Proper Barbershop is sponsoring this show. How did you get a barbershop on board?
LL: I saw a comment on the wall of [the show’s] event page from Jordan Elliot Weinstein saying Proper Barbershop would like to sponsor this event. I was absolutely thrilled [so] I looked up Proper Barbershop, found a number and called up Jordan asking if I could meet with him and discuss how the Proper Barbershop could get involved with the event. We talked about having mustache categories for the event and getting different prizes for the winners of each category.
IG: Did you venture out and approach bands with the idea of “Stache Bash?”
LL: Coming from Massachusetts and only being in Colorado since the end of August, I knew absolutely no bands at all. Nate Valdez, one of the first people I met in Colorado, happened to be in a band called In the Whale. He pointed me in the direction of local bands. And from there, I looked up several different bands.
IG: Which band are you looking forward to seeing the most?
LL: To be honest I am looking forward to all of them. I feel I put together a solid line-up of bands which all have great passion and awesome music.
RL: I’m mostly looking forward to seeing The Don’ts and Be Carefuls because their music has a certain energy that makes me want to dance all night long.
IG: The secondary theme of this show is the “who has the best mustache” contest. How did you come up with this idea?
LL: Coming from Massachusetts you don’t really see a mustache. Walking down the streets of Denver or going into local music venues, I really began to notice the mustaches. They are insane, with the tight curls at the end, like nothing I have seen before. The light bulb kind of just came on [and] I figured, “What’s a better way to end ‘no-shave-November’ than to have a mustache-themed show?” Plus, it adds a little edge to the whole benefit show — having a theme gets the audience more involved and creates a memorable experience.
IG: In your opinion, what other non-profit organizations need help?
LL: I am still relatively new to Colorado, and the organizations out here are all inspiring. From the food banks, to helping the homeless, the organizations are endless and could use the help. For instance, I was at the Marquis Theater and the organization Pick Up America got up on stage. They explained to the audience how a group of them walked across America, on foot, and picked up all the litter people threw on the side of the road. It’s our generation that can make the changes and improve the world we live in — it’s all about coming together and making the differences.
IG: Lastly, what does a show like this say about Denver’s musical community? Do you think music alone has the power to benefit others?
RL: Music is all, it has the power to make light of any situation as well as to create a moment. With shows like this people are gaining an experience while helping out a good cause. [But] this universal appreciation for music has the power to grow and benefit even more than just people.