It's hard out there for an underage band. Most folks who can get a group off the ground do so by playing some shows, saving up a little money, and hitting the road. But when you're a still-wet kid whose friends can't buy drinks, the whole process gets weird. That's where Smith7 Records has made its mark on the Memphis scene.
Smith7 is the work of Brian Vernon, an entrepreneur and curator of young talented bands. Since 2000, Vernon's label has sought out those who could break out: young bands, often underage, who need some direction and help getting their sound together. One would think that working with musicians who could get grounded or go away to college is not the most profitable idea. One would be right about that. That's why Smith7 is a non-profit that seeks only to break even and give the rest to charity.
Smith7's big thing is the Pants Tour. Kids can't tour, you say. But wait! What if the whole tour took place within our fair city? Now we're talking.
Pants Tour kicked off earlier this week but runs through July 19th and "stops" at the Bert Ferguson Community Center, the Brass Door, Avenue Coffee, Memphis Music on Poplar, and several house parties. Vernon's band plays every night, but otherwise the line up changes night-to-night. Bands scheduled to play include Spaceface, Pillow Talk, Chadley Doomington III, Hundred Year Dash, Mancub, the Raleigh Symphony, FRENCHIE!, Sunday's Best, Becky Flax, and lots of others.
All proceeds for the 2014 Pants Tour go to the Center for Domestic Violence. A Pants Pass is $25 and includes admission to every show and a T-shirt. That's right; a T-shirt. If you hate T-shirts or can only make it a particular show, you can pay a $5 donation at the door.