What's up? The Pinhook until forever, that's what.
Save The Pinhook, Night Four: Hammer No More The Fingers, See Gulls, Pipe, Gross Ghost
The Pinhook, Durham
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016
Last night, The Pinhook was saved.
About halfway through See Gulls’ set, owner Kym Register stepped onstage between songs to announce that The Pinhook had reached its $80,000 fundraising goal, lifting the venue out of hot water with the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Pinhook pals hopped onstage to join Register and See Gulls in leading the crowd in a gleeful group sing-along to 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up.”
The news wasn’t entirely a surprise; before the show even started, The Pinhook was expected to hit its goal with sales from night four. Still, the relief was clear. The moment represented a culmination of months of anxiety over whether the Main Street hub for Durham creativity and identity would be able to trounce the unexpected debt. Register had previously explained that loans weren’t really an option, and, taking the advice of her staff, turned to crowdfunding. Between a Fundly page, private donations, raffle ticket sales, and ticket sales to the four Save The Pinhook shows, The Pinhook pulled through.
Of those shows, last night’s was by far the most boisterous. The bill made for a fine display of local rock outfits, but the good spirits and great news added an extra glow. It was of the same caliber as a lot of the shows that happen at The Pinhook—a reminder that it’s important to pay attention to what's going on at your favorite spots on a non-emergency basis, too. Last night was the most singularly minded bill, too, a proper howl-at-the-moon rock show. Gross Ghost, See Gulls, Pipe, Hammer No More The Fingers: All of these outfits presented rollicking, guitar-driven sets.
Every night of Save The Pinhook, I saw a lot of friends. What surprised me, though, was all the people—a lot of them—I didn’t know or even vaguely recognize. There was a whole slew of not-so-regulars who came out because they, too, cared about keeping a space like The Pinhook downtown. As Bull City Records owner and last night's host Chaz Martenstein noted before introducing Hammer No More The Fingers, people vote with their money, and the people decided they needed The Pinhook to stick around.
The word “community” kept coming up at each concert. Phil Cook talked about it two nights ago as he lauded Register for enabling so many artists’ ideas. It simmered up, too, as the Durham-born-and-bred men of Hammer No More The Fingers closed their set with “O.R.G.Y.,” a reinterpretation of which the jazz-leaning Hot At Nights performed on the same stage just last Wednesday. I saw much the same in happy hugs, heard it in the triumphant little toots of party horns.
Thinking about that sense last night, I reflected on the night's bill: Hammer played the first Cat’s Cradle show I ever saw, hooking me on local music as a high schooler. Pipe frontman Ron Liberti—great as usual last night—is responsible for most of the poster prints that hang in my home. I can mark much of the time I’ve spent in Durham over the past six years with ventures to The Pinhook. I’ve forged friendships and had more memorable nights there than I can count.
I’m so glad that I, my friends, and scores of strangers will get to keep doing that over and over again.
Kym Register & Friends, "What's Up"
Gross Ghost, "Howlin"
See Gulls, "Cupid"
Hammer No More The Fingers, "Steam," "Shutterbug," and "Thunder N' Rain"