A new DIY house venue in Sioux City called The Ox has opened its doors to music lovers of all ages.
The Ox was started by Kendall Motl, a Sioux City resident. She said she started the venue in her home so more kids could be included in the music scene instead of having to go to bars to hear music.
“When I was (a teenager), the biggest part of my life was going to shows and I wanted to make that a reality for kids in Sioux City because that wasn’t a thing before,” Motl said. “Sioux City does not have an all ages venue. We have one, but it’s a bar and kids don’t want to go to a bar. I wanted a place for kids to come and feel safe and find music.”
The first show at The Ox was on July 6 with the band Boys Home. Motl said since then she’s seen all ages of people attend shows.
“We get teenagers and then we get the old punks who went to shows like 10 years ago that come out and support what we’re doing,” she said. “It’s really cool to see these different age groups from different genres coming out for every show.”
The name “The Ox” came from their home’s original purpose. It used to be a halfway house for men called the Oxford house, Motl said.
“Just to keep the history of it, we shortened it to The Ox,” she said.
Motl said she’s different from other music promoters in the area.
“One thing I do that I think is a little different from other promoters (is) I spend a lot of time looking for smaller DIY bands who are either unsigned or signed to a small label just starting out, so I reach out to them and I’m like, ‘Hey, we exist, so if you’re ever in our area we’d love to have you,'” Motl said.
Sunday night brought PINE, Salt Creek, Winter Wayfarer and Between Strangers to the house.
PINE is a Canadian shoegaze band fronted by singer Darlene Deschamps. She said the band name isn’t named after the tree, but the verb.
She said the music scene in Canada is more sparse, but similar to the U.S. The band is on tour until Nov. 26.
“We met through music and living together, people we knew, traveling, the internet,” Deschamps said. “My least favorite thing about touring is bringing all my (stuff) inside the place I’m staying. Touring is hard, but it’s worth it. It’s obviously something we enjoy doing and at the end of the day, it makes sense.”
PINE stayed overnight at The Ox after the show.
“That doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s really awesome,” Deschamps said.
Salt Creek is an indie rock band from Lincoln, NE. Nathan Richardson, a guitarist, said the band met through another band called Ransom.
“We were in previous bands before and started writing together on the side and it worked out,” he said.
Winter Wayfarer is a solo act from Collin Hop. Hop said he’s the heart of the band, and is influenced by “quirky, complicated jazz and romantic classical music.”
“I recorded the whole record, but everybody who plays in this band is supportive enough and good enough of my friends they want to be able to help me in a live setting,” Hop said. “I don’t know where it’s going to go in the future. Influences are basically things that kind of deviate from a genre technically and make their own sound.”
Between Strangers is a newer local band led by bassist Ryan Berk. He said the band has varied influences, and they all met from working at the Hard Rock Cafe together.
“Our guitarist has a really classic rock influence, like Pink Floyd and that kind of thing. I’m really into alternative and rock music so Foo Fighters is one of my main inspirations,” Berk said. “That’s kind of the feel we were going for.”