The Shredder in downtown Boise is up and running as an all ages music venue — one of only two in the area which consistently accommodates patrons under 21 and serves alcohol (the other being The Crux).Owner Justin Cantrell has been active in the underground music scene for years, booking house shows in Boise for over a decade including countless all-ages shows at The Myrtle Morgue — his own house.
“I remember being a kid and not having places to go. Like, for a while there in between Crazy Horse and JD’s days I just had to resort to house shows,” said Cantrell.
The two venues Cantrell mentioned, Crazy Horse and JD & Friends, have since shut down — a common fate for all-ages venues in the area.
The Shredder, formerly a vacant warehouse, has been overhauled by Cantrell to meet occupancy and fire code regulations, and has been swagged out to look like the punk den of every teenage dirtbag’s dream. The space boasts a small bar that serves beer and cider, a pool table, a back patio, several video arcade games and until recently, a half pipe near the main stage. It has been likened by many to the lair from the 1990 film “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.
The highlights of The Shredder for Boise State students include its proximity to campus near 9th and Myrtle, a short walk from the College of Business and Economics (COBE), and its accommodation of our mixed-age student population. Music lovers can enjoy live music (and, if of age, a brewski or three) without being shunned or having to shun their buddies due to their age in relation to alcohol laws.
Local musician and Boise State junior Aaron Bossart spoke about the difficulty of performing in a band at age-restricted venues while being underage.
“It kind of sucked because we had to wait outside when we weren’t playing and none of our friends who were under 21 at the time were able to get in,” he said.
The drummer, who recently celebrated his 21st birthday, when asked where he would see live music before turning 21, replied, “Before (The Shredder) turned all ages it was The Boise Venue or The Knitting Factory — maybe The Flying M, or The Crux, but The Flying M is all the way out in Nampa and The Knitting Factory is f***ing expensive. … I’ve missed so many bands because I couldn’t get in because I was under 21.”
The Boise Venue has also since relocated to Nampa, leaving The Crux, The Knitting Factory (for select events) and now The Shredder as the only all-ages music venues near campus.
The Shredder is unique among these in that it specifically caters to underground musicians and fans, heavily featuring punk, hardcore, hip hop, ska and metal artists. It is an environment where a 16-year-old can try her hand at moshing for the first time, a pack of hardcore twenty-somethings can rock out to their favorite local grind core band over some beers, or an aging veteran of the scene can enjoy a show with the family.
At a recent show, a two year old sporting a jean jacket with patches from numerous punk bands stitched across the back, was witnessed toddling on the patio with his attentive parents while they enjoyed a brew and a band in the summer heat.
The Shredder regularly books local and touring bands — recently big underground names such as Every Time I Die and Green Jello — and will welcome The Queers to the stage in September.