DIY venue PDM fosters underground music community

The warehouse space hosts concerts and acts as a practice area for local bands.


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The Columbia DIY music scene persists at Peste De Merde. The underground venue puts on a variety of metal and hardcore shows. PDM’s graffiti-covered warehouse has both a concert space, as well as four rooms that serve as practice spaces for local bands. The venue is run as a collective by committee members who pay a portion of the rent for the space.

Committee member Jacob Smiff notes that PDM is just one in a long line of underground venues in Columbia.

“For 10 years … we had a venue called The Hair Hole,” Smiff said. “It was a punk space [that] did a lot of DIY shows. They tore it down so we moved to another venue which is now the Logboat Brewing Company. Then about six years ago we moved here.”

Smiff thinks the Columbia underground music scene has a blend of members.

“It’s pretty transient ‘cause students come and go,” Smiff said. “We get a lot of bands that pop up and leave. But it’s cool ‘cause we have a lot of core locals that have been playing together for a lot of years.”

PDM provides a familiar and inclusive space for both local and touring musicians, like Daniel James of Milwaukee’s Indonesian Junk.

“I love it,” James said. “I love DIY spaces and basement shows and stuff like that. Everyone’s there for the music and the community. We play bars and that’s fun too, but I grew up playing basement shows, and it feels like home.”

“PDM is home to a lot of good bands and a lot of good musicianship” Terrorvision guitarist Justis Jenkins said. “There’s a really good feeling of companionship and brotherhood between everyone who comes here.”

Instead of publishing their address on show flyers or the internet, PDM tells people to ask a local punk or record store worker to find out. This is done for an important reason.

“It’s an illegal venue,” Smiff said. “We get cops here all the time. It’s not like a big secret or anything, but if someone wanted to file a noise report having the address public would make it that much easier for them.”

Because anyone can book a show at PDM, the crowds can vary greatly in age and culture. Smiff also notes that a few jerks are to be expected at any punk show.

“Depending on whose show you’re attending, you’re gonna have a drastically different experience,” Smiff said.

PDM will host Iowa death metal band Dryad on Oct. 19, and a night of Harsh Noise on Oct. 26. Shows at PDM have a cover ranging from five to 10 dollars. However, Smiff says the cover works as more of a donation.

“We won’t turn anyone away,” Smiff said.

Edited by Janae McKenzie |

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