by Avalon Clare
When Jimmy Conway booked his first show in February of 2013, he had the kind of experience that comes with the territory of building a DIY music scene. It was frantic and frustrating, with one of the bands breaking up just days before the show and the local opener cancelling an hour before they were supposed to play. But it wasn’t discouraging—not to Conway, at least.
Since then, Conway’s Drop-Off Productions has hosted more than 40 shows in Fort Collins, mostly packed with people sitting cross-legged on the floor of his own living room. He’s booked acts like Wax Idols, Digital Leather, Peach Kelli Pop and Nick Jaina, to name a few. Just last year, he joined forces with fellow musician Max Barcelow of Gregory Alan Isakov, Mosey West and Strawberry Runners.
“The purpose has always been to put on a good show,“ said Barcelow, “sustainable to the mission of curating a memorable experience for everyone involved.”
Every aspect of Drop-Off Productions embodies the Do-It-Yourself ethos. It’s not unusual for Conway to cold call bands or promoters, and show posters are screen printed by hand in Conway’s living room. Since its inception, Drop-Off has worked with more than 20 local artists on posters, visual art, and film/sound production.
On June 9th Drop-Off Productions hosted their first Live at the Lyric show, which moved the majority of the shows Conway was booking from his living room floor to the indie movie theatre. These Live at the Lyric shows are typically all ages and feature two bands on the bill. Since the Lyric isn’t a traditional venue, the Drop-Off house show aesthetic isn’t lost. “The Lyric provides a very intimate setting,” said Conway, adding, “It maintains all the same qualities of hosting a band in [a] living room, but with all the perks of accommodating bands of various size and volume.”
In November Drop-Off Productions will host Omaha band The Good Life (of Saddle Creek records’ fame) with Big Harp, less than five months after the start of the Live at the Lyric series. Bringing bands that wouldn’t normally play here has always been a goal of Conway’s. “I wanted to bring bands that I liked and thought other people in town would appreciate having the opportunity to see,” he said.
The Good Life is the beloved side project of Tim Kasher from Cursive, and this is their first album release in eight years. Having sold out venues two and three times the size of the Lyric during their first shows on this tour, it’s pretty remarkable that Drop-Off booked them at a venue the size of the Lyric. Then again, maybe there is something special about the DIY mindset that Conway and Barcelow exemplify. In Conway’s words, “Being able to design and provide a memorable experience for both the artists and audience from the time the show is announced until the band leaves town” is precisely what entices talent like The Good Life to play a show at an indie theatre in a college town.
For more information and tickets for the Drop-Off Productions shows, visit lyriccinemacafe.com/live-the-lyric
Avalon Clare is an illustrator, DJ, feminist, and pop culture fairy. She is a resident artist at the Downtown Artery and a Colorado native. Social media makes her heart sparkle. Follow her at @UnicorneClare.