A Fresh Take On The House Venue
A drive down Oak Street treats riders to views of Victorian-style homes, several restaurants, and one kick-ass concert venue known as the Miami House. With a retro architecture so striking they’ve made it their logo, the Miami House is certainly beautiful from the outside, but what makes it so outstanding is what happens inside.
The venue hosts private invite-only concerts with enough occupancy for only 50 to 60 people. Each performance is filmed, similarly to Sofar Sounds or La Blogotheque’s Soirée De Poche series. Founder Joe James talked with The Dentonite about the launch of the Miami House YouTube, and what the venue aims to achieve with their private concerts.
Two years ago, James was searching for a place to live when he came across a space with endless potential. “The house was trashed,” he said, but since then the interior has been overhauled and redecorated. James believes that the house fills a niche previously unoccupied by venues in Denton, but that the privacy serves not to exclude, but to fulfill different needs of the performer. A smaller audience leads to a listening room atmosphere, and having a larger set space aids bands that have more involved setups. James himself believes in the rawness of live performances, as well as attendees' ability to be on the same level as the performer. Whereas many house venues are known to encapsulate the idyllic college party aesthetic, James is flipping the switch on how attendees experience a concert.
At the heart of the Miami House lies a love for music, and a belief in the musician. James said, “Denton is this really interesting place because it’s a hub for the music scene. It’s in the middle of a lot of major scenes. It’s a breeding ground for sidemen, because of the music programs here and the scene in Dallas.”
A musician himself, James spoke true of the rich and nuanced Denton music culture, even speaking on a relative disconnect between “musical academics” and the DIY crowd that coexist on all four sides of the square and beyond. But beyond genre or style, James is inspired and driven by the amazing musicians that surround Denton — so much so that he is dedicated to creating a space to showcase their talents.
“These people exist, and some of them are about to go on and do incredible things. They’re some of the most incredible musicians I’ve ever seen in my life and you can come see them for free. You can stand right next to them and hear what they’re saying, and in ten years they’ll be winning Grammys,” James said. “And if Miami House has a mission statement, that’s it.”
Header image photographed by Mallory Frenza
Header image by Cristopher Rodgers