Venue Profile: The Mr. Roboto Project

Kristen Swanson

Between a painting supplies shop and a wheelchair supply store is the last place you would expect a Punk/Hardcore music venue to be. However, The Mr. Roboto Project is there in all its DIY (do it yourself) glory.

Listening to bands play from outside you would think that there was a huge stage inside with hundreds of people in the audience. Walking inside though the atmosphere is intimate and inspiring. At Mr. Roboto the bands don’t play on a stage soaking in “rock star glory”; they are just there to play music. The idea of bands playing right there in front of the audience allows for a much more personal connection that huge venues could never offer.

With the true Punk fashion of not being held down by owners, the quaint venue is unlike any other. Anyone who is interested in booking shows, is into music, art, or poetry, or just has a creative energy can become an “owner” of Mr. Roboto. There is a membership fee of twenty-five dollars and then there is a board of directors that consists of five people who can be seen at shows setting up and organizing things. Once you are a member you can book shows and essentially listen to the music you want to hear. Mr. Roboto is aimed at keeping the true love of music alive. Promoters and agents aren’t calling the shots — you and the bands are. It is a direct connection to the music you love.

Although Mr. Roboto is mainly seen as a Punk/ Hardcore venue, they would like to become more open to all different genres of music. Bands such as Q and Not U, Against Me!, The Weakerthans, Bane, and Anti-Flag have all performed at Mr. Roboto. “Most of these were before these bands got really big,” board member Darren Gruetze says, “but it’s neat to be able to say ‘I saw ______ way back when...’” Mr. Roboto has been around for some time, November 13 marking its tenth “birthday.” To celebrate, Mr. Roboto is throwing a “birthday party” at which local bands will perform and local artwork will be showcased. It will be a great opportunity to check out what the DIY scene and Mr. Roboto Project are all about. When asked about future goals for Mr. Roboto, Gruetze artfully replied “to stay open.” There are few DIY venues still open today and Mr. Roboto is putting up some strong competition for the more mainstream venues around. Mr. Roboto has future plans to broaden their scope, not only beyond music but to also include forms of art and poetry. The future goal of Mr. Roboto would be to transform itself into more of a creative venue, welcoming any and all creativity to walk through the door. For further information on becoming a member, upcoming shows, and directions on how to get there, you can check out The Mr. Roboto Project website at