The Green Room: A Space for the Alternative

The Green Room is a music venue like no other in Tyler. At 601 South Glenwood Blvd., the room itself offers nothing but a space to occupy – no trendy decorations to post on Instagram, no particular aesthetic to lure a particular audience.

Unlike any other performance space in town, The Green Room requires its audience to invest in nothing but the music. 

Caroline Car performs at The Green Room during a May 13 show. 📷 All photos by Jonathan Garcia, @amomentsglance; lighting design by Andy Bryan, @mute.fx

Dave Jarvis, proprietor of The Green Room and Tyler resident of 21 years, said it “has been a passion … to run a venue for bands that don’t really have a stage or an audience. I wanted to start The Green Room to give other bands a chance.” 

The Green Room is completely volunteer and community based. “We don’t make a dime, at this point doing two or at most three shows a month, we’re not even covering our rent. All of this is being done through donors,” Jarvis said.

In the years preceding The Green Room’s debut, the spaces for alternative artists to perform were in constant flux. Brandon Glover, who performs under the moniker Blue Ambient, is a local indie-rock artist. Glover recounted the spaces that once curated the Tyler indie-alt scene.

 “Clicks had all the metal bar bands. There was also Nine Muses and another place we called the DIY Spot. A lot of hardcore bands played there,” Glover said.

 Artists like Blue Ambient also played at house shows, where friends would open their living rooms and garages to “whatever noise was happening: indie music, some heavy stuff, even some punk,” Glover said.

 Sadly, none of these venues had staying power in Tyler. Blue Ambient, having played both house shows and at The Green Room, detailed the differences between the two. 

At The Green Room, the audience shares the same plane with performers Olive Vox at a May 13 show.

“Dave definitely has more bands lined up. It’s an actual venue. The house shows were just thrown together,” he said. “Even the more official venues like Clicks weren’t accessible to kids under 21.” 

Since The Green Room debut in 2021, Tylerites of all ages and identities have had a chance to experience unique performances from Tyler, neighboring cities and places as far as Sacramento, California. 

The Green Room has featured alternative rock, indie rock, sludge metal, screamo and on July 8, a psychedelic pop band from Tucson, Arizona, Treasure Mammal. The band’s front man, Abe Gil, encouraged his audiences to “believe in each other.” Joined by friends and band-mates Hannah McCain and Holly Hall, the trio not only performed original songs but pushed the boundaries of what performance art looks like in Tyler.. 

With the stage name Barack O’Drama, Holly Hall ventured from outside the band’s space and engaged with the crowd, forming conga lines and dancing with audience members. 

“My entire job in the band is to dance and encourage audience participation. I get the people in the back that don’t wanna move to smile, dance and experience joy,” she said.

 The Green Room’s lack of stage makes audience engagement with artists highly accessible. The audience is not separated from the performers; everyone is on the same playing field, making The Green Room an intimate, impactful experience. Even those not making music are part of the show.

Band Big Fun performed at The Green Room March 18.

After their performance, Gil explained beginner artists need someone to tell them, “Yo, you can do this! When you give people a chance, you have opportunities for them to grow and for you to grow,” Gil said.

The Green Room audience is as experimental and alternative as its artists  – a place in Tyler for LGBTQ+ young people, among others, to gather. The Green Room provides a space to experience experimental music breaking social and artistic barriers in Tyler. The Green Room isn’t just a place  to discover art; it’s a place to find an encouraging, accepting community. 

Olive Vox rivets a live audience at The Green Room May 13.

“The audience was like the most supportive people in the world. The Green Room is always going to be uplifting. It’s always a constructive, helpful experience,” Glover said.

The Green Room will feature 52 HZ Whale, Gypsum and the Travelers, Cloi Crider, Eve’s Road and Lenny and the D Saturday, Aug. 13.

Rachel Neal, born in Togo, West Africa and a resident of Tyler, Texas for most of her life, is an enthusiast of all things fine arts. She studies English and Art History at the University of North Texas.

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