Cave 9 is the sort of venue that can and does exist everywhere in much the same form. The balconied two-story warehouse space may be a little more elaborate than the average Anywhere, USA basement but the essentials are the same: an all-ages d.i.y. space where kids (of any age, really) can go to see whatever local and touring punk and hardcore bands happen to be around on any given night.
As an archetypal space, the venue played home to a variety of archetypal acts to celebrate their fifth anniversary (many of them temporarily reformed just for the occasion), and it seems that local grassroots hardcore has changed little in the last ten or fifteen years. Not that it needed to. The power of all of these kinds of bands and shows is largely contextual, and if you’d first heard these bands at the right time in your life, they’d probably be your favorites anywhere. Like Greil Marcus wrote twenty years ago, any good punk song can sound like the best song you’ve ever heard, because it’s vital, it’s real, it’s happening right now. At places like Cave 9, it still is.
Incidentally, Cave 9 founder Aaron also works across the street at a tattoo parlor, where IMPOSE co-publisher Gordon Downs was able to get the free tattoo of the day.