Allen not only books and promotes shows for the Green Bar, one of the few venues in town that features solely original music, but he also fronts the Piss Shivers. That’s not counting the work that he does to originate other spur-of-the-moment, DIY bands, some including himself, some simply up and running due to his encouragement. He’s put together backyard shows where friends and neighbors simply bring instruments and bands begin; he’s supported bands all over by showing up at different performances all over the city; he holes up in libraries to make posters and let you all know about the shows that are happening. It would be understated to say that he’s probably one of the busiest people in town in relation to music with maybe the exception of Ronnie Lee Gipson.
But how vital is he to Tuscaloosa’s original music?
Allen got his start booking house shows, putting together an underground scene that germinated in the shadows of Tuscaloosa. The shows were sporadic if not diverse. Allen, and his bands like the Piss Shivers, were creating their own scene, and it didn’t seem as if they really cared about the popularity that some bands strive for, ironically enough, by attempting to get booked at bars such as the Green Bar.
So, it’s unquestionable that Allen has the love that any music and arts scene needs at its center.
Allen began his official booking stint when Green Bar open about a year and half ago. Since then, he’s become indispensable, honing his craft at booking — and maybe more importantly — promoting, as great as anyone has done in a while here.
While Tuscaloosa builds up diversity, Allen certainly understands that for a bar and related music community to grow, there has to be outside help. The bands that he brings are great, both big and small, both local and national. Green Bar has featured not only Callooh! Callay!’s biggest night doing a two-set, magical wonder, but also the rap act G-Side, killer rockers Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, the mountain holler of Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil, folksy-rock The Bear, and numerous other bands, writers, and acts. And there’s that little band the Alabama Shakes that he’s had in there twice. How ‘bout that for a list?
One thing is certain: having lived here only two and a half years, he has made the biggest splash in the shortest time, even if some of it is behind the scenes.
Here’s to having him stick around and doing his great work with us and for us for as long as he can. He is absolutely vital.