Already One Of The Last Remaining Music Stages On Lower Greenville, Transit Bicycle Co.’s Departure Leaves A Vacancy In Dallas’ DIY Culture.
After a decade of operations, Greenville Avenue’s Transit Bicycle Co. closed its doors with a bittersweet memorial on Sunday.
Quite the journey the company embarked on to reach this end, too: While Transit originally opened in Uptown in the former home of West Village Cycles, it only really found its footing — and its tight-knit following — upon moving to Lowest Greenville in 2013. There, it transformed into far more than just a bike shop, in part because it started opening its space up for DIY concerts in the evenings.
In the wake of Crown & Harp’s 2017 closure and this spring’s sudden Good Records move away from the neighborhood, Transit became more than just one of the last lifelines keeping the city’s DIY scene alive; it also the last place to host live music on Lowest Greenville.
Following the company’s May 31 announcement that it would be closing at the end of June, Transit decided to spend its last day open hosting an all-day concert featuring a lineup of familiar local music faces and nearly 10 hours of bangers. Throughout their sets, Dallas-area acts IAMYU, Steve Gnash, Ian Salazar, Watering, Fishing in Japan, Sub-Sahara, Hall Johnson, Scarlet Cimillio, Acid Carousel and The Bralettes — all previous performers at Transit — took time to address the crowd and reminisce about their fond memories of the space.
Johnny Aiken, general manager of Transit, described it as a fitting end, noting that it was important that the business ended its run surrounded by people close to its heart. There were plenty of those, for sure, as regulars filled the space to take in the day’s performances, hang with friends and wait shirtless in line to get the shirts off their backs screen-printed with a tombstone design that read “Transit Bicycle Co.: 2009-2019.”
Aiken couldn’t help let his emotions get the best of him as the day went on.
“I don’t always act like it and I don’t always show it, but every single person who has walked through these doors, I care about,” he said “And they’re all here now. It’s great.”
Beyond a few technical difficulties that led to some frustrating delays to some of the sets, the overarching sentiments of the day were celebratory, thankful and nostalgic.
“I’m over the moon,” Transit Bicycle Co. owner Fran Badgett said at one point in the late afternoon. “This is the most fun I’ve ever had.”
Transit employee and local booking agent Victor Lopez, on the other hand, said he most felt overwhelmed with with emotion.
“I cried this morning when I woke up,” said Lopez, who, after years spent as a customer of Transit, began booking shows to the space with independent Dallas talent-buying agency Parade of Flesh in 2017. “Everyone that played here felt really comfortable playing here. People that attended the shows have felt really comfortable. I’m just wanting to find a space that’s going to be similar to this.”
Part of that desire stems from the fact that Transit Bicycle Co. was also an unabashed safe haven for queer people in Dallas DIY culture, and that its loss will create a void in that world.
“We’ve probably had more queer people work for Transit than straight,” Aiken says. “And that’s part of this DIY scene — [it’s] a space where everybody can feel comfortable.”
To that end, the shop’s final day included its longstanding tradition of donating show proceeds to local causes, raising $3,365 for The Resource Center, a local LGBTQ organization, via donations made at the door.
Still, the Transit family’s support of local marginalized communities extended far beyond queer community — and, on Sunday, this manifested in the form of multiple bands speaking out against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, lest the words “Fuck I.C.E.” being spray-painted onto the area behind the stage left attendees with any doubt as to where most in the room stood on that matter. But the vibes remained more celebratory than vitriolic, with an impromptu mosh pit that broke out during Sub-Sahara’s set looking far less intimidating as the red and white rose petals that once decorated the stage flying about the action like confetti.
It’s that kind of spirit, Lopez said, that made Transit Bicycle Co. such a cherished — if also unexpected — venue and helped it play host to acts from all over the world. Among the more surprising acts to grace Transit’s stage during its run was Crumb, a Brooklyn four-piece psych-pop band that played its very first Dallas show at the low-capacity space in October 2017. In September, the band will headline the easily-10-times-bigger Gas Monkey Live venue in Northwest Dallas. Said Lopez while recalling that earlier Crumb show in this space: “It’s in-fucking-sane that [Crumb] played Transit Bicycle Co.”
For his part, Aiken isn’t as worried as others about the hole being left behind by Transit’s absence from the DIY scene. Just as it once step up to fill a need in the market, he’s confident that Dallas’ DIY scene will find a new, just as welcoming home as the one Transit offered — well, eventually, anyway.
“It’s up to you guys,” he said as Transit’s last day finally started to wind own. “We got a torch, and we don’t know who to pass it to.
“Come grab it.”