The Void is Dead, Long Live the Void


Source: Death of the Void

Milo Paul

College Park is a big place, and from the get-go that put me off. As a native Marylander myself, growing up in this gun-shaped state meant learning to accept the overabundance of Terps merchandise bound to appear for as far the eye could see. A daily walk would chock-full of Terps shirts, Terps stickers on cars, Terps false teeth, you name it! If it existed, it could have the UMD mascot plastered all over it! It was nuts! But I digress— I was just never really into College Park. Enter the Void.

I was still in high school by 2016. A drummer in one of my then-bands, Angeline, had graduated and gone off to UMD. As our fall semesters continued on, many of the conversations we had over the phone suddenly seemed to skew in the direction of some venue that Angeline was growing to be completely obsessed with, this little house by her campus perforating the landscape with an energy she completely adored. I had to come and experience this place for myself, she assured me. I just had to.

And I did. One snowy December weekend I found myself trekking to her dorm with plans to write a few songs, to introduce myself to college life proper, and to go to my first-ever house show. Upon arrival we idled together for some time, Angeline hyping herself up for the night while I twiddled my thumbs, both of us too caught up in our shared excitement for what was to come for us to focus on much else. When the hour came for us to head out, we sprinted.

The Void terrified me at first. There I was— a senior in high school surrounded by my potential future. The air was smoky, casting a fog all around the periphery of the house. The lights outside were far too sharp, poised dagger-like towards my eyes. The lights inside were far too dim, confusing my already-addled brain to the point of sensory overload. I felt like a small marsupial in a trap, dry heaving in my head because the thought of actually physically dry heaving sounded too embarrassing. I was praying to whoever would listen because I desperately wanted to leave, to get out of there before the situation got worse, but someone in this mass of college kid flesh happened to yell for everyone else to siphon themselves into one corner of the house and I was suddenly being pushed forward by a wall of meat, Angeline nowhere in sight. “This is how I die,” I must’ve thought.

Five minutes later and I was on the opposite side of the emotional spectrum. The room was grooving, the acoustics imperfect but the new infectious vibes circling through the crowd with incredible ease. I was under a spell, swimming in a kind of magic— I was in love, as I told Angeline when we found each other later that night. People were enchanting others all on their own accord, bearing passion and the occasional showcasing of skill to do so. This was DIY music. I loved this sound and venue, and I will continue to love it for the rest of my life, beyond the Void.

But times have come and gone, perhaps with too much speed. I’ve experienced many house venues since the Void; some better, many far worse. I’d only go back under its roof a dozen or so more times as time went on, and now the place that birthed my love for DIY music is closing its doors on the world. In many ways, I consider this closing to be itself the ending of a chapter of my life, one I started on with the Void. And it was beautiful and amazing and no words could ever truly match the emotions I have knowing I now exist in a Void-less world, but such is life. I can keep the memories, at the very least.

Thank you, Void.