Direct Hit! had been a favorite band of mine since the first time I listened to them. When I got word that they were hitting VLHS on their summer tour with Pears, I knew it was going to be a great one. There’s something about seeing a band you love in such an intimate setting—being able to look around the room and see your friends dancing and singing along. There’s no backstage, no hiding. The bands are outside smoking and hanging out in the parking lot between sets. And that’s the best thing about DIY venues like this: a band from Milwaukee and a band from New Orleans toured the West Coast and in Southern California. They felt like family.