Holland Origin Stories: HSS Rainshadow

Holland Origin Stories: HSS Rainshadow

From time to time we get asked about certain names, phrases, stories, titles – and sometimes we gotta prove or bust some myths!

HSS Rainshadow (aka Holland Show Space at Rainshadow, or just Rainshadow), was a high school by day in a former Italian restaurant/bar whose owners disappeared over night. The space was surreal – the remnants of the Italian restaurant remained (purple and green paint, giant furniture, big commercial kitchen, and a bar area that the high school had little use for). Joe Ferguson (Holland cofounder and Rainshadow teacher) was able to convince the principal to let us throw shows in the bar area after hours. It many ways, this was a major turning point for Holland.

Though it wasn’t our space (and you could feel that a bit when there), it allowed Holland to level up IMMEDIATELY and produce big shows. The space was also perfect for Holland at the time, when there was a microscope on us in terms of safety, code compliance, and just suspicion about young people gathering in general. The building was accessible, up to code, had parking, heat/ac, power, proper exiting, bathrooms, etc. It was turn key, which enabled us to focus on the cool stuff – bringing cool bands to Reno, especially those that were far too big for the HPHQ. The school let us build a stage and sound booth, Omar Pierce and Nick Larsen devised a backdrop that could appear and disappear when it was time for school again, and we dubbed Julian Jacobs “Chairman of the Chairs” due to the fact that we had to move like 100 heavy bar stools and tables before and after each show. 

Like we said, it was a game changer. This is where we got to host bands like Iron Lung, Ty Segall, Shannon and the Clams, Grass Widow, The Babies, David Dondero, Rocky Votolato for the first time (as well as a slew of international artists!); we were able to play with space and do cool site-specific dance events; we hosted Cowboy Poets vs Slam Poets one day for fun; it’s where Rogue (now High Desert Art+Craft) was born; and the Halloween Show THRIVED – some of our favorite memories are from the Halloween Shows at Rainshadow (Mangles! Megan Boldway as Lady Gaga, Crush as Violent Femmes, and performances from Talking Heads, Sam Cooke, Pat Benatar and so many more!). For many of us, an absolute highlight was Chain and the Gang – a show that has stuck with everyone who was there for its pure magic – with Royal Noble dropping rose petals from the catwalk up above during their set, to Ian Svenonius’ white suit and iconic presence just nailing it in a rare and perfect live music moment.

And let’s not forget, it’s loading out of Rainshadow one night that we saw the For Rent sign across the street, a former mattress shop was vacant. Rainshadow led us home – 140 Vesta Street (that former mattress shop) would become Holland, truly Holland – our place and the first venue to house ALL aspects of our organization since Keystone – an opportunity we might have missed if we weren’t right across the street at just the right moment.