Punk shows and vintage clothes: Blast Off Vintage
There’s only one place in Salem where you can shop vintage clothes, records and skateboards between sets of punk rock bands: Blast Off Vintage.
Just a half-mile walk from campus, the shop boasts a wide collection of leather jackets, sweaters, shirts, vintage dresses, skateboards and music-related paraphernalia. Don’t be alarmed if you feel the floor shaking while you shop; they host all-ages shows in their basement, featuring punk and hard rock groups.
Co-owners Kati Geisler and Pete Ingraham opened it up nine years ago and have carefully curated their selection of clothing and bands ever since, keeping it as accessible and community oriented as possible. “I hand picked and purchased every item in here,” Geisler said. “I’ll usually leave on a Thursday, and I’ll get as far south [in Oregon] as I can and ‘junk’ my way all the way back.”
Their store occupies a unique niche in Salem. According to Joe Frazier, a local who attended a show Sept. 29, there’s not much of a punk scene in Salem apart from Blast Off Vintage, making it a special place. “It’s very community based. [Kati and Pete] are down to help people out. And just being one of the only venues in town, let alone punk venue [makes it special],” Frazier pointed out.
Another notable aspect of Blast Off is their prices, which they strive to keep as low as possible. “We try to keep our prices at a level that anyone can afford,” Geisler explained. “It’s important because we have a gigantic houseless population—and we actually have a large teenage houseless population, so we never want to charge them anything.”
Beyond clothing and music, they also have a skate section that you can peruse, which Ingraham said he keeps “cheaper than Zumiez.”
Vera Sieck (‘27) appreciates their varied shop collection. “They have an amazing selection of leather jackets. I really want a leather jacket from there,” Sieck began. “They have a lot of beautiful old dresses from the ‘40s and ‘50s, but they also have, like, a bunch of band shirts.”
Sieck noted that with their vintage selection, prices can be higher than a regular thrift store, but are overall affordable. This affordability carries over to their shows as well. For a ten dollar entrance fee, one can see three to four bands in a night. Their dimly lit basement is regularly filled with bands both local and from afar.
In the crowd, expect to see people of all ages moshing, dancing and enjoying being mere feet from groups like The Latter Day Skanks, D.O.A., Zeke, Agent Orange and many more. “A lot of the kids, it’s their first time ever seeing live music. They get to stand real close to the band,” Ingraham said.
It was also Sieck’s first time at a punk show when they went a couple of weeks ago. “It was super safe,” Sieck reassured. “I know punk shows can be intimidating, but I didn’t feel worried about being there.”
For Willamette students, Geisler said Blast Off Vintage has a special offer: “Kick some ass in class, and every semester bring me your grades. Every semester no matter what, I’ll give you five dollars for every A you ever get in credit in this store.”
If you want to stop by before the end of semester, their hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. They also have shows upcoming on Oct. 7, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, as well as an underground market with crafty vendors before the show on Oct. 7. It is recommended to bring ear plugs if you haven’t been to a show before—the space is small and the speakers are not.
You can stay up to date on their events schedule on Facebook or Instagram @blastoffvintage.