I see bitches on social media complaining about missing going to concerts, and it’s me. I’m bitches. When I say concerts though, I really mean local music played in venues that hold 75-200 people max. It’s cool that we at least live in an age where a lot of bands have streamed their shows live from their bedrooms & whatnot, but it’s just not the same.
I’m almost half a century old people, and although it doesn’t feel quite like that in the morning compared to many my age who don’t take all the measures I do; it’s not awesome. I remember a time when a workout, shower & strong black coffee would remedy a hangover, and somehow make up for 4-5 hours of light, disturbed sleep. Now though, that same routine does little good to make up for the abuses I employ to treat myself a couple nights a week. No matter. The rest of my time is spent in diligent pursuit of earning/amping up my hobbies, and I’m having a blast.
As I’ve stated I have the privilege of fronting rock bands, and it’s been well over a year since I’ve played a show, so the pent up angst & stress I work out through this activity has been restricted to rehearsals, and that’s cathartic, but not at all close to what I want. There’s a bit of anxiety that always comes from putting it out there, but that challenge & overcoming those nerves is a facet of the experience we’ve all been robbed of since a wicked virus ripped it’s way across the globe, and shut down so many things we all took for granted.
One thing I’ve had to ponder, is part of the duties expected of local bands isn’t just to get out there, and play shows, but to attend & promote local music. Digitally is fine enough, but it’s not as impactful as having your ass in the venues devoted to hosting those shows, forming bonds with regulars, and artists that make up the community that make such a thing possible.
In other words, a “scene”.
We’ve all read the stories of how these things take off, and become the musical fore-runners to a movement that grows into Seattle in the early 90’s. However, that’s an overblown take that isn’t what we do this for. People here in NE Ohio recall fondly a time when it wasn’t all that hard to pack a club with people, the venues granted the bands drink tickets, and even tossed you a cut of the door for gas money to boot, and that dried up for the most part. Just before this went belly up a year ago, we were scrambling to get a scant few people to attend shows through social media, phone calls, and yes face to face leaning on anyone who might listen to please-to-christ come see my band playing this weekend! All those interactions would be met with the following-
What kind of music do you play? Is it the kind where I can’t understand the lyrics?
What time does your band go on?
Can you put me on the guest list?
I wish you guys played closer.
You might not understand why these responses would grate on an artist,(fuck yeah I’m an artist) but I assure you we bristle no matter how many times we hear it, but you know what? I’d LOVE to be pushing my way in front of everyone I know right now to have a show to send my contacts a barrage of invites for, you know why?
It’s not just the bands.
There’s bartenders, door security, sound guys, Merch creators that all took a hit from this whose livelihood went up in smoke. A ton of people involved in furthering music, and other things to consider. Wherever you live, there’s a slew of folks who started out honing their skills in bedrooms, basements,(a lot of basement bedrooms too) & writing songs for nobody, but that music has a really good chance of being your favorite song. Music captures moments in time for good & ill that bring those memories to startling life in ways that even photographs can’t, so you owe it to yourself to seek out local music wherever you are, and champion them for your own good.
Full disclosure though, I’m not a sterling example for these values I espouse. SO many times my support for local music really is evidenced by shows my band is playing, and I will pick up a cd, t-shirt from other bands, etc but at the show I’m already at. Rarely did this wannabe never-was do the thing I’m insisting you, gentle reader do, and drive 30-45 minutes to stay out late seeking out local music. Somehow falling asleep on my couch before eight o’clock won out every time.
I have such grand plans to turn that around when things open back up, and I have every intention of making good on that goal I’ve set.
But you know.
Thanks for reading!