Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Forgive Me If I Rant, But It Has Been Awhile

I got an email last week from Chris Bonner (THe BAcksliders). It was a pretty simple email saying “Hope everything is going well for you. Miss your blogs.” I must admit that as the summer has come, I have become exceptionally bad about writing on a regular basis. It’s ironic, as I have far more free time over the summer to write than during the rest of the year. Unfortunately, this summer has not been kind to my bank account, and stress over finances among other things has distracted me from making regular blog entries.

A lot has happened during this past month that has come and gone without me giving the events the attention they deserve. One such event is the demise of Red Blood Club. My experience with the club is extremely limited. Most of the music performed there is much heavier than what I personally prefer to listen to. But while Red Blood Club did not cater to my personal music tastes, I still find its closing to be very troubling. Our city is at a point where the selection for live music venues is becoming more and more limited. And for those whose music taste leaned more towards punk, metal, and other forms of hardcore music, the loss of Red Blood leaves a chasm in the local music scene. Even worse, I am not sure that there is a club equipped to “fill the shoes” of Red Blood, so to speak. And like I said, while I did not particularly care for the music played there, I do care about Dallas music, and the local music scene is not a vacuum. Anytime that one part of the local music scene has a loss, its effect will reverberate through the rest of the scene.

Our scene is also experiencing certain musical losses too. In the past month, I have learned of the end of two great bands: PPT and The Tah Dah’s. I only had the privilege of seeing PPT perform on less than a handful of occasions, but the collective skill of all the members behind the mic never ceased to amaze me. Fortunately, while the band itself is gone, I have no doubt that the remaining members will manage to put forth some mind-blowing solo releases. Still, it’s a shame. As for the Tah Dah’s, while the band is still together, this will not be the case for long. My understanding is that Roy is leaving Dallas, and that the group will likely play its last show in August. In a MySpace bulletin posted by lead vocalist Roy Ivy, he goes on about how the local music scene is dead, and how it has been dead for a long time.

With all due respect to Mr. Ivy, I must strongly disagree with his position. I’m not going to lie and say that everything is sunshine and roses here in the metroplex. The music scene is hurting for many reasons. One of the most obvious problems facing the scene is the lack of venues here. In the past few years, we have lost Trees, Club Clearview, Red Blood Club, and Gypsy Tea Room, and that’s just for starters. The state of the national economy is also playing a part in the problems facing our scene. In times of economic crisis, people cut back on the nonessentials, and to most people, seeing local bands would be classified as a nonessential.

Yes, the local music scene has seen far better times than now. Still, it is way too premature to say that the scene is dead. You see, Dallas and its neighboring cities still have one weapon in their music arsenals: the musicians. Yes, the number of venues is down. Yes, there are far fewer record labels to promote bands than there were even five years ago. But the quality music is still here, begging to be listened to. In the past month, I have been blown away by performances by my first listens to Elle, Here, In Arms, Binary Sunrise, and Kristina Morland. And so far this year, CD’s by Rahim Quazi, Airline, Inner City All-Stars, Ms. Morland, and THe BAcksliders have all proven that there is first rate talent here in our metroplex. The question is, is anybody listening?

Well, are you?


The Tara said...

I am listening!!
Thank you for your blogs.

nimbusthegreat said...

i'm listening.....

bill h said...

yo tambien

Anonymous said...

Dammit, it's A BLOG, singular. The things you write on A BLOG are BLOG POSTS.

fuzzbuzz said...

I'm new to your blog but I relate to this post. I think there are a whole bunch of factors in play right now that make things seem bleak.
I think a big factor is the mentality of people today, they can just sit at home watching youtube videos of bands and not ever have to face the hassle of finding parking (where IS parking?)and not to mention most people (the mainstream) are into being wherever is the cool, "hip" place to be. Which these days constitutes as...hell I dunno, ghost bar or something stupid. I'll say my trips to Austin on weekends look a whole lot like Deep Ellum did back in the heyday. I think lots of our bands have left and are leaving for greener pastures. We're ina weird point in time where technology and all the changes in the city have everyone dazed and confused. My two cents.