Margaret Hair: Longevity in local music
October 24, 2008
A few years ago, a co-worker at another newspaper in another state shared a disparaging but true sentiment about the local music scene:
“Bands get three shows, and then no one cares,” he complained, kicking his Converse against the end of a busted newsroom couch.
“First show, everyone you know shows up. CD release, they have a reason to be there, and they might get something for free. Last show, people are (potentially) sad to see you go, and want to be able to say they saw the last time whoever played with whoever, in case they ever reunite,” he said. “Other than that, you better hope people have a reason to drink.”
Other than the occasional free concert to promote one cause or the other, his assessment turned out to be true. People got tired of hearing the same songs by the same bands in the same venues. Unless you were pulling some Flaming Lips-style stage antics – which no one could afford to do, aside from maybe constructing your own keytar – attention would fade, and that last show would come sooner than expected.
Sitting in on a band practice with the Worried Men last week, I realized my former colleagues observation doesn’t hold true for Steamboat Springs. Sure, part of it is because there are only so many things to do on a Friday night in Routt County. It’s also probably got something to do with most Steamboat bands being conservative in their local bookings, or just being too busy with each band member’s two to four jobs to play often enough for anyone to get sick of them.
But Worried Men played the same bar on the same night for years, and the band manages to bring people to the dance floor for every show. Because they’re playing songs most people like enough to hear at least once a week, Worried Men has an advantage over groups playing original, more obscure music.
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Still, I think Worried Men and other local bands – Jebus, String Board Theory, Amputators, Missed the Boat, etc. – get more than three shows with decent crowds for another reason. It comes up often from out-of-state acts, and it seems to make sense: Colorado music fans don’t care if they look cool. They’ll dance to anything worth dancing to, and they’ll do it with abandon. If any of the songs involve electric guitar, they might even break things.
And because they don’t have to worry about the next show being their last, it’s also a lot less stressful on the bands.
– To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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