Wednesday, October 15, 2008

O Cover, Where Art Thou?

One of the biggest strengths any city has is its art- specifically, its local music scene- and Chicago music fans need to start putting their money where their mouths are. I just read an article that numerous clubs in the Chicago area have stopped booking live bands. The reason being that patrons balked at the five dollars being charged at the door. Seems a lot of bars had been charging no cover but, economic times being what they are, were now asking patrons to fork over a Lincoln. The result was that "fans" of local music cried foul, convinced that this meager contribution to an artist's time and talent was the straw not only breaking the proverbial camel's back, but also its wallet as well. Evidently, the same people willing to pay 75 dollars to watch the Dave Matthews Band do twenty versions of the same song were a bit miffed at being asked to help fund local music. Clearly this was undermining their usual position of standing motionless, swigging rotgut PBRs. Granted, with gas close to five bucks a pop and a gallon of milk not far behind, you can't begrudge people for going all Monty Burns with their wallets but I reject the notion that the burden of proof is solely on those of us presenting the music.

My point to the fans is- it's easy to "support" something when you don't actually have to do anything about it. It's cheap and you can maintain the illusion of street cred, whatever the hell that is. But bands make their mark (and their meager earnings) on the strength of their live shows, and when you're playing to four people, that's tough to do. Posting to a band's Facebook page doesn't cut it, either. You may actually have to get your ass up, grab a friend, walk down the street, and pay five bucks (still a bargain) to see a band. Anyone grousing about the state of local music need only look in their nearest mirror to find the culprit. The music business has never been more cutthroat than it is now, so it falls to us to support local bands from a wide variety of styles. Now, the fact that some of the biggest draws in this town are cover bands speaks nauseating volumes, and- as the law of averages dictates- plenty of local bands suck. Sometimes you're underground for a reason. Nevertheless, my suggestion is to spend a few bucks to see some original music cranked out nightly by Chicagoans. You may make some band's night- and possibly, their future.

And for those of you IN a band, you may want to book some strip club gigs. No one's tight-fisted with their money there.

No comments: