Last week on “Wellington’s Wonders”: folks were asked to form, or restart, bands! The belief was there used to be quite a few original acts around town, but now that number has seemingly dwindled.
Upstart, restart, and continuing bands can only go so far alone, though. (This applies to visual artists and writers, too, and ideally we would want an entire, collective scene.)
Nevertheless, I’ve seen a lot bands come and almost all of them go. Many of them have reasonable excuses: it was only a hobby; the feeling to keep playing is gone; the band members just got old (does that fall under a “reasonable excuse”?); too many members moved away. Then you also have the nonsensical reasons: they are going to try to “make it” somewhere else, which should irk anyone with a brain because usually a band that gives that excuse couldn’t even garner a crowd in this town first. Don’t get me started.
Bands really need two things to keep pressing on: passion and funds.
Another thing, though, that correlates with having passion and funds and is sure to help is support. Support. Such a nice, simple word, isn’t it?
So, really, it’s up to us as spectators, listeners, and audience members as much as it is the bands. Well, maybe not “as much as it is” up to the bands, but we should pull a bit of weight.
Let’s see. What could we do to keep our music and arts scene diverse and thriving, which is a worthy goal, agreed?
First, go to shows. You’ll have to get out there and see what you like. Pick three or four bands (once we get that variety, maybe that will help), and constantly go to their shows around town. Oh, and people grab a friend, because your friends may know what they’re missing.
Next, you’ll need just a little patience. Try to get out to a new band’s first few shows. Have some restraint with the critical thoughts for that evening. See if there is at least a few things to enjoy about their music. Hopefully, the band will improve upon those things you liked. Make sure to go back to show number two or three. If they haven’t got what you want by that point, they may not ever get it. You’ve given it a try, at least.
But if you do like them, go to their website. Follow them on social media. Use that smart phone that you paid so much for and jot down their name so you’ll remember to listen to them on Spotify later when you’re sober. Buy their CD, LP, or t-shirt. Tell someone.
People have to show up, and it wouldn’t even hurt them or the band to get into it.
Hopefully the bands will do their thing and do it well. They’ll dance. They’ll jump around. They’ll play amazingly. They’ll sing their hearts out. They’ll write mesmerizing songs. They’ll find their niche. They’ll be themselves.
And fans, for fuck’s sake, take an occasional break and listen some. Feel free to hoop and holler. Clap loudly. Lose yourself. It’s fun. Don’t worry about those assholes watching you.
If after all that, if you don’t like it, don’t come back.
Before long, though, you may find yourself knowing a few of the words; you’re singing along. You’re dancing.
Now even the crowd has some variety to it, too.
This is gonna be a lot of fun, I promise.