Sunday, January 30, 2011
Des Moines Love and Music
I can remember years ago when I started to comprehend the love I had for music. I can remember always loving the entity and the spirit and emotion it filled me with. (I use the term 'entity' as it's more than a sound, action, creation...it's a being, it has life) I can remember my first show, Raffi, actually terrified me. There were so many people. He was pulling kids up on stage. I recall being absolutely frightened that I would be chosen and would be made into a complete fool, tripping over my own feet, filled with nerves. I never was chosen. The following shows consisted of The New Kids on the Block, MC Hammer, Janet Jackson, Genesis...and the list began growing. I didn't understand what I was getting myself into. At the tender age of 29, I have an ever evolving list of bands that I've seen under my belt, local to national. I've become with these creators and they have made my life even more rich. I can't exactly pinpoint what music does to me. It fills me with joy, tears, love, hate, trust, compassion, anger, sensuality...the list goes on and on. As a follower of the (local) scene, I have my preferred bands, but will open up to anything. I've been to country shows, hip-hop shows, emo shows, metal shows, punk shows, rock shows...you name it, I've been there with a PBR in hand. There are a handful of venues in Des Moines, all with their strong points as well as their weak points. Some are 'too far west', some 'aren't in a safe neighborhood', some 'aren't clean enough', etc. Now, Des Moines is not a large city. Not at all. The differences in the 'scenes' though, are vast and competitors let it be known. We have entities such as Pitchfork Media, Des Moines Music Coalition as well as various genre clubs. "What we have here is a failure to communicate." We have different genres competing with one another, venues and booking agencies at each other's throats, bands that refuse to share a bill with other bands. Of course, personal differences are always going to come into effect. We're human, imperfect, flawed with emotion. What we forget is that we are one entity. Without that rival band, the 'scene' could die with YOU. I was too young to be able to be a part of The Runway, The Foundry or the orignial Hairy Mary's, but I do see the residual left over of what was once Des Moines' music scene. I try to attend as many shows as possible in our area. I have been to each venue in town at least once. I have the venues I prefer, but don't discriminate if it's a band I love. Bottom line to my ramblings is that Des Moines needs a music revival. We need to realize that we're all a little piece to the 'whole' that is our 'scene'. We all own it and are all responsible for it's growth and development. Musicians, fans, booking agencies, venues are all letting personal differences get in the way of a greater good, SUCCESS. Des Moines has a reputation as having a large heavy metal/rock persona. There is so much more. Blues, jazz, rockabilly, country, hip-hop. On a given night you are bound to find a band in each given genre playing to a half empty bar/venue. Is it that the word's not getting to you? You can't stand the guitar player's sister's ex-boyfriend? The venue's bathrooms aren't to your liking? You can always find something wrong, but you can also ALWAYS find something right. As a community (and this can apply to any city/state/'scene'), we need to appreciate and embrace what it is that we have and do all we can to support it. There are so many ways to assist: For one, GO TO SHOWS. There will be nothing without supporters. Spread the word. Life is turning electronic. A mass text, a FB post, a phone call. It all gets the point across. Volunteer to be on street teams. Generally, this will consist of putting up fliers. We really need to realize the talent that we possess and show it the love and devotion that it shows us. We're all a part in the bigger picture. Without YOU, the Des Moines music scene will never thrive as it should. All bands start somewhere. Somewhere small.... Music is life. Life perpetuates life.