Monday, March 21, 2011

What's Right... And What's Right.

You can take two approaches to life, one being a negative approach, one being a positive approach. You can say you're being realistic, self protective, grounded, etc. You can look at a situation as it affects you or how you affect it. You can look at what's right about the situation or you can look at what's right about the situation.

Let's apply this to a current situation, one that I'm in the midst of. Let's apply it to Des Moines music scene. There are so many wonderful things going on in it, so much talent, so many bright ideas and loads and loads of sweat and blood being poured out. On any given night in Des Moines you can go out and see live music. Why aren't attendance numbers higher? It's all at our finger tips.

Have we lost the excitement for local music? Have we lost the motivation to go out to shows? I realize there's many components here...people are getting older (my generation) and raising families, our economy is in an awful state, Iowa winters tend to keep people snuggled where it's warm. But, I do know people are still going out. Dropkick Murphy's was an oversold show, people were lined around the building to get in. People do still want to see music, it's just reviving our local scene. Some bands have an amazing draw, some don't get the attention they deserve.

I don't know that people are realizing what they are missing by denying themselves the opportunity to see some of Des Moines greats. Chair throwing, costumes, elaborate light shows, brain melting guitar riffs, bloody drum solos, nudity, romance, vocal brutality, wicked brass orgasms...this just skims the tip of what explodes out of our local scene. Any night...Sunday through Saturday, you can catch any of this at any of the venues that house and enable Des Moines musicians to cut loose.

Ask yourself this: When was the last time you saw a man in a mask and dress hurling lung exploding lyrics about sharks in your face? When was the last time you saw a kazoo party while listening to a Prince cover? When was the last time you saw a group of ruffians covering Christina Aguilera? When was the last time you witnessed a guitar orgasming before your very eyes, or a drum kit being slain like a wild animal?

I can't begin to explain how I've been completely moved by what's going on around me. These men and women that pour their hearts, souls, insecuritites, loves and nightmares are here for YOU. The raw emotion that I feel when I see them tearing themselves open and exposing their guts can be overwhelming. There are obviously different degrees of talent and emotion, but the point is that it's all there. It takes guts to get up on a stage and let people see what's going on inside your head. It takes confidence to get up and belt out about a dissolved realtionship, a failed career, an addiction, a major life fuck up. These, generally, aren't topics that come up in every day conversation, but they are a part of life. We've all been through some shit in our lives, it takes some serious kahones to discuss them publically and with vigor.

"Music is what feelings sound like."

We are spoiled. We have an arms full of beautiful venues, old and new. These business owners are providing us a great service by stocking their establishments with food, drink and music...now it's up to us to fill it with bodies. Without patrons, these businesses fail, if these businesses fail, we lose the love that is music.

We have a plethora of music in Des Moines...we have a blues jam, country jam, rock jams. We have metal, hip-hop, rockabilly, punk, hardcore, jazz, folk...

We have venues of all shapes and sizes. We have musicians representing every generation. We have music at all levels, local, regional, national and international. NONE of this will be successful without ticket sales. Bands aren't going to want to come to a show that sold 30% of their possible maximum body count. The prices are right, the locations are right, the sweet sounds pouring out are right.

Ever seen the movie Footloose? Imagine a town without music...

"Without music, life would be an error."
-Freidrich Nietzsche

There are still bunches of people who slave away all week, with the excitement of a show on Friday night to get them through. We just need to multiply that and appreciate what we have here. We have a solid scene, we just need to expand and bring new faces in. We just have to get excited again. Don't let the woes of everyday life get in the way of your release. Let the musicians do the emotional work that you may not want to...Let them be your release. They can't speak if you don't listen...

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