Good Thursday evening everyone! I haven't posted in a few days and I apologize for that. I chalk it up to getting older and having young kids... if I were ever this physically and mentally draining on my parents, please accept my deepest heartfelt apologies! LOL!
I'd been planning on my next (read- this) post being another artist feature. I have a specific indie artist in mind for the next feature I do, but I still haven't finished putting it together in my mind. This may be one of the reasons why I decided, against the best efforts of my high school journalism teacher, not to pursue a career as a writer of some sort... I've had a pretty bad case of writer's block going on for about 2 days now!
So let's move on to today's topic: the travels of the (indie) music fan, me! I was texting with a buddy of mine earlier this evening setting up our travel schedule over the course of the next few weeks, and into September, for upcoming Lit On The Flash and Mother Leopard shows in Maine and New Hampshire (if you're reading this Sasha, don't worry, I'm stalking your show schedule too and plan on taking in more When Particles Collide shows too! I haven't seen you and Chris blowing up any bars since your last show with LOTF in Dover at the Brickhouse... I might be going thru withdrawals!) and it got me thinking about some of the concerts I've been to in my life and why it is that I decided to wait until I was nearly 40 to start driving all over the place to see indie acts. My first ever concert was (I'm gonna catch hell for this and I know from who) was Madonna in 1987 (maybe 1988) at the old Texas Stadium on Irving, TX (outside of Dallas for those of you not from the great state of Texas!). She was touring in support of her movie and album Who's That Girl. I was a freshman in high school and Madonna was the shit back then, so don't judge me! That was a Sunday night concert, and the following Monday night, I went to Dallas Alley in the West End in downtown Dallas to see her opening act, Level 42, perform at an outdoors concert. So began my obsession with national touring acts in the music business! The following year was the INXS: Calling All Nations tour again at Texas Stadium. THAT was a line-up... The Smithereens, Iggy Pop, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Guns N Roses (before Axl had to ruin it for us all) and INXS. In between, I discovered my affection for hard rock/heavy metal with weekly trips to the Bronco Bowl and Dallas City Limits to see local rock bands play. I even got to hang out with the guys from Pantera on more than a few occasions after their sets at City Limits... the stories I pray that my wife NEVER hears about those days! I'll even own up to this one: we used to go to a club in Dallas called Monopoly's to see Vanilla Ice rap when he was still Robbie VanWinkle (contrary to what he wants you to believe, he got his start in Dallas, not Miami!).
The early to mid part of the 90's were some of the best times I've had concert wise. National stadium tours were HUGE during that time, and artists from all genres made it a point to stop in and around Dallas on their tours. I was just getting into country music at that time and saw just about every major country star at the time at one point. The only one I never got to see that I still wish I had was Garth Brooks in his heyday. I lost track of how many times I camped out for tickets (yes kids, they used to make us stand in line for tickets... Al Gore didn't invent the Internet until YEARS later <--- that'ts a joke, you know that right? The Al Gore/Internet reference, not the standing in line for tickets, that was legit, we didn't have the Internet and forget about being able to get thru to Ticketmaster on the phone when tickets went on sale!). Anyway, I didn't have to travel too far back then because everything was right there in and around Dallas, so it made it a breeze to go to a concert. The bar scene, in later years, was just as accessible because the party hotspots were all grouped together as well. Your taste for the evening dictated which part of the city you went to, simple as that! I've been to a lot of great shows over the years, and I think one of my tops (probably still the number 1, no matter what I may have said otherwise) was seeing Van Hagar (read: Van Halen) in Dallas at the (then named) Starplex Ampitheatre. Me and one of my best friends in the world paid $300 each for front row, dead center tickets. And yes, you caught my band name reference correct, Van Hagar. In my opinion, Van Halen always has been and always will be on of the best rock n roll bands EVER in Sammy Hagar form (let the debate begin!). Some of the other most memorable concerts for me were the MANY George Strait concerts I was fortunate to attend. No bright lights, no huge sound, just a man and his band on stage singing the songs like they should be sang. You can't get much better than King George in any musical genre!
So let's flash forward now to married life and being a father. My concert going took a serious nosedive after I got married nearly 12 years ago. This is in no way a knock on my wife. We just don't share the same taste in music outside of country music and a few rock bands. I chalk it up to life moving on. Friends drift off in different directions, the music scene changes and the same acts that you enjoyed seeing 10 years ago just don't come around as often as they used to. As it is now, my favorite shows always have been and always will be bar/club shows. It's a more intimate atmosphere and you're not struggling to hear the music over 10, 20 or 30 thousand other people. The bar/club scene isn't my wife's thing. She's entertained me once or twice, but I never push her to join me at these shows. That's what friends are for! As far as these days, I live in Central Maine, where the pine trees outnumber the people about 4000 to 1 (that's an exaggeration, but not really that far off!). Shows that I go to these days require quite a bit of travel. I didn't get back into the music scene again until I started to get into the music of Lit On The Flash. I stalked their website for months trying to line-up time to see a show. My first show was (this is where getting old sucks, cause I really can't remember the exact date!) around 6 months or so ago at Empire Dine and Dance in Portland. Since then, I've seen them a total of 4 times. May not seem like a lot, but I've driven to Dover, NH twice and upta (that's a Maine term, seriously, ask Bob Marley) Bangor once (just this past weekend). Next show is this Saturday again in Portland, then the following Friday in Newmarket, NH (yes, that's 3 weekends in a row), then the next show I'll make it to is in August in Ogunquit (down south of Portland somewhere along the coast... it'll be my first time there... and my daughters don't know it yet, but I'm taking them to this one too, which will be their second LOTF show (they were with me this past weekend in Bangor to see them)). Then another show I set up travel plans with my buddy for is on September 15th in Dover, NH again.
Now, all this travel isn't reserved strictly for bar/club shows like these. I still do go to see the occasional mainstream act. We've (read: me, wife and daughters) have seen Daughtry three times. The first time we drove to Bridgeport, CT. We've seen them in Portland and most recently in Lowell, Massachusetts. Ryan Star? I waited six years to see him in concert and made it to Boston twice this year to finally see him. My .avi pic on Twitter is of me and him at the last show I went to see him at just last month.
I'd love to be able to afford to travel more too... high on my list is Southern California. You folks there just don't know how good you've got it. David Gielan, David Geftakys, In Air, Mike Peralta, August Rising. Arizona? How about Broken Romeo and The Vera Groove? New York? Last Stand For Lucy. Florida? Message To Venus. And don't get me started with overseas... South Africa has Zoey'z Fallacy and The Parlotones. A topic on this very blog, The United Kingdom... Euphoria Audio, Slam Cartel, The Verdict, Rum Honey... Just these mentions alone, 15 incredible indie artists that are begging for their chance to right the ship that is the current music industry! And let's not forget about my current state of residency, Maine. Who woulda thunk that acts like Lit On The Flash, When Particles Collide, Mother Leopard, Hutch Heelan, Temperature Of the Sun and Volcano Rabbit would give me as much hope for the future of music as they have?
These are exciting times for the indie music fan. Get out there and support them people! They won't get their chance if you don't give them their chance!!!
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