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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Primer on Columbus Music pt 1

Bands in Columbus are constantly evolving, mutating, and changing. Contrary to what Cringe.com says about the "Columbus Sound," there is very little that any Columbus band has in common with any other Columbus band.

there is no such thing as a "Columbus Sound."

that phrase is simply a marketing term, and as with most marketing terms, it does a huge disservice to everyone involved.

As far as i care to go back, there have been three major musical movements in Columbus in the past 25 years. these three trends aren't clear cut, overlap each other, and many bands do not fall into these loose categories.

the Punk movement of the 80's and early 90's; bands such as New Bomb Turks, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, and Great Plains.

The 90's and early 2000's Pop movement with Royal Crescent Mob, Watershed, The Sun, and Tiara

The Stoner Metal trend with Deadsea, Evil Queens, and Teeth of the Hydra among others

there has also been a growing hip hop community with such greats as Blueprint, Envelope and Hotsauce.

A lot of the older bands are still around and still very influential to the younger bands coming up.
For example, the New Bomb Turks are still one of the best live bands in the city, and they can really be called a national band now (or even international: i have a DVD of them in Edinburgh, Scotland for christ' sake).

Our Columbus venues support these trends.
Bernies Distillery, while slowly dying, was for a very long time the BEST place to see punk shows. i say slowly dying because it's true. Bernie's nowadays is a far cry from what it used to be. i blame the smoking ban; the scenesters used to stay inside and smoke and be seen and could act cool while listening to a band. Now, all the little kids who think they're bad-ass lil' punx hang out outside and never even hear the bands they paid 5 bucks to see. As Bernie's dies, i think the Columbus punk seen will die with it. Not completely die out, of course, but it will be dealt a serious blow.

Cafe Bourbon Street and The Summit, as well as the numerous house show places have helped to further reduce Bernie's reputation. They don't usually showcase the frenetic hardcore acts that populated Bernie's, but they've taken everything else. Plus Cafe Bourbon Street has a built in hotdog stand (not as good as Taco Ninja though)

Ravari Room is THE place to see metal shows in the city. there is absolutely no where else that can get the talent Ravari Room gets in terms of metal bands. Cheap beer, decent service, good food, and awesome bands.

Skully's has decent support of local bands, including a free local show every week, but seems to be moving towards national electronic dance and hip hop acts.

Carabar could be the best venue in the city for local bands except for two reasons; location, and clientelle. the location is on Parsons in Olde Town East, far from just about everything else in a high crime neighborhood. The clientelle is mostly (but not all) snooty, elitist scene kids. I know that Carabar has had that reputation for a while now, and from what i hear things have been changing, but i've never felt welcome, i've never seen the kids dance or move at all to any band, and it just makes me kinda sad. They tend to have the more "artsy" and experimental bands, as well as a decent, if limited, selection of local punk and metal bands. For a band, if you don't know the people at Carabar and you somehow get a gig there, you're probably not going to have a good time.

The Circus ruined what used to be a great bar, the High 5. No, i'm not talking about the High 5 you probably remember from the past 5 years. I'm talking about the bar BEFORE it was renovated. No windows; just dank, smoky darkness and a 50 year old nasty woman bartending and local and regional punk bands tearing it up. From what i can tell, Circus is a gay bar made for straight people. Their biggest night of the week is karaoke, if that helps you out any.

There are lots of house shows as well. If you are unfamiliar, it is simply a house whose owners or renters have converted the building into a concert hall. Legion of Doom has been around forever and is for you straightedge kids. but there is also Monster House and Metronome House (acoustic) to name a few.
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