I’ve noticed that a lot of people are viewing this page after being directed here from a Google search for “Bridging the Music Pay to Play.” A lot of promotion companies are making bands sell tickets to shows and then not paying bands to play. And a lot of musicians are getting sick of it. Here’s a bit about one guy who got sick of it and decided to do something about it. Break Your F’N Records.
Define the Revolution, Syringe, The Dream Thieves, Something Keen, Country Club Commandos, Brad Winner, In It Right Now, Mayh3m!
April 28th 2013
Skully’s Music Diner – Columbus, OH
There has been a black cloud hanging over me for the past two days. I mean that mostly literally, but the foul weather has also managed to negatively affect my mood. That, coupled with a mean bout of indigestion, is why I keep putting off writing this post. I enjoyed the bands and the venue so I don’t want some Popeye’s chicken that I ate too fast cause me to unfairly review them.
This was my first visit to Skully’s, a ‘music diner’ located in Columbus’s Short North Art District. While I would have loved to explore the many odd shops in the area, the sporadic drizzle and fevered music schedule kept me indoors most of the day. Perhaps a later visit will allow me to browse the wares at some of the surrounding businesses. And I would like to visit Skully’s again. Though it is a coffee house and more akin to playing acoustic based music than the type of heavy rock I’m partial to I think another visit would be well worth my time. They also have a rather nice smoking patio, but I would have loved to see some grass on it.
I can’t say that I cared much for how Bridging the Music put on the show. I never spoke to anyone associated with the company. They scheduled the show for 4 pm, which had it’s advantages and disadvantages. It was nice to get home by midnight, but gave the entire show a Sunday afternoon feel. Sunday afternoons are great for picnics, walks in the park and football games. They don’t work so well for rock concerts. I’ve seen some screwed up ways of ordering bands (I agree with going by ticket sales, lottery is pretty stupid) but simply basing when a band is going to play on when they join the bill has to be the most ridiculous and lazy method I’ve seen so far.
This isn’t to say that the bands who performed weren’t good. Define the Revolution played a great sort of jam rock with whisper/scream dynamics. They reminded me a bit of The Mars Volta without the artsy pretensions and bilingualism.
Syringe performed one of their most energetic shows yet. The whole set was a frenzy of Styrofoam silly string and of course, heavy industrial riffage.
The Dream Thieves performed the kind of laid back rock I expect from a coffee shop. After beginning with a cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dani California” they played the suspended chord fare I’ve come to associate with Java Huts. Not to say I don’t enjoy the guitars solos snaking in and out over a simple drum beat based on the acoustic guitar’s strumming, just that it’s not really anything new. I will give them props for not singing about broken hearts.
I’m still not sure what to make of Something Keen. I heard a heavy Bob Dylan influence in Steve Knapp’s vocals and the two piece made a valiant effort at prog rock. However, that isn’t such a simple task with only guitar, voice and drums no matter how many effects pedals you have or how much of an animal your drummer is. I did enjoy their set and the second half featured some really great compositions as well as a comically monotone cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Country Club Commandos were the second (and final) heavy band I saw. After beginning with an Iron Maiden cover they launched into a nice blend of 70’s metal mixed with a heavy dose of Dead Kennedy’s. I loved their song about “Hooker’s in the Trunk” and while I was sure it would stay stuck in my head for at least a week I can barely remember the melody less than 48 hours later. Hopefully I can find a recording on their reverbnation page.
I was planning on staying to catch a few songs from Brad Winner but after he said “Tip your bartenders, if it wasn’t for them we’d all be sober and bored” I realized that I was indeed both sober and bored. I also was in no mood to watch a guy strum an acoustic and sing love songs when I was expecting a collection of local bands. I really don’t know why you’d put a solo artist so close to the end on a bill like this; I guess it just stands as a testament to how little effort it really takes to run a successful promotion company.
I’m not sure who the winner of this battle of the bands was. I don’t really care. I saw some interesting groups and while I’m sure it could have been better, it wasn’t a horrible experience. I’m just thinking that in the future I may want to stay away from shady pay-to-play promotion companies who advertise on craigslist and remember to have a few beers before I go to see coffee shop bands.