When someone mentions live local music, what cities come to mind? Austin? Atlanta? Tampa? New York?
What about Montgomery? This suggestion may raise some eyebrows and elicit some chuckles among local residents. Why, you might ask, would I want to see bands play in Montgomery when I can go up to Birmingham? What can Montgomery possibly have to offer?
Montgomery may not be the hottest spot for live local music, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Whether you know it or not, there are a lot of very talented musicians in this city. In fact, Montgomery has the potential to become just as hot as our neighbor Birmingham.
First, however, we need to show the city that we want, we demand a better music scene.
Most musicians don’t perform solely for the money. Many know that they may never make it “big” or get a record deal, though they likely wouldn’t turn down the opportunity if it arose. Musicians do it for the love of music, because they’re driven by a hunger to create noise, and not just any noise, but something full of life and spirit. Music is perhaps the ideal form of PDA. Like most art, it’s not something to keep hidden from the world, but something to display for everyone to enjoy. When you support musicians, you share in their experience of the art.
While it is helpful to support bands by buying their albums and merchandise, perhaps the best and easiest way to support them is to go to their shows. If money’s tight, there are venues that don’t have cover charges, like the It’ll Do Tavern, or some that only charge cover on weekends, but still have live music during the week. And yes, some venues do have live music during the week. The 1048 in Downtown Montgomery, for example, showcases bands 7 nights a week!
Not only does attending concerts show the bands that you care about them and enjoy what they do, but you also help make them sound better. Hard to believe, maybe, but it’s true. Musicians feed off the energy of the crowds. When they see that the audience is enjoying the music, they feel better about what they’re doing, and the energy level of their music increases. It’s the reason why going to see a band live in concert is a much more invigorating experience than listening to them on a CD. An album can’t compete with the energy of a live show with an enthusiastic audience.
There’s another very important reason to attend concerts by local musicians. The more that venues see audiences for these bands grow, the more often they’ll hire bands to play at their establishments. If this increases city-wide, more venues may open, and the music scene will blossom. This will also help encourage other local musicians to develop their own talents and create their own bands, further strengthening the local music scene.
The first step toward this brighter future for Montgomery’s music scene is to get out there and show your support for local music.