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April 28, 2008

Bars vs. local music

From the start, Midnight Sun has been all about balancing local music coverage with news and discussions about bars and clubs.

It's more of a struggle than I thought it would be. ...

See, MS readers care waaaay more about bars than local music.

So I know that if I do a post on Jumbo Slice, it's going to get tons more hits and comments than a post about All Time Low.

I've had people outright tell me, "Nobody cares about local music." 

But I still think local music is incredibly important, and want to write about it.

One of my editors at the college paper always used to use the broccoli vs. ice cream comparison, and I think it fits here.

Local bands are the broccoli -- the stuff people don't want to digest but should.

And ice cream is what everybody wants.

With MS, it's a little bit of broccoli and a lot of ice cream.

(Photo of local beatboxer Shodekeh by Christopher T. Assaf/Sun Photographer) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:39 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music


Lieutenant Dan! ICE CREAM!

I like carrots more than broccoli, so if you make local music more like carrots than broccoli then I'm all in.

Too much junk food equals an upset stomach.

The broccoli is appreciated!!!!

I care about Homer! Where are you boy?

the problem with trying to cover the local music scene for a general audience is that any given band will at best only appeal to 5% of that audience. covering the bar scene is like covering the beatles in the '60's - everyone likes booze.

JTK. You sir are the man....that is all.

You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits.

Have you ever met a person, you say, "Let's get some parfait," they say, "Hell no, I don't like no parfait"?

Parfaits are delicious.

Trouble, You make a delicious point. Now there is a rumbly in my tumbly from all this talk of food.

The problem with the local music scene is most of the "going out" public are (Males) Ravens lovin, Girl watchin, lets get in a fight, Beer Juggin T-Pain Lovin. (Women) Beyonce's Awesome, Have little style of their own, have no clue men unless you have no hair on your chest and have a crew cut.

Now go to the Otto Bar, Metro Gallery, Talking Head, The Depot, Lo-Fi etc... You get people who love music and the Scene. Not caught up in the robotic mentality of Power Plant Live! The bands are fresh and don't care about the norm. Fishnet Stalkers, Motorocket, Two If By Sea, Avec, Do I need to go on.

"Now go to the Otto Bar, Metro Gallery, Talking Head, The Depot, Lo-Fi etc... You get people who love music and the Scene. Not caught up in the robotic mentality of Power Plant Live! The bands are fresh and don't care about the norm. Fishnet Stalkers, Motorocket, Two If By Sea, Avec, Do I need to go on."

Wait, this is just as segregated a scene as the one you previously described. Can't we enjoy all this city has to offer? Some nights I like catching a band at Ottobar, other nights I need my 1$ Natty Bohs at Pickles before an O's game.

"Allah loves wondrous variety" --Azeem, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Which local music? It's all the same guys rotating around, like the one with accordion etc. Surely all are tired of it.

Dave has it right, and Trouble pulled a great quote.

It's easy for us readers to comment about a bar—it's a place we can visit with no hassle, usually 5-7 nights a week. Even if we haven't been there, we probably have an opinion about the bar's neighborhood, and how the new joint fits in (or doesn't, and whether or not that's a good thing).

And everyone is going to have an opinion about pizza or a favorite drink. I mean, c'mon, it's PIZZA for God's sake. (Great awful pick-up line punchline: "Whatsa matter? You don't like pizza?")

Local music is different. Seeing a band is an *appointment*. That's a lot harder to talk about. If we haven't heard them yet, how can we comment? And what can we say that's at all useful beforehand? "This band you mention sounds cool. I have noted that date on my Google Calendar"? Um, yikes.

It doesn't mean we care any less. We just don't have as much to contribute. MS bar posts are a seminar; MS band posts are a lecture. Either way we learn something.

And if no one cares about local music, why do more and more performance spaces keep opening up? Why is Rolling freakin' Stone writing about our city's great scene? The people who are telling you no one cares about local music are the same ones who go into a brew pub and order a Bud Light. It's not that Bud Light in itself is so bad, but you want to say to the guy, "Dude, open your eyes and look around."

Besides, hits and comments are for bloggers. You're a journalist who happens to blog. Worlds of difference, I'd say.

Local bands are broccoli?

Bud light IS in itself so bad!

Patchen, you make some good points. Most bloggers don't produce original content -- they just comment on original content and link to other sites.

However, I think my style of writing does work well in the blogosphere.

bud light is better than brocolli

George Bush 1 hates brocolli. Therefore, Brocolli is good. What does Doofis 2 hate? I bet that's good too.

Broccoli, independent of it's nutrimental value, has been done to death on almost any restaurants menu and in frozen food medleys, not the best produce selection for your comparison.

Incidentally, you ever notice that late night talk shows usually put the music acts last?
It’s because that’s the part of the show were if people don’t like it, they are most likely to tune out.
Music is a topic were disagreement is mostly like to arise, local band or not.

For most of this crowd the discovery of a little art will always be enhanced by occurring at a bar with a wide selection of drinks a favorably priced. Don’t forget the famous FMEB in terms of interesting and enjoyable snack foods will increase the possible euphoria by a great margin.
A place that keeps the entertainment confined to the backroom will allow the interested to indulge and the disinterested and/or irritated the opportunity to imbibe up front, hopefully out of earshot. As close as I can imagine in satisfying the largest number of patrons.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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