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  Home > Magaine > Content

City Scenes: Indianapolis
Sunday, September 13, 2009 @ 15:43:23 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Indianapolis
Note (September 2009): As I retire our City Scenes spotlight articles for the immediate future to concentrate on exploring different areas of the music industry as a whole, I was struck with a bit of nostalgia and a self-serving need to not only bolster my own stomping grounds, but to administer a resounding "props" to the Midwestern music scene as a whole. I still feel very strongly that while the coasts and edgy scenes like Austin set the mainstream music trends, the heart and soul of modern music and its roots are firmly entrenched in the middle states of America. Musicians are transient by nature; creative, ambitious souls who pound the pavement and hit the road to provide some escapism to the masses and connect with them on a wholly truthtelling level. These artists travel through the Crossroads of America and filter out to the cities beyond. It's funny, after all these years, I am endeared to Indianapolis and its brilliant musicians in a way that even surprises a jaded music writer.



City Scenes: Madison
Sunday, August 09, 2009 @ 19:44:56 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Richmond
As a Midwesterner who spent a good deal of time in an insulated, liberal pocket tucked in a conservative-leaning state, I've always had an affection for rebellious cities in the middle of the country. Madison is infamously known as an artsy, hip home to radicals and creative types. It's no surprise, then, that Madison is a place where nationally-known musicians want to tour and where local talent remains one of the nation's best-kept secrets. The city is perpetually youthful and hopeful due to the thousands of college students that move in and out from year to year. Brimming with idealism and beautiful natural surroundings, Madison is a unique place to live or visit.



City Scenes: Richmond
Saturday, June 06, 2009 @ 19:18:35 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Richmond
"Virginia is for lovers." Music lovers, history buffs, and experienced travelers will enjoy the relaxed and culturally inspired vibe that Richmond has to offer. Virginia's capital city presents a history lesson at nearly every street corner, with landmarks and attractions pre-dating the Revolutionary War. This rich culture infuses the music and arts communities, too. Folk, blues, and country blend into a diverse and harmonious music scene that remains vibrant with loyal local fans and a healthy dose of touring bands. Richmond provides a perfect backdrop for those seeking a unique urban experience.



City Scenes: Denver
Sunday, May 03, 2009 @ 12:45:14 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Denver
While it may not enjoy the same notoriety as some jazz, blues, or indie music meccas across the United States, Colorado's largest city has been churning out a steady stream of quality music and artists for decades. It might seem unlikely that a mountainous region known for its vacation travel and ski slopes would produce sweet pop or smooth jazz, but the beautiful surroundings of the Mile High City do literally inspire. During my last visit to the area, I emerged from my initial altitude adjustment to find a warm, inviting, and wonderfully accepting local music crowd. They are not only embrace musical visitors to the city, but regularly keep the local venues booming with business. And there are wonderful venues in town that consistently book national, regional and local bestsellers onto their stages. It's no secret that the stunning scenery brings a healthy dose of creativity and perspective to local musicians, and it's well worth a visit from artists all over the country, too.



City Scenes: New Orleans
Sunday, March 08, 2009 @ 14:32:33 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: New Orleans
No music listing or directory is complete without including The Big Easy... although life here for musicians and residents alike has been anything but easy for the last several years. Now, I see a hopeful, robust city putting its best musical foot forward and inviting those displaced back into the fold. Some shop and venue locations may have changed, but then, a rich cultural heritage based on improvisation, creativity, and passion brings a lot to the table. Rebuilding efforts continue and artists have banded together to ensure that a vibrant jazz and heritage scene bursts back to life bigger and better than ever. When I originally set out to compile a City Scenes spotlight article on this great city, tragedy had struck. At that time, it was important to send out a message based on the most basic responses: generosity, friendship, acceptance, and community. Now, I see a hopeful, robust city putting its best musical foot forward and inviting those displaced back into the fold. There is still work to be done, but NOLA residents continue to whistle (and jam) while they work toward a brighter, brassier future.



City Scenes: Austin
Monday, February 09, 2009 @ 23:04:27 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Austin
Thankfully, nothing much changes in Austin. While many cities continue to see clubs closing and attendance lacking, what better place to light a fire under the live music industry than the "live music capital of the world". Austin continues to shine as a beacon for fresh, inspiring music and as a place where thousands of musicians flock to rock out. As we approach yet another SXSW festival, one can't help but note the influence this unique and progressive city has to offer the music industry and fans of live music in general. When times are tough, Austin embraces its creative patrons and uses its strong government support to foster an atmosphere that is inspired and lacking in pretension. Anytime is a good time to revisit Austin.



City Scenes: Nashville
Saturday, December 06, 2008 @ 21:19:47 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Nashville
Music City USA. The Grand Ole Opry. Nestled snugly in between the Heartland and the South, some people may view Nashville as a southern town, but I've always looked at it as much more. To me, to be in Nashville is to be in a place where dreamers, writers, musicians, and performers flock to walk among the stars. There is a preconceived notion that Nashville is a middle-American mecca of the music industry, specializing in publishing deals and providing a place for songwriters, especially, and session players to hone their craft. And that preconception is a truth. But what is it that makes Nashville such a fine breeding ground for industry stalwarts and legendary performers? What separates Nashville from other cities is that music flows in and out of every crevice of every building and life inhabiting its boundaries. In Nashville, it's in the air, making this industry town one of the most beloved and unique cities in the greater US. "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" in New York, but in Nashville, if you make it to the top of the ranks, you've achieved artistic and commercial nirvana.



City Scenes: Philadelphia
Saturday, October 04, 2008 @ 21:36:20 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Philadelphia
History, cheesesteaks, and neo-soul. Ask someone what they think of when they think of Philadelphia, and one of these three things may come up. And that's not far off; after all, every Philly resident has their opinion of where the best cheesesteak is made, what historical landmark or street is their favorite, or what the coolest hangout is, and you're bound to get an emphatic and honest answer. Philadelphians are hardcore - about their music, their food, their cultural activities, and their sports. It's this loyal, faithful audience that brings touring and local musicians and fans out in droves all nights of the week to hear the best and brightest the musical table has to offer. Philly's roots in American soul music, jazz, and even punk, place the city well into the upper echelon of influential national scenes; and one week out in this vibrant city offers such a high-quality variety of music, it's easy to understand why there are so many creative musicians springing from every nook and cranny. In fact, one week is just enough time to decide not only where the best music haunts are, but also where they make the best cheesesteaks. Enjoy exploring one of the nation's oldest and finest cities.



City Scenes: Calgary
Monday, September 08, 2008 @ 00:58:57 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Calgary
A long time ago, I took my first trip with my family to a place that seemed to take forever on a drive from Indiana. That place was Calgary (and neighboring Banff). That was my first foray to visit our neighbors up north, and I still recall my time there very vividly. The city is a short drive to the Canadian Rockies, but still manages to feel very cosmopolitan. There is no shortage of things to do, places to see, and music to hear. A long list of record stores and music stores show just how much Calgarians love their music. And they like diversity and choice. Many of the clubs and venues in the area don't cater to any one style, and that means an open booking policy is guaranteed to supply the masses with a steady stream of talent, no matter what genre, any night of the week. Sure, hockey still reigns here, but after the game is done, these music lovers love to hit the clubs and check out new music.



City Scenes: Kansas City
Saturday, July 12, 2008 @ 22:00:00 UTC
Topic: Local

Kansas City City Scenes
Brews. Blues. BBQ. Kansas City is well known for a certain mix of food, fun, and great live music. In the days of Prohibition, KC began to come into its own and establish a musical identity. While it may not be as famously celebrated as some of its midwestern counterparts - like Chicago or even St. Louis - Missouri's largest city carries on an interesting and varied musical tradition. Its roots may lean decidedly towards jazz and blues, but modern rock is steadily gaining ground. Music fans in KC are reaping the benefits of a lively and thriving new era in musical diversity in their fair city.



City Scenes: Cincinnati
Saturday, May 03, 2008 @ 17:59:40 UTC
Topic: Local


Cincinnati will always have a special place in this Midwesterner's heart. My mother's family was born and raised there, and it could be said that my musical tastes were heavily influenced there. While rock, punk, and jazz continue to thrive on a local level, some years ago Cincinnati was a hotbed for alternative music. Local band The Afghan Whigs took over the alt-rock mantle in 1989 when they became the first non-Northwestern band to sign to Sub Pop Records and unleashed the garage rock movement in the Midwest during the 90s. Nearby Columbus, Ohio, bands such as Royal Crescent Mob and Howlin' Maggie made regular road trips to Cincinnati and brought even more attention to the rock scene in the area. Because most bars in the area adhere to the 18+ years admittance rule, teenagers and scenesters alike frequent the same haunts, and this leads to a strong, diverse local following for any band that gets out and about on a regular basis. Built-in audiences don't come easily to many local scenes, but in Cincinnati, they like their music loud, proud, and for all ages.



City Scenes: Charlotte
Saturday, April 05, 2008 @ 15:49:44 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Charlotte
For many across the United States, the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of the city of Charlotte is NASCAR racing. The second, the fact that Charlotte is the second largest banking capital in the US, second only to New York. And the truth is, Charlotte is best known for these two things, but the metropolis also thrives on major sports franchises and an ability to draw large festivals and crowds to town. The citizens aren't starved for entertainment on the local level, either, with a thriving performing arts tradition and well-established blues venues breathing life into the cultural community. Indeed, the "Queen City" also plays host to several college campuses and a booming tourist business. The local music scene here may be understated, but Charlotte is a major player among the cities of the South.



City Scenes: Memphis
Saturday, March 08, 2008 @ 16:18:47 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Memphis
It's no surprise to hear that Memphis is the home of blues, brews, and barbecues. No matter how you stack (or, Stax) it, music roots run deep in this full-of-soul southern city. In fact, you can't walk down Beale Street without passing a blues bar or barbecue joint within 10 seconds. The list of musicians hailing from this city reads like a who's who of rhythm, blues, and soul, but it's the dedication and commitment to the local music scene in modern times that keeps the spirit of soul alive. Music fans flock here every year for many fine festivals, a chance to visit historic Sun Studios, or get their Elvis on at Graceland. Memphis may not be the first city that fans think of when they're marking down travel destinations, but for this writer's money, it's a trip well worth taking more than once to soak in all this traditional city has to offer. Forsaking rhinestones for grittier textures, this "other" Tennessee music capital provides less glitter and more groove.



City Scenes: Miami
Sunday, February 10, 2008 @ 16:05:44 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes - Miami
While the initial thought that comes to mind when I think of Miami is generally Latin or Cuban-related, I've come to find that, much like its citizenship, the music scene in this South Florida city is multidimensional and full of fire. It's not uncommon to consider Miami one of the Latin/Cuban/Brazilian music capitals of these United States, after all, many of those genres' most affluent and talented musicians call it home. The international flavor of this city evokes scads of influences, cultural practices, and world views to your doorstep. If you're looking for inspiration, the musical, cultural, and gastronomic fusion that takes place here is nothing short of mind-blowing. But there are two distinct lifestyles and attitudes at play in Miami - the histrionic, celebrity-filled, modelesque version of South Beach; and the laid-back, sun-soaked locals whose appreciation for differences make for quite a change from the vacation trade. What you get when you explore Miami, the Keys, and the beaches here is more of a melting pot than a huge city - it's not about coexisting, it's about harmony. So what better place to get rock, blues, calypso, Brazilian beats, salsa, jazz, and Cuban rhythm and dance than the US southernmost mainland tip, a city that naturally ebbs and flows like the tides on its shores.



City Scenes: San Francisco
Sunday, December 02, 2007 @ 13:57:16 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes ~ San Francisco
There's something very romantic about the city by the bay that causes even the most jaded musicians and progressively interesting artists to wax philosophical in their work. This writer is no exception. Simply put, there just is absolutely no other place in the country like San Francisco. Inspiration and interest in cultural endeavors seems to swell like the sea, buoying the spirits of locals and those simply passing through. There's an interesting paradox to life in San Francisco - it's simultaneously steeped in tradition and one of the most progressive and eclectic populations in the country. If many still consider Los Angeles to be the business capital of the entertainment industry on the West Coast, then San Francisco must surely supply the heart and soul. Any day by the bay is just begging for lyrical tribute, and there is no shortage of poets, songwriters and artists to supply a nostalgic piece of work.



City Scenes: Chicago
Saturday, November 03, 2007 @ 15:33:06 UTC
Topic: Local


Reviewing our picks for the best venues, stores, and experiences in Chicago has produced a somewhat surprising, but comfortably familiar, offering of businesses dedicated to the always-vibrant music scene in the Windy City. The list is only surprising when comparing Chicago's steadfastness to the multiple closings of legendary venues and retailers over the past few years in other cities of similar stature. Chicago's venues remain vital, artistically innovative, and business-savvy enough that club owners and patrons around the county could learn a lesson from their willingness to adapt to the times without selling their souls. Chicago is mid-America's cosmopolitan capital; and this writer can always find a reason to get in the car and ride like the devil to see a great show. Blues and rock still reign supreme, making Chicago a must-visit for any indie music fan.



City Scenes: Los Angeles
Sunday, October 07, 2007 @ 23:44:33 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Los Angeles
As we come upon our third year of compiling City Scenes articles here at Indie-Music.com, this month's spotlight has been refocused on our very first city to be profiled - the City of Angels, a.k.a. LaLaLand, or Los Angeles. And there's good reason to come back to it now, when so many landmark venues are shutting their doors across the country. Los Angeles, for all its tendencies toward glitzy, glamorous, and celebrity-inspired hoopla, has a firm foothold in the past. The list of legendary local venues is staggering; while other cities struggle to cope with club closings, the variety and staying power of LA's time-tested venues just keeps growing. The LA music scene is built upon the backs of independent musicians doing their best to shake up the biz. Hands down, there is no other scene in the United States that compares when it comes to inspiring songwriters to dream big. From rock to pop to rap and hip-hop, LA has tons of flavor; all you have to do as a music fan is to decide what your tastebuds are in the mood for on any given night. There's always a rockin' show in the City of Angels.



City Scenes: New York
Sunday, September 09, 2007 @ 00:40:59 UTC
Topic: Local


As we revisit the city that never sleeps, this writer can't help but infuse an emotional and nostalgic connection to the Big Apple that borders on the brink of sadness. As gloriously forthright and in-your-face as many of the venues, music fans and business owners in NYC are, I can't help but feel bemused by the rash of venue closings that has plagued the city. Perhaps I'm sounding the alarm too early, but the recent closings of Sin-e, Tonic, Northsix and the legendary CBGB's have dimmed the city lights a bit for me as a music fan. In fact, CB's closed doors and the recent death of Hilly Kristal mark the end of a very prolific and progressive era in New York - and American - music history. But the reemergence of Luna Lounge, the buzz around Southpaw and a burgeoning scene in Brooklyn, alongside the always reliable Knitting Factory, give hope as the NYC music scene transforms itself once again to bring independent, and incredibly talented, musicians to the forefront of the industry. While the aforementioned venues will be sorely missed, their reputations and aspirations will continue to inspire the next generation of legends still to come.



City Scenes: Detroit
Saturday, August 04, 2007 @ 03:00:43 UTC
Topic: Local

City Scenes: Detroit
Upon first listen, it would seem easy to pigeonhole Detroit as merely a power source for today's popular hip-hop and rap scenes in the greater landscape of the music industry. And while some of the most influential artists of the past few years, Kid Rock and Eminem, have hailed from the Motor City, it would be a disservice to the rich, musical history of this metropolis to simply leave it at that. Detroit has given rise to many a musical trend over the course of the last half-century: Motown, goth/metal/hard rock, punk rock, indie garage rock, and hip-hop. Motown's humble beginnings birthed a blues and soul revival throughout the city, and throughout the industry. Although Berry Gordy may have moved his operation when Motown took off, the groundwork was laid in Detroit. Groups like The White Stripes and Von Bondies brought attention to the city as part of the rise of indie garage rock in the 90s and early 2000s. Still, the success of two very different artists solidified Detroit's place in musical history when hip-hop/rock fusion artist Kid Rock and hard-hitting hip-hop genius Eminem burst onto the mainstream stage. If anything, it's a credit to the music scene and fans that populate the Motor City who have supported and fostered the creativity of their local scene. Detroit's convenient location near the Canadian border also contributes to the constantly evolving musical landscape. If you're a touring musician, you simply must make a stop here, even as a fan, to determine what musical trend may be lurking in the Motor City's shadows.



City Scenes: Milwaukee
Monday, July 09, 2007 @ 02:39:26 UTC
Topic: Local


Brews and blues. While long considered one of the brewery capitals of the world, Milwaukee's cultural scene has remained somewhat of a mystery to those living outside of the Midwest. In fact, even if you live in the same region, it may be difficult to pin down just what makes this metropolis tick. With this in mind, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the music scene builds itself upon the bedrocks of rock, blues, and a solid, although small, jazz scene. Much like the city itself, the scene may not capture the imagination and attention of some of its more bustling counterparts (Chicago is a mere 90 miles away), but Milwaukee's residents and government are making great strides in rebuilding the city's core after decades of living in the brewery and blue-collar shadow. With more than a dozen college campuses located within the greater metropolis area, this is certainly a market worth tapping into if you're a touring musician or a regional outfit looking to grow your fanbase. The music fans in this town are supportive and encouraging to their artists - take a look at the many unique artists below who were born and raised in this city to understand why this town takes its music so seriously, and why it could be poised to produce even more raw talent in the years to come.