Why You Should Join Your Neighborhood Music Scene
By: Lauren Silverman
What do The New Yardbirds, Mammoth, and Pen Cap Chew have in common? They’re the original names of some of the most famous bands in history.
No matter how legendary, every band started somewhere- and most of them worked up from the very bottom.
New York City’s local music scene is bustling with energy. However, with so many famous artists releasing new content and touring worldwide, local bands might get left in the dust. It’s easy to forget that even the biggest bands started small.
Supporting neighborhood music benefits more than just the musicians; by attending shows and becoming part of a tight-knit fanbase, both you and your community can enjoy rich cultural exposure.
Seeing local bands is a great way to connect with inspirational musicians without inflated ticket prices or excruciatingly long lines.
Often, when famous artists decide to meet fans after a show, the meet-and-greet process is unbearably complicated, consisting of expensive passes, ridiculous wait times, and heavy security, all for a few seconds of actual conversation (and maybe a photograph).
Local artists are willing to communicate with their fans and, because they are not making music for a gigantic commercial audience, often find the time to stick around after their shows. After all, they rely heavily on public support.
When you attend a neighborhood show, you are doing more than filling the room. Paying a small cover charge or simply buying a drink at a local venue supports both the band and the venue itself.
Small establishments such as bars and lounges need steady business to flourish, and hosting gigs provides them with that opportunity. If more people attend small shows, businesses may be able to host even larger gatherings that would also benefit everyone involved.
With countless numbers of bands sharing their music in a variety of ways, it is easy to get overwhelmed. However, the wide selection means that there’s something for everyone.
The beauty of living in New York City is that every music genre has a following, from mumble rap to bluegrass, and you’re guaranteed to find a group that piques your interest. Open mics allow solo and duo artists to share snippets of song ideas, while larger events like festivals celebrate with help from multiple groups.
The array of event types allows you to pick what you truly think will interest you.
It is even more rewarding to venture outside your regular taste. If you come across a band of an unfamiliar genre, you may have a fantastic experience by learning about a new style of music and being surrounded by people who are passionate about it.
In this small community, people are excited about sharing their discoveries. Music is all about dedication and generosity.
“I think it’s important to support local acts because of how hard bands and musicians work to prepare for performances,” says Vincent LaRussa, drummer and vocalist of SqueezeBox, a Staten Island rock band. “All the lessons, practice, and rehearsals that each member puts in should be rewarded by allowing musicians to have a forum that is encouraged, cultivated, and promoted by communities all over.”
It’s easy to become a part of that forum. Local bands want to connect with you, hear your feedback, and enjoy playing.
Being a part of this intimate community is more than just a pleasant experience; it is essential to support local musicians’ hard work both monetarily and socially.
And who knows? Your next favorite band just might hit it big.
If you would like to get involved in your local music scene but aren’t sure where to start, there are plenty of shows coming up around the five boroughs that stretch across a variety of genres:
9/28: Plan For Panic, Dead Men Dreaming, and more at The Hideout, 8pm
10/5: Roger Street Freidman at The Metropolitan Bistro, 8pm
10/6: SqueezeBox at Schnitzel Haus, 10pm
10/18: Phil Robinson’s Speakeasy Sessions at Amendment 18, 8:30pm
10/19: The Bleeps, Sweeps and the Creeps at Amendment 18
10/26: Prosody and more at Fascination Street Halloween Market, 6pm