2o years ago... I remember a vibrant music scene on the East End especially on weekend evenings. Places like the Quiet Man in Southold didn't get hoppin' until 10 p.m. or so and the crowd was there at 2 a.m. most weekends. People came out to see great bands like the King Charles Band and so many others, have a few laughs, etc. It was a good time for playing out as a musician or being a patron of the local watering hole.
Nowadays on a weekend evening you can drive by one of the few establishments that supports local indie music (as well as cover bands),, and you'd be hard pressed to see 10 cars in the parking lot most nights around 11 p.m. — when things should just be getting cranked up. This is one of the best establishments on the North Fork for hearing Live music on a weekend evening. Most of the bands are indie original artists from right here in our own backyard. Yet, most times the crowds are quite thin. It begs the question, "What Happened?"
First off, its NOT the music! I have heard most of the local talent on the east end being a professional musician and having a band myself. The music is quite eclectic most times, good material that deserves the support of its community.
For the bands that "do it right," it takes countless hours of rehearsing to write your own songs and get everyones ideas on the table when trying to put it all together with a full band. The result is a finished work that takes on the personality of its members. This is a work of art. People many times take music for granted. They like it or they don't and thats the end of it. I feel a community almost has an obligation to take the time to support those who work so hard, usually for nothing more than some self gratification or a few dollars. Most of the covers we all love to hear were once someones ORIGINAL! Many successful bands have derived much encouragement from their hometowns. People going out to local establishments to stop in and check out the newest bands.
Being in a band I can tell you, there is a huge difference playing a crowd and playing a room. A crowd brings out the energy needed for a band to come to life and be expressive. Interaction with their crowd is of the utmost importance and it also gives them a good feel for their songs and direction. I have written many, many songs but I may only use 20 of them when I play out. The rest might get introduced very slowly. Some may not cut it depending on the venue or the situation. Having a crowd there to hear your works and react is always a good thing for an artist to help gauge and critique themselves.
It's NEVER about who you know, what you look like, etc. It's ALWAYS about THE MUSIC!!! For that, you need people who support you to come and hear what you've worked on. Sometimes, you won't be happy with the reaction. This is the hardest part of creating and being an artist. Some songs are meant for an issue, some are meant for a quiet atmosphere, some for a huge crowd where you can tear it up. Thats up the artist as to what they play and where using good judgement. Its hard at times to be your OWN worst critic, believe me. But you need outside critique from fans or curious onlookers to gauge what your doing so you know how to grow as an artist with the direction you are heading.
I'm sure there are reasons why people dont go out as much as they once did. It's definitely not as true of points west. I am involved in the music scene up island and NYC. There is a huge difference in the support of local original music within 45 minutes to an hours drive. It's tough on an artist at times but I personally love it. Why? You dont make a call or send an email and "whoop", get a gig. You have to involve yourself and support fellow artists like yourself. There are no free handouts to strangers. It's a brotherhood in a very real way. It's very competitive in the original music world. So if you can get some feedback in your hometown, put together what you feel is your best setlist and then go west, your confidence is more solidifed.
Writing music in the 2000's is a very competitive field. Artists who dont do it for the love of writing and sharing with fellow artists, family and friends will get weary quick or resign themselves to status quo. Which for some is absoultely fine. You have to love expressing whats in your heart. Not for riches or glory. Not out of spite, malice or alterior motives. Otherwise the music suffers.
I love what I do. I have a passion for it. And I work very hard at supporting fellow artists, getting to know them locally and all over the world. By mutual support I learn, I meet people and I gauge what will work and what will not. In return I receive advice, support and connections needed in this tough arena. I can honestly say its always genuine when I reach out to others, as well as what I get in return-friendships and honest feedback which helps us as a band to grow.
So, what exactly happened? I'm really not sure. I'm hoping to enlist some feedback so many bands could get a better idea. Again, its NOT the music. Is it the willingness to go out? Maybe it's the change in population out here? Maybe fear of going to a bar and driving home? Maybe most folks are just happy with going to day shows at local vineyards, which are usually quite exciting and full of local talent. It could be a number of things. I think local artists would appreciate the feedback. Sure, in the summer things pick up some at places such as Claudios. But, there's definitely a lack of interest in original indie bands many times, in my humble opinion(and that of quite a few artists too).
I know this much. The rule of the professional band is you ALWAYS play, to the best of the your ability, the same show for 10 as you would for 110. Thats being a pro! But when you actually have the crowd it speaks volumes to what you as an artist are writing, performing and sharing with everyone because you will truly learn from your peers who are sincere in heart and support you.
In closing, this article is referring to the night time-past and present. As I stated earlier, the wineries have some of the best acoustic and smaller acts around. There is SO much talent out here. But even last year's didn't fare so well. Many people came out from up west.
As a musician I can say that when 10 people come out to show support we are extremely thankful and appreciate each person for doing so. To them, we bow and give gracious thanks for their love and support. But I think more North Forkers need to take a shot one night and just go out to support a local band. Go to Four Doors and have a drink and hear some great local talent. Go for the music. They are so wonderful in their support of indie music. They are supplying the venue and bringing in the acts. Now everyone just needs to go and listen!
It is open to all. Young, old, rockers, rappers, etc. Just do it and GO! You won't regret hearing some true, wonderful talent. Listen for yourself. Share with the bands what you think. They are the future very possibly of Rock n Roll. Some are older, some younger, some folk, some rock, some blues, etc. It's a great night out. Inexpensive. And YOU could be a part of encouraging the next big act to hit the airwaves. Ya never know!
Peace, Love & MUSIC~