So apparently today’s been the day to beat down on the local music scene of Richmond.
First, singer/songwriter Aimee Mann, who grew up in Richmond, had a bunch of negative things to say when she appeared on the WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, where she said Richmond “can never get its shit together” and refuses to play here. (Full disclosure: I love Aimee Mann’s music, so hearing this hurts a little).
On top of this, Sounds of RVA wrote this terrific post responding to a Craigslist troll who had a million negative things to say about the RVA music scene. Granted, some of the things said were true, but it was very clear that he/she is ignorant of the music scene and is only exposed to cover bands outside the city limits. Sarah does a damn fine job of smacking them down a notch.
While the comments made may be true in certain areas, musically Richmond has come a long way. Aimee Mann moved away from Richmond over 30 years ago and I think it’s safe to say that the scene has changed dramatically since then. So here are my thoughts:
Besides Aimee Mann, we’ve had numerous acts from RVA make it big including Gwar, Lamb of God, Cracker, D’Angelo, Jason Mraz, The Head and the Heart, Reggie Pace from Bon Iver and even Chris Brown (despite the domestic violence).
Almost every night of the week, venues around town are hosting some amazing acts. Strange Matter, Canal Club, the Camel, Nile, Kingdom and Balliceaux are always hosting great music, whether its a local band or someone coming from out of town. No matter what your preferred style of music is, I can without a doubt say you will find something you will enjoy. Sure, we have a lot of cover bands (Richmond LOVES its cover bands) and yes, there are many bands here that are terrible, but that shouldn’t stop you from going out and experiencing the scene because for every “terrible” band you see, there are dozens that are hugely talented.
Besides the plethora of local bands (there’s just too many amazing artists to mention), venues and booking agents promoting their own shows, there are numerous people behind the scenes who are promoting it as well because they are so in love with the music scene that they want to let others know about it. You’ve got Sounds of RVA, You Heat That?, One Way Richmond, RVA Magazine, The Cheats Movement, WRIR, The Richmond Scene, the gang behind the Listening Room series, the guys at Radio Rubber Room, Chris Bopst’s “Hear & Now” column for the Times-Dispatch, Friday Cheers (who have SERIOUSLY stepped up the caliber of mainstream artists mixed with local bands). Plus, you’ve got a certain blogger (*cough* *cough*) who brings you new stuff every single day (I’m not above giving shout outs to myself). There’s a community of music lovers out there.
I feel that people who do nothing but criticize the scene are the same people not even trying to experience a good thing. Richmond loves to bitch and complain, but my comments to Aimee Mann and the anonymous Craigslist poster are this: Go out and experience it. Go to the shows. Listen to the albums. Experience the scene. You’ll find what you like and you’ll like what you find. Trust me.