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If the scene is united, it will never be divided.



This weekend is a huge weekend for music...if you live in Cincinnati. Despite it’s puny ranking as 57th largest city in the United States (Indianapolis must’ve paid a judge to score that hefty 14th place standing), Cincinnati has an extremely healthy music scene. While I’ve already gushed about Cincy in a previous post, it bears repeating that every layer of their music scene is heathy and lively. From the arenas and theaters down to the dirty basements, Cincy has a lot going on.

This weekend, ‘Porkopolis’ is launching into it’s 3rd annual Hands Across Basements festival. The festival unites the various house venues in the city for a weekend festival of epic proportions. This year, four houses are participating: The Hungry House, The Bike Haus, The Loud House and The Hot Tub House. Hands Across Basements is just proof of how well the various elements of the Cincinnati music scene work together.

Hands Across Basements 2009: Rowdiness at The Glendora House
  • Hands Across Basements 2009: Rowdiness at The Glendora House

No why the hell can’t we have that kind of a positive scene here in Indianapolis. Since we somehow managed to get listed at the 14th biggest city in the United States, we should have no problem getting any number of our 800,000-odd inhabitants out to a concert, right? Wrong.

If you’re a huge, top-40 recording artist, then you’ll have no problem selling out, say, Conseco Field House, but the average Indianapolitan doesn’t seem all that interested in discovering new music. Bands usually don’t get much attention here unless they are simply too big to ignore. Most up-and-coming bands simply avoid Indianapolis all together until they have reached a high level of national saturation (or they only play Bloomington).

This is a problem for bigger shows (say, The Emerson and bigger), but even the smaller punk/hardcore/indie rock scenes have fatal divisions in them that keep them from pulling together something like Hands Across Basements. While the Hardcore scene (focused at The 1511) is fairly large, there is little crossover into other scenes. The same goes for the Indie Rock crowd. There are only a handful of people that I would see at both The 1511 and The Empty Bucket (the main Indie Rock house). I know that if you don’t like a certain kind of music then there’s no sense in forcing yourself to like it, but most of the divisions in this city’s music scene are based not on musical palettes, but on cliquey stratifications. I am by no means free of this sin, (hello E.S. Jungle) but I am working on it. I think that some more cross-pollination would definitely be good for the music scene... and for our souls.

I encourage all of you to force yourselves to go to at least one show that you normally wouldn't go to. Maybe it won't be that bad, maybe you'll even like it. If you've been sticking to Indy Rock, then I suggest you attend Last Friday At The Dojo (that's this Friday), and if you're into punk or hardcore, then a trip to Locals Only for Free Music Thursdays (which is tomorrow, and every other Thursday until the end of time) should be in your near future. So expand your musical horizons and help unify the music scene! Maybe one day, we'll have a Hands Across Basements of our own...


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