I could sit here and wax romantic about the field of flowering possibilities that stretches before us in 2007 and lull you into complacency. Or I could cast wild prognostications about what will happen this year in music and then watch them blow up in my face like a vice-presidential quail hunt. But instead, I'm just gonna tell you exactly what needs to happen around here during this swing around the sun.
In conversations and interviews I had with local musicians a few short years ago, nearly all expressed sensing a vague stir in the wind. Turns out, there was something to these inklings after all. Look around and you'll see that this is not the scene of three years ago. However, all this means is that we have it good, not that we have it made. The vista ahead is indeed better-defined, but the only thing we've arrived at so far is a threshold.
That's something, but didn't you learn anything from Kenny Rogers? You never count your money while you're sittin' at the table, and this game's still afoot. Are we content with being just good enough for us to know it or are we ready to shoot for real credibility? If it's the latter then know that it's going to take, at the very minimum, some good old-fashioned elbow grease to break through. The sooner we embrace that, the better.
The good news is that the stone's already rolling. The necessary work is being done by a few thirsty, enterprising folks. Mind you, I said "a few." In order to reach real critical mass, they need to get better at it, do more of it and have more support. For their part, local musicians have improved in mining the resources among their own ranks, cross-pollinating and spinning off with greater frequency. The village of artists itself has grown and the fences between the various cliques are becoming increasingly permeable. But I know of some very gifted talents who are just dicking around (or the production equivalent thereof). The iron is hot right now, so if you want to matter then get off your ass.
I'm always going to say that the local labels and promoters need to boost efforts to enable, develop and bring us quality bands. But the important thing I already see happening in certain pockets, but would like to see much more of, is the deepening of communities. One word: events. It enriches the scene at large and, believe me, it will be a keystone to our success.
The load, however, doesn't belong solely to those behind the productions. They've been toiling this whole time. It takes two to make sweet love, and that's where you come in. So how about a little less posing and a lot more support? If you don't vote, don't bitch.
But here's what some of our scene's blacksmiths have to say:
"2006 was a really good year for this market. We've been coming in at No. 2 on a lot of tours so props to people for their support. For next year, just onward and upward. And the locals in the market getting national attention — Band Marino, Between the Trees, Gasoline Heart, Plain Jane Automobile — I would look forward to more next year." — Michael McRaney (Foundation Presents, The Social, McRaney's Tavern)
"Could I please get some more fist-pumping, ear-shattering, foot-stomping ROCK & ROLL bands in the upcoming year? We have a great amount of talent in Orlando but I need more rock!!!" — Will Walker (owner-in-exile, Will's Pub)
"I'd like to see more tits and ass on Wall Street … especially on the weekend. I mean, come on already, enough with the soccer mom bands and Creed redux shit. Congrats on that record deal though. That's a big ten-four, over and out in 2007." — Dan Stone (WTKS 104.1 FM)
"I would like fans to keep supporting their favorite bands. The fans can only make the next Pearl Jam or the Stones happen." — Sharisse Pessar (talent buyer, House of Blues Orlando)
"I'd like to see more kids forming GOOD bands in 2007. Tonight, I was downtown and I saw a group of about six skater kids standing on the edge of the History Center park watching a guy playing acoustic versions of Sublime songs at the Monkey Bar. One of them had a mohawk and a Misfits shirt, and another was singing along. I'd like to not see that in 2007. And this town needs another small venue just outside of downtown." — Rich Evans (Floridas Dying)
"Our scene needs to embrace all aspects of the show including the theatrical aspects, not just playing music live. I would like to see bands treat every show like it is an event. The fans and patrons get bored of seeing the same band play the same set every month." — Chris Anderson (Parafora Music, Back Booth)firstname.lastname@example.org