Saturday, February 03, 2007

The music we love...or so this guy says

Did you know that Grand Forks residents still can't get enough AC/DC, Guns & Roses, or Lynyrd Skynyrd? That's right, those bands are "the state of the upper-Midwest music scene"...at least in the view of one Brett Lindenberg from Grand Forks. He recently received honorable mention in an "I'm From Rolling Stone" contest on the rollingstone.com website.

"Pop-music has failed to be a blip on our musical GPS." Hmm, I can't really agree that much with Lindenberg. Then again, I guess I'm too much of an "organic-eating Starbucks-drinking tree-hugging liberal" in Lindenberg words.

This is just the kind of portrait of Grand Forks as an outdated, uncultured entertainment hinterland that makes me cringe.

23 comments:

Coffee Guy said...

I see nothing wrong with the premise of his article. I'm proud to blare AC/DC from my truck, and I'll bet any of those 3 bands mentioned would draw 5 times the people to the Alerus than did the Black Eyed Peas. My family would be right there in the crowd, lighters in hand yelling "FREEEEE BIIIIIIRD!!!!!"

mattfacingsouth said...

Well, there's truth in his writings on some level. It's just too bad that he chose GF as his paticular dartboard: there is much more musical taste here than, say, in Northwood.

That said, GF is fairly narrow in its musical taste. The only way I can account for this is that after playing in multiple live bands for the past 8 years, there has been only token sentiment toward any music I've played other than classic rock. These "other" types are classic jazz, contemporary jazz, soul, funk, and r&b.

My next project is going to be an 80's revival because it seems that's where the money is at. [/sarcasm]

Last night among the shouts of "Freebird," we were asked to play some Air Supply.

Seriously.

Anonymous said...

The drunk part of the article is right. Grand Forks does lead the nation in binge drinking...

Matthew said...

1. Grand Forks is an outdated uncultured entertainment hinterland.

2. You associate Pop Music with culture?

3. There are liberals here?

vcsuvike said...

Rock concerts do go over well and the Alerus should bring in more. AC/DC, Guns N Rose, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Def Leppard... VAN HALEN (now with David Lee Roth) would all be great in GF. Although Backstreet Boys and NSync did bring good crowds.

GrandForksGuy said...

"1. Grand Forks is an outdated uncultured entertainment hinterland."

You're entitled to your opinions, but I don't think everyone on here would agree with you. I don't.

"3. There are liberals here?"

You better believe it. It might not be saying all that much, but Grand Forks is easily the most liberal city in the state.

mattfacingsouth said...

Okay, so music... not such a hot topic.

Maybe the dude was too close to the mark?

Anonymous said...

Most liberal city....That's like saying Minot is the most caucasian city. It might be true, but there isn't much difference...

GrandForksGuy said...

I still think it marginalizes the community to act like residents only care about one (outdated) genre of music.

mattfacingsouth said...

GFG, marginalizing or not, as someone who is heavily involved in the local music scene, I don't see any evidence that folks here like any other types of music more or in greater quantity than country and classic rock. With the exception of UND students, many (I'd say most) of whom are temporary, there is not a lot of appreciation for pop music.

I'll be the first to say that modern pop music might not deserve said appreciation, but that's another topic.

The music we're exposed to lends a lot to our musical taste and there aren't a lot of Salsa acts around town, nor are there many Zydeco groups. I was exposed to live bands playing that stuff when I was a kid - sometimes by design, often just in passing. What it did was lay a foundation in my life for "other" types of music, but it also showed that those types of music were obviously in demand where I lived.

Look at the local live music scene, look at the local radio stations; that will tell you what people around here like.

You could probably pick a thousand towns where the same is true, but the author is from Grand Forks and is relying on his observations - you can't fault him for that.

And as I said before, my observations are pretty much in-line with his with the few exceptions I noted earlier (some token, many genuine - and very appreciated, as are all music lovers); it's not a judgment from my end, it's an observation. If you disagree, the onus is on you to provide the evidence.

GrandForksGuy said...

With the exception of UND students, many (I'd say most) of whom are temporary, there is not a lot of appreciation for pop music.

I guess I'll have to agree with that sentiment, mattfacingsouth. The presence of a large number of UND students might give people an impression (including me) that we are a little more diverse in our tastes than we probably really are.

Still, I wish the writer had picked on a different town. Being (mainly) a one or two genre town is hardily anything to be proud of...

mattfacingsouth said...

I agree; I look at it more as a cry for help than anything.

It'd be nice if folks like him went out of their way to help foster new culture here instead of complaining... or instead of leaving and giving the place the bird like just about everybody under 24.

Raggedy said...

Bring in Adriano Calentano or Eyal Golan and that might get my attention. We don't all listen to rock.
Good post.

Anonymous said...

Grand Forks is a geographically isolated small market that has demonstrated an unwillingness to open their wallets and support live music as of late. So, given these circumstances, what are the expectations for a "music scene" in town?

Sadly, I would say the solution is, if you're the type that appreciates arts, entertainment, great independent restaurants, etc...then you need to pull up stakes and move out of G.F. to be happy.

It would take a population base of 100K+ to support a "scene" that people dream about. Grand Forks will never be 100K in any of our lifetimes.

mattfacingsouth said...

You may be right, anon, but I think the whole "maybe you should go elsewhere" solution is part of the problem.

I don't have an answer, either, but it's a chicken-egg paradox with the lack of young artisans (well, young people in general) and lack of entertainment. I'd say one would beget the other, trouble is we're having issues getting either. I seriously think this is a topic that should be of high concern to the city council.

I'm still not sure how it should be presented, though. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Sure, I have thoughts. NONE of them involve the City Council however. ;-)

GrandForksGuy said...

Sadly, I would say the solution is, if you're the type that appreciates arts, entertainment, great independent restaurants, etc...then you need to pull up stakes and move out of G.F. to be happy.

That's a terrible sentiment, really. There is an arts and entertainment scene here (albeit small) and there certainly are a few good independent restaurants. Still, even if GF is lacking in these areas, looking at GF in your rearview mirror is only the easy way out. Those of us who want these types of things should try to bring about this change. In my book, simply leaving for greener pastures is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

anyone looking for a career in music, but also looking to stay in Grand Forks and play shows anytime should just become a country music band that plays rock covers.

seriously, here in Fargo the band Ded Walleye demands so much money to play gigs that they can easily make a living without jobs. one time, they actually sued Minnesota State University Moorhead for payment on a gig that they didn't even play.

play covers, play country, and anything that popular and bares no resemblance to being original.

mattfacingsouth said...

Thanks anon, your advice is well heeded.

In all seriousness, playing covers is a surefire way for any band to make money, gain exposure, etc. everywhere in the country, not just the upper midwest.

There is a place for cover bands, and a place for original bands; it's a horse that's been beat to death in the musician's community.

Anonymous said...

I went to the musician's community last night. It was a week night, nobody was there.

mattfacingsouth said...

Tuesday nights are our night off. ;)

I dunno, I've got four fairly large gigs in the next two weeks; one jazz, three rock. Not a slow month by any means. There's also a local jazz jam session every Thursday night at the Urban.

I've been saying all along the reception for these things could be better, but what is there is appreciated and by no means is everything dead here.

FormerForker said...

I lived in Grand Forks from 1998 to 2001. The music scene at The Ho was nothing short of phenomenal. Great memories. Sounds like things have changed up there. I haven’t been back since the Spring of ’01.

ec99 said...

Iremember when Grigg's Landing used to bring in jazz and blues combos for weekend gigs. Those days are long over.