by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & The Scene Is Falling! & r & & r & Everywhere I go lately, people -- from artists to columnists at other papers to Johnny Scenester, casually hitting on one sallow-cheeked girl after another -- are grieving the death of the scene.
"There have been so many band breakups," the line generally goes, "and so many people are leaving for Portland and Seattle, there's no one left."
"Worse yet," the opinions continue (some from way over on the coast), "no one's stepping up to fill the gaps." It's an echo chamber out there, and the tone of malaise it carries is making my ears ring.
I don't get why we're placing such inordinate weight on the bands -- the beloved, the long-lived, the middling, even the wack-as-hell -- of the past. Mass breakups seem to hit Spokane at the rate of one per year. (I've been behind this desk two years and I've experienced three scene-Armageddon scares.) This is nothing new.
Bands that leave for the coast inevitably play through here, once every couple of months -- probably about as often as you got out to see them when they were still around.
And really, when bands end, there's a reason for it. Either they broke up because they sucked or because they were good and uncompromising and the members were a bad fit. The loss of bad art is nothing to grieve, and good art reproduces like tapeworms. If the artists involved are committed, a splintered band often leads to two new ones. So what are we complaining about? The momentary lull?
I guess that's a problem, but it's not a bad one. It's a great chance to get back on MySpace, back in basements -- back on the music fan grind -- and find something you didn't know existed.
For artists: This Sunday, from 8-10 pm, local DJ Pat Dundas is celebrating the second anniversary of his KYRS show, Battlestar Eclectica, with a gargantuan four-hour set. I'm spinning in the third hour, showcasing new local artists and new music from old standbys. I have a half-dozen cuts at the moment and an hour to fill, so e-mail me MP3s or MySpace links of your new work & lt;firstname.lastname@example.org & and Pat and I will play your stuff.