Monday, June 01, 2009

It List: Monday

Not a lot going on this evening, as is typical for Monday nights, but this week looks very strong overall for shows, so cool your jets, man, and check this out:

Sarah Jaffe (Pearl Cup): I heard about this show a few minutes ago over on the Dallas Observer's local music blog, and I just have a couple questions about this $22 performance at a coffee shop:

1. You read that sentence up there, didn't you? I said this show is $22. You know how much the cover is for Bonnie Prince Billy at the Granada on Saturday? $20. That's two bucks less than it costs to see Sarah Jaffe play acoustic at a coffee shop, apparently. My intention here isn't to insult Jaffe, but rather to suggest that charging a cover like that to see a local singer songwriter at a coffee shop in this economy almost borders on insulting in some way, doesn't it? I know we discuss shows with expensive covers in a positive light all the time around here, and I guess if people are willing to pay that much to see Jaffe, then more power to her. I'm sure she'll do quite well tonight, and I don't fault her for it (she obviously didn't set the ticket price), because those who seek to become professional musicians these days probably have to take what they can get, when they can get it, if they're willing and able. Still, something just seems off about this, as I would imagine that such an expensive cover would serve as an almost insurmountable barrier for many of the fans that made Jaffe the local favorite she has become today-- namely, college students in Denton who probably can't afford a cover like this. I'll end this little rant now just by saying "damn, that sure seems like a lot of money," and hope that Jaffe plays a cheaper show around here soon for her fans who can't afford to spend quite that much on a show.

2. I also noticed in the Observer post a comment from author Daniel Rodrigue regarding the "Dallas audience" that bothered him so much with their drinking and socializing in the back at one of Jaffe's performances at Rubber Gloves a few months ago, because it just HAD to be Dallas people ruining the otherwise polite Denton performance, right? I know the old local legend is that Dallas audiences talk during sets and don't give a shit about the music and are there to be seen rather than to see anything, and I would say that this is true to some extent. I've experienced it countless times. But you know where I've also experienced it countless times? New York. Chicago. San Francisco. Portland. Los Angeles. London. Austin. Oh, and Denton too. Basically, I've seen this happen everywhere I've ever been, period. This comment makes me wonder whether or not Mr. Rodrigue has ever actually seen a show somewhere outside of the metroplex, or if he's ever even been to other shows in Denton, because unless I'm crazy, I see just as many hipster/scenesters talking and carrying on and tweeting and taking party pics in Denton as I do in Dallas, and a lot of times, I feel like I see even more of them, even if I, unlike Mr. Rodrigue, lack the amazing power of being able to tell which Texas city someone is from based on what they're doing while hanging out at Rubber Gloves. Again, this is not a knock on Denton, which is a city that I have consistently argued is better than anywhere else in Texas for music. It's just an acknowledgement that this kind of thing happens everywhere, and when you're in a place like Rubber Gloves, its pretty hard to expect people to behave like they're at a funeral simply because a performer you happen to love happens to be playing a quiet set. I'm not encouraging rude behavior here, either, but rather attempting to point out that this kind of silly Dallas vs. Denton stereotype debate has caused so many problems for our music scene over the years that it's just become completely boring. Although I could probably write a fucking treatise at this point as to why the music scene sucks in Dallas, I think furthering the Dallas/Denton divide with baseless and silly claims like does absolutely no good these days, in addition to the fact that it really doesn't make a lot of sense. Over the past three years, I've seen the Dallas and Denton music scenes begin to overlap to a much greater extent than they did just a few years ago, and this is obviously a good thing for both cities. In other words, I think this debate has died down considerably. And to borrow a bit from the political rhetoric of our current president, I think the local music scene is moving beyond these simplistic divisions just a little bit, and it seems to be a positive development.

As a side note, the only Dallas stereotype I enjoy is the one where Austinites think we're a bunch of crude, meat eating, violent jerks who fuck up their city at SXSW. Damn right we are.

Cool Out (The Cavern)


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