clo at nc.rr.com
clo at nc.rr.com
Sun Mar 6 16:22:46 EST 2005
I moved here in '98, so I don't claim to know whether the scene is
better or worse than it was in what many locals refer to as it's heyday
(some time in the mid '90s I guess). I will tell you that many of
the common generalizations you'll hear about the music community in
Chapel Hill/Carrboro are by my estimation more the product of certain
people's social anxieties than any actual, valid observations of
individual or collective behavior at bars and at rock shows. For
instance : just yesterday at work I overheard some folks dragging out
that tired old Chapel Hill stereotype - the "hipster" who is too cool
to dance at shows and stands there with his hands in his pockets. I
don't know how many times I've heard this complaint, too many. It's
one that mas made some traction even outside of town. I guess the
idea is that people at indie rock shows (which is in itself so broad a
classification that it's essentially meaningless) are so self-concious
that they're afraid to indicate whether they like the music or not, by
dancing and such, for fear of being out of step with the herd or
appearing uncooly enthusiastic in some way. This is complete
bullshit. I don't dance at most shows I attend, I usually prefer to
snag a seat or a good spot against the wall and drink a lot of beer.
I don't think I'm alone in this. I don't think it's a crime. When I
was younger and went to more punk rock shows I certainly jumped around
and slam danced or whatever you want to call it and I'm sure people
still do at those kinds of shows but is that kind of energy expected
from me at all rock shows, all the time? Some bands strive to make
the underground rock show more of a give and take and think if the
crowd isn't going completely bannanas something is out of whack, but
I've got to admit that for the most part I go to rock shows for a
passive experience on my part, and not all but some of those bands are
simply trying too hard to get their egoes stroked by the crowd anyway.
Looking out off the stage to a mellow crowd just doesn't do it for
them I guess. When I hear someone in a band say "hey, move up to the
front, c'mon, lets get into it" or whatever it's a big turnoff for me
personally; not damning but definately annoying. I just want to see
some bands play, hang out with my friends, and get maybe get loaded.
I don't expect to be judged on how much I appear to get into the music,
no one should. If I'm particularly moved or in a certain mood, yeah,
I might get up and dance or whatever. But this idea that Chapel Hill
is so up it's own ass that it can't express itself is plain stupid.
Let's put it to rest. And for that matter let's stop perpetuating the
myth that the music scene is so exclusive. There is no secret
handshake, you don't have to know every bit of local music folklore
minutia to fit in, and from what I've seen since I moved here, people
are for the most part pretty darned friendly. No place is perfect,
but not many cities in this country have music scenes that are as open,
inclusive, supportive, and non-competitive. Believe me, travel
around a bit and you'll find that some music scenes can be pretty
cutthroat and even downright nasty. We've got it good.
I applaud your efforts to analyze and document the story of the
Chapel Hill/Carrboro/Triangle music scene for the academic world.
Best of luck with it. I believe it is a worthy endeavor. Make sure
you make note of these things in your thesis so our rock-music-playing,
rock-show-attending grandkids might not be subjected to this brand of
weird, self-defeating reverse-snobism! It's only rockandroll, but
darn it, I like it.
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