St. Louis: Here's How to Improve Your Music Scene, According to You

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Sailing Dutchman

When we started the Fill in the Blank interview series back in June of this year, our mission was to track down local creatives and give them a simple platform to speak. We provided open-ended questions, encouraging local musicians to rant or rave on the subject at hand.

RFT Music would start a sentence and task the interviewee to end it. When presenting the phrase "The St. Louis music scene could use..." we received some heavy responses. While few seemed content with the usual goings-on of St. Louis music, many were vocal about certain changes.

After combing through the answers from six months-worth of interviews, five basic notions were agreed upon: Local Support, Unity, Diversity, Effort and Appreciation Read on, because this advice rings true for many bands, venues, booking agents and music fans alike, regardless of genre or personal preference.

Local Support

The Brothers Lazaroff:
The St. Louis music scene could use... "more wide-spread support of original local music. There is a strong strong core of support for local music - between the RFT, KDHX, Arch City Radio Hour, Eleven Magazine, STL Magazine, STL Post and great local blogs like I Went To A Show and Jarred Gastreich's Show Me Shows, there are a lot of great outlets for local bands to spread their music. But until there is more of a "support original local music ethos" in the city and suburbs at large it'll be hard for local bands to maintain momentum and play regularly in St. Louis. Maybe more happy hour and early evening weekday shows would help?

Ultimately, people have to realize that it is worth the energy of getting off the couch for a night and taking in some original music/art. I guess we all fight that inertia though! St. Louis is major music city in respects to our history and talent, but we aren't a music industry town so we have to find a way to create a larger base of concert goers."

Nicholas Horn (guitar) of Brotherfather:
The St. Louis music scene could use... "more fans. I don't really know how to make that happen, though. It seems like the bottom line is that St. Louis is a place that's largely dominated by mass culture, and the majority of people aren't interested in hearing much of anything other than what Clear Channel's offering. Luckily, there is a small community of people in town who are very much interested in fostering creative activity, supporting artists in all kinds of different media, and generally making St. Louis a more vibrant, interesting place."

Langen Neubacher of The Defeated County:
The St. Louis music scene could use... "more folks that aren't directly involved in the business following the local music here. The St. Louis music scene is all love love love between the musicians and venues and artists involved -- it's beautiful, but I genuinely believe we've got some local talent that could compete with the best of national acts. We need more people outside of our circles to hear us."

Lyndsey Rawley (drums) of the Glass Cavalry:
The St. Louis music scene could use... "some more credit! There are tons of bands in the STL music scene that are amazing and people need to realize that and go to see their shows instead of just writing off the local music scene."


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49 comments
Dan Tiefenbrunner
Dan Tiefenbrunner

Here's a suggestion: fire the fucking sound guy at the ready room. every single fucking time i see a concert there the vocals are completely unintelligible.

Riverfront Times
Riverfront Times

These are all really great suggestions, folks! Thanks for being so thoughtful! (Er, most of you.)

Karl Richards
Karl Richards

The number one complaint from people in St. Louis who would like to attend shows but dont, "I would come to the show, but I can't stay out that late on a work night." Maybe get some week night shows that don't end at midnight?

King T-bone Willingham
King T-bone Willingham

I know that The 105.7 The Point and KDHX do local music stuff but it is very limited. I would like to see other formats reach out and mix in local artists with the regular rotation. Yes, in the beginning it would be a slow take off, but eventually things would be booming. It would be a win, win, win...for the station, the scene and the city as a whole. There is soooo much good music out there.

Steve Bruns
Steve Bruns

Well, speaking as someone who goes to at least one concert a month, here are the dots that bands and venues fail to connect: the venue matters, acoustics matter, and audiences matter. Venue: What's truly sad about the passing of the Grammophone (and Plush) was that these were places where the surroundings added to the concert-going experience. Good food, a seat if you want one, interesting surroundings--not just a blank box. Add in some great house music too, while I wait for the show to start, and I'll walk away with a better impression, regardless of the band (think: Duck Room.) Acoustics: Hey venues, design your space for sound. Hey bands, mix your sound for the space. An example of what NOT to do-Kate Nash at the Ready Room. Here's an artist whose lyrical word-play is her main calling card, and you couldn't hear a damn thing she said because of the acoustics of the room and the sound mix. It all came out a garbled mess. And the cranky old man in me insists on adding: match the volume to the space. I've never had a concert ruined by a mix that was too quiet, but there surely have been a few where it was too loud. Audiences: Yeah, it is really hard to drag people off their comfy sofas and pull them away from their internets. Saint Louis is notoriously bad for wanting to stick to the familiar and comfortable. Knowing that, maybe it wouldn't hurt to think about comfort when designing your space. Do you have decent food options? Optional seating? Heat/AC? Bands, maybe throw some "comfort food" our way, and do a cover of something that helps audiences connect to you AND your music (without pandering or being untrue to what you do.)

Ralph Habig
Ralph Habig

Here is one of the biggest problems in St Louis PROMOTION. I rarely hear of bands in this town from anything other than random word of mouth. The bands themselves need to get out there and let themselves be known. Best examplae. I DJ a once a month Metal spin on the first Thursday of every month at The Crack Fox called The Thursday Underground METAL. It has been going on for almost three years now and we get a pretty decent turnout. My issue is Other than Galen McGreehan from Quaere Verum who has actually DJed a gig with us before. Not one band has came in and talked to me and handed me music to listen to and try to get it out there for people to hear. I am more than willing to play music from local bands and I want to see the scene boom again. I just see no one taking personal responsibility for themselves and finding new venues of promotion. If bands want help. They need to seek us out. And by that I mean the people who are willing to help. I mean come on 3 years and 0 people at a bar that everyone in this town confesses to love. Something may be out of whack people lol

Steve Severino
Steve Severino

A better music festival like Lollapalooza or Kanrocksas

Daniel Drake
Daniel Drake

You can't get paid until you've kicked lots of ass But yeah there's plenty of thriving genres that don't intermingle. I wanna see more bills with local hip hop, pop rock, psychobilly grunge stand up comedy etcetera. We aren't that big of a town and there's no reason we don't all know each other by now

David Maness
David Maness

Also. If you're concerned about money then you're in the wrong field of life. I've seen bands pass on great opportunities to get their name out/rock out to people that want to see live music because theyre concerned about getting paid.

David Maness
David Maness

Less drinking and more watching. Even though they often times go hand in hand. Its good and bad but a lot of shows are more social events rather than music loving/watching events. The "dit" scene knows what's up like skeletal lightning fest in champagne Illinois and dither diy the documentary. They've formed a national clique and the support is amazing. Easy to tour and everyone watches every move of any out of town band.

Spencer Phillips
Spencer Phillips

Only click I know is the sound it makes when I plug my god damn guitar in...

Ellen Cook
Ellen Cook

We also need more dancers. I'm sick of seeing people posted at shows with their fucking hands in their pockets.

Ellen Cook
Ellen Cook

And Scott, I've seen more and more press about locals bands. Most of it wasn't folk. I'm not folk.

Ellen Cook
Ellen Cook

Less lists and more genuine reviews.

Scott Haskenhoff
Scott Haskenhoff

For the RFT to stop covering music. They don't know shit about it. Mr. Ben said it best in the article "There's obsession with paying tribute to indigenous folk music from half a century ago, which the RFT oozes orgasmic love for."

Thomas Joseph Leb
Thomas Joseph Leb

Need a public space with music festival infrastructure. CityArchRiver plan is not going to be much of a public benefit, that's a shame. Forest Park is alright, but too far removed and obviously the city can't make sure vehicles are relatively safe during a two day event. Imagine a festival that you go to during the day, then in the evening smaller more intimate acts play at venues all over town. That is how many cities are doing it, like THE FORECASTLE FESTIVAL in Louisville or Telluride Festivals

Jay Ejh
Jay Ejh

A heavy metal weekend festival (outdoor)!!!

Neil Ghanti
Neil Ghanti

More eclectic music festivals that feature local talent. Maybe set up the festival in a popular place like forest park or tower grove park. Lou fest is a waste of a festival in our city because they bring in national acts but none of them are much better, if at all, than what the city has to offer. I think it's cool the city is trying to do create something like lollapalooza is to Chicago because it is better than nothing but instead of trying to model our festival after so many better and long standing ones, lets take a book out if New Orleans page and do something similar to their jazz and heritage festival. Keep the name Lou fest but feature the LOU. 4 stages that could either vary in genre or be genre based stages. Could have a blues/soul stage, a bluegrass/folk stage, a jam/reggae stage, a metal stage, a hip hop stage.. etc. Maybe a national/regional act or 2 for each genre to help with promoting. As long as the core is local talent, it will help get more bands out there and get people hip to what they are all about. It will also give St. Louis something positive to take pride in. Just a thought..

Kody Sullinger
Kody Sullinger

It really needs heart the scene has fell to the way side in the past 5 years... I hate to say it, I played for the past few years in the night clubs and hole in the walls, honestly there were only a handful of bands out of the 100 or so we played with that were really worth a damn and worked hard at the craft. I like metal but seriously there is only so much a city can take....

Bryan Carnes
Bryan Carnes

Van Halen and the red rocker! either together or separately!

RC Hunt
RC Hunt

More Metal \m/ Antagonist \m/ in 2014!!!

Tony Bologna
Tony Bologna

Legitimate tours that stopped here instead of Bret Michaels and Sick Puppies 8 times a year.

Larry Cox
Larry Cox

The St Louis new British arrival Mark Palmer and his new band coming in 2014. And yes it's rockin!

Rip DiGiorno
Rip DiGiorno

This sounds like a lot of whining to me. Maybe we just need some better bands? Of course there aren't enough "fans" when the music is mediocre.

tefpoebookings
tefpoebookings

including the hip hop guys, and other genre's that you're probably not a fan of in the conversation might also help....coughs coughs...coughs ..diversity right?

justinlpoole
justinlpoole

There is only one thing that will improve the Saint Louis Music Scene. More fans. When someone figures that shit out we'll all be fine. We have the venues, we have talented and original bands of every genre of music, we have blogs, photographers, bookers and promoters all trying their fucking asses off to put on entertaining shows. Now where the fuck do we find the fans?

Jeremy_Niemeyer
Jeremy_Niemeyer

I believe when he stated "indigenous folk music from half a century ago" he meant traditional rock and roll.


JosephHess
JosephHess

@tefpoebookingsAre you insinuating that I'm not a fan of hip-hop or that I only cover music that I'm a fan of? Because neither is true. What I cover as a music writer is based on what I feel merits attention, regardless of genre or my personal preference. 

Artists who identify as hip-hop were asked this question and either dodged it or didn't have something positive to say. Granted, I didn't go out and ask every hip-hop artist the same question, but I didn't do the same for folk, funk, punk, rock, metal, blues, jazz or noise communities either. The only favoritism I played here was in the content of the comment. Was the comment insightful, helpful or positive? If so, I included it.

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