Hearsay: Wednesday, December 12, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Attendance Low?Book a Big Show

So the local music scene seems to be in a lull ó people just arenít going to local clubs to see local bands in big numbers these days. A possible cure: big shows by national-level acts.

Over the next few weeks, youíll be seeing some major performers at the Big Three: the Aardvark, the Ridglea Theater, and the Wreck Room. Monte Montgomery and the Derek Trucks Band (think: Allman Brothers) will hit the Aardvark, while Bowling for Soup and Pimpadelic will play the Ridglea, and the Burden Brothers and the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash will be at the Wreck.

Now, HearSay isnít one to tell folks how to run their businesses, but your columnist will get up on a soapbox and say that Big Three club owners need to figure out a way to work local bands into the mix. Huge mid-level acts, no matter how talented, canít draw on their names alone ó weíve all seen a million decent touring acts come through town and play to very few people. Regular live-music fans are attracted primarily to well-known local bands; and if the touring act that hits the stage after the local band departs is decent, then these fans will hang around. (Plus, any local outfitís resumť could use the punch that opening for a marquee act brings).

No one can fault these club owners for trying something different, but we should all be leery of depending on heavy and expensive national-level talent to support local business endeavors. Say a club owner gives the cold shoulder to a few good local bands to make room for some medium-to-huge national acts. Whoís this club owner then going to turn to when he realizes that booking national acts might not be able to solve the low-attendance problem? Those local bands he screwed over? We doubt it. He might as well install a couple of basketball hoops and a few big-screen tvís in his club and turn his venue into a sports bar.

Black Dog ín Bertha

Wow, there were people at the Black Dog Tavern Sunday who actually seemed to be paying attention to the jazz, though HearSay wasnít sure if these folks had ever attended a jazz performance before, what with the way they were just sitting on their hands after each solo. (FYI: Unlike at a musical or an opera, when youíre supposed to reserve your applause for the ends of acts, itís OK at a jazz gig to clap after a player cuts loose on his instrument.) The cause for the commotion was the return of the original Bertha Coolidge. Again. Though their drummer lives in Illinois, Bertha seems to pull off more Fort Worth gigs than a shitload of local rock bands with members who all share the same zip code. The aforementioned drummer, Rick Stitzel, is truly a monster ó in one solo he managed to quote a handful of classic percussionists, from Max Roach and his slow, stuttering big beats to Art Blakey and his quirky fastidiousness. Of course, the rest of the band was also hot, but that goes without saying. It was hard to take your eyes away from the fleet handiwork on display. Apparently, it was also hard to applaud.

You can reach HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.

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