Hearsay: Wednesday, January 23, 2003
Long Haul

HearSay doesn’t really believe that people’s attentions spans have shrunk to microscopic proportions. Jonathan Franzen’s 600-page tome, The Corrections, was a New York Times bestseller two years ago (a fact that, HearSay knows, doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody who bought the book read it, only that a lot of people were at least interested in taking a crack at it). Plus, look at how many people have been sitting through The Two Towers and Gangs of New York, both three-hour epics. Long-term commitments, it seems, are what we art appreciators have been craving.

This all brings HearSay to a few words of advice to local rockers from HearSay’s buddy and fellow scribe Proley: Write and/or learn more songs to be able to play sets longer than 35 minutes. To hear Proley tell it, short sets are chiefly responsible for The Scene’s dismal condition (see related story, “What’s Going On?” by Ken Shimamoto, Jan. 2, 2003). If bands played longer, per Proley’s logic, then fans would not only hang around longer but the uninitiated would also get a better grasp of what’s being played. The end result would be fewer bands on bills — an idea with “heresy” written all over it, because every good club owner knows that the more people you get to play the more people you’ll have through the doors. But — and here’s a big “but” — we should still give a listen to what Proley has to say. He (almost) makes sense.

The part about fewer bands on bills is bad: There are too many quality acts around that have to annoy the hell out of club owners to get gigs. These bands need all the time and space that can be afforded them by the Big Three (the Wreck Room, Aardvark, and Ridglea Theater). The point Proley makes that’s worth talking about concerns lengths of sets: 35 to 45 minutes is really too short for a band to establish a mood. Now, HearSay’s not saying that 45 minutes is too long — it’s actually the perfect length for a set — it’s just that maybe two 45-minute sets would be better. Major acts can do it, so who’s to say our more talented local rockers can’t pull off same? And who’s to say music lovers don’t want long-term commitments?

Hottest Band in Town

Move over John Price, Flickerstick, Sub Oslo: Cowtown is home to a hot new band whose prodigious live output makes the gigging frequencies of all other bands seem, well, weeny-ish by comparison. The name of this smokin’ new group is TBA, and it’s got a slew of dates all over town, especially at the Black Dog Tavern. (TBA played the Black Dog Jan. 17 and 20 and plays there Jan. 24.) Now HearSay hasn’t heard this outfit yet, but your columnist shivers with anticipation at the thought of eventually experiencing what is surely a one-of-a-kind musical trip. TBA’s been around for a while, and, with the way things are going in The Scene nowadays, they’ll likely be blowing up over the next few months.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.

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