Further thoughts on douchebags

There are music fans in Sacramento, to be sure—people who go out on the town to see live music two or three nights a week, people who make lists of which shows to see on a given weekend and clearly go out of their way to get there. Then there is the rest of Sacramento County, a population totaling roughly 1.3 million. How many of that 1.3 million regularly see live music? A few thousand? What minuscule decimal-point percentage of the whole does that come out to?

The strangest facet of the live-music scene for me is the percentage of bands whose members can’t really be qualified as live-music fans, at least in terms of going out to see live music on any kind of regular basis. Anyone who has ever played live has shared bills with bands fitting this description. You’re onstage setting up, and the band (let’s call it the Douchebags) that is playing next or that just played is nowhere to be seen. The Douchebags are outside smoking, or else they’re at the bar with their friends slapping back bottles of Bud Light. You play, you rock, and then at the end of the night when the night’s meager earnings are divided up, the Douchebags say something like, “Hey, that was a great set, man.” You nod and tell them something similar, biting your tongue.

Last weekend, I saw a great many Midtown musicians out on the town, among them Dave Middleton and Julie Meyers, Kevin and Allyson Seconds, James Finch Jr., Amber Padgett and Sam Coe, Jay Shaner and Katrina Skalland. That’s a nice representation of the Midtown music scene, but there are so many more names that are not on this list, musicians who aren’t really out seeing shows.

This is a central problem of the local scene and one of its great ironies: Bands complain about lackluster audiences, but they often don’t seem interested in seeing music other than their own. Furthermore, the scene itself is insular to the point of being incestuous. Midtowners see shows in Midtown and hence see the same bands in varying rotations.

Let me tell you, there are many different music scenes in Sacramento. Even in the relatively small confines of rock music, there is a huge scene in younger, teenage bands on the outskirts of Sacramento—a place Midtowners rarely, if ever, explore. The 21-and-over age limit blocks teens from many Midtown venues, so at least they have an excuse. What’s yours?

This scene is dependent on you to make it happen. And that means going out to see live music as often as possible. Pay the cover charge, listen to the music, have a good time, rinse, repeat. This is true for you, dear reader, but it is particularly true if you are a musician in Sacramento. If you go out to see live music on a regular basis, then you can call yourself a live-music fan. Pat yourself on the back and tell someone to kiss you while wearing a “Hello My Name is Christian” nametag. If you don’t see live music, and you’re a musician, then you’re not really a music fan. You’re a douchebag.