A REJOINDER ON GREENVILLE (December 3, 2012):
The article that follows is something I wrote following a very discouraging evening where I was led to believe a show was happening, and it did not. Since that time, we have seen a revitalization of the music scene here. For three years running, Greenville has hosted SPAZZ FEST, a festival designed to promote the music scene, raise money for local benefits, and capture artists returning back from Austin and the SXSW festival. Over the last three years, Greenville venues have hosted the likes of Future Islands, Lonnie Walker, The Love Language, Thank You, Elf Power, Pale Face, Kimya Dawson, David Dondero, BRAINSTORM, Dinosaur Feathers, Shark?, Case Conrad, The Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The Red River, Jane Jane Pollock, The Itchy Hearts, Railbird, Royal Baths, Rex Complex, Ceschi, Cassis Orange, and so many others that I am at a loss to name, but you get it. Plus, we’ve been lucky to have some really great performers in the area: The Charming Youngsters, Those Meddlin’ Kids, Rebekah Todd, Arielle Bryant, High-n-Risin’, The Old Grey Suits, and Matt Phillips among others. We also have a series of uptown events that pay musical performers to play, and these include the Wednesday Umbrella Market, Pirate Fest, and Freeboot Fridays (which occur before every ECU home football game).
So, give us a try! We have places to play (The Tipsy Teapot, LIVE Bar, Christy’s Euro Pub, and several smaller clubs), and new venues (Peasants Pub) opening. We’re happy to help. Just let us know how via email (info <at> thedadada.com>.
The words that follow are those of someone who was pretty down about things three years ago…
I live in Greenville, NC, a city bereft of indie music and some would say music in general. Greenville is also the city where East Carolina University (ECU) is housed. ECU is a growing university that is changing rapidly from regional teaching to research intensive university with a strong commitment to the residents of eastern North Carolina. The university is working to improve it’s standing within the southeastern region of the United States, and has made steady progress over time. Greenville is following suit with a movement to revitalize the uptown area and make it more of a location for all residents to converge and enjoy, by breaking free of catering solely to college students. This process is not easy, and it’s reflected in the culture and businesses within town.
There are no real music venues in town. Many of the bars are swill holes that promote binge drinking, and often serve as hookup joints. Every place has these bars, but it appears that Greenville has cornered the market on these types of establishments. G-Vegas Magazine, a local rag that celebrates the ECU/Greenville party culture doesn’t help the situation much either. They promote what a friend of mine describes as the booty club and binge drinking scene that pervades Greenville. As near as I can tell, that is as accurate as a gross generalization can be. However, Greenville has its moments.
For awhile, Greenville had an underground music scene sponsored by the Spazzatorium. From what I can gather, the Spazzatorium was an art gallery that served as a venue for a series of indie music shows. There was also a Spazz Haus and other venues that hosted Spazz sponsored events. As a new resident of Greenville, I was excited by this prospect. My first Spazz show was in March this year, and it featured Ed Schrader (intriguing psychotic lyricist with drum), Besnyo (an indie rock group from Buffalo), The Mathematicians (out of central NY), and Future Islands (Baltimore). I watched the first three acts before I went “old man with kids” and went home. I was completely blown away and wish I saw Future Islands, as I’ve heard many good things about them.
Last night I had a chance to redeem myself. Future Islands was supposed to be in town with a couple of other acts. However, if they showed up, I have no idea where they played. Several others experienced the same predicament. I wasn’t surprised.
The promoter who worked to form the Spazz series left town in July. He left a long note that reported the remaining shows for the summer, and also intimated to folks that Greenville was a hard place to promote and book acts. He is right on both counts. From what I understand, there were other issues too, but this guy basically ran into a wall. That’s too bad, and I hope that I am one in a group of folks who can help reverse this trend.
At the March show, I had the opportunity to speak with members of Future Islands and the Mathematicians. A quick aside, if you ever have a chance to see the Mathematicians live, do it! They are great, and you will shake your ass all night. Anyway, the two bands both felt that Greenville was a great place to play and reported having a lot of fun here. Benyo has a post on their MySpace blog that reads, “Why Greenville, NC is the best place to play a show.” They don’t elaborate more than saying you had to be there. I don’t know if it is the best place to play a show, but that night the crowd really loved it, and I came away from it with a lot of positive feelings about the Spazz series.
Since that time, it’s been slim pickings. Hopefully, that trend will reverse itself. Raleigh and Durham are too far away for taking in shows on a weekly basis. Plus, Greenville makes sense as a stop for those traveling through North Carolina. Nearly 28,000 students go to ECU, and I am guessing that the Spazz was a little too underground. There are other shows slated for the future, and folks independent of the Spazz have successfully booked acts for the fall. One venue is the Tipsy Teapot, who have also worked with the Spazz on hosting shows. We’ll see what happens.
If you’re planning to come through NC and have a gap in dates, give me a holler via e-mail (thedadadablog gmail.com>. I am happy to help in anyway I can for selfish reasons. Hopefully, the scene will improve.