I recently took a trip out to Los Angeles for a friend’s wedding. My fiance and I decided to make it a long weekend and spent the rest of the time mostly in West Hollywood with a trip out to Santa Monica Pier (which is a tourist trap) and Venice Beach (which was really cool.)
Anyway, that Saturday (the wedding was on Friday), we decided we were going to hang out on the strip and go see some bands at The Roxy, Whisky A Go-Go or Key Club. All had local bands that were playing, which was fine, since really we just wanted to go in to one the clubs but the cheapest cover was $13.50. Yeah, you read that right.
And that, my friends is why I love Minneapolis. The Hoot: free. Minne-series: free. Anything at The Hexagon: free. Even if it’s not free it’s never expensive to see local music around here. Usually not more than five bucks, I’d say. Plus when was the last time you heard an awesome band from LA? (OK, besides the Silversun Pickups and Sea Wolf.)
Now, I understand that part of what I’m paying for is the mystique of these places. If you’ve read The Dirt about the rise of Motley Crue, it seemed that all they did was hang out at these places and have coke-fueled encounters in the bathrooms with a neverending parade of exotic dancers from about 1980-83, and I understand how that would be attractive to a person who is fascinated by all things seedy (read: me.) But First Ave. is featured very prominently in Purple Rain and local music never costs more than about eight bucks there, even in the mainroom and they could probabaly charge a small fortune for every show and still get it if they wanted. I think people in this city are much more understanding of the fact that the more people that see a band, the better chance they have overall. Not everyone is out to make a buck here, it’s much more communal. I’m grateful for that, and though I was (and still am, a little) conflicted about my L.A. experience, I’m actually glad the Whisky was charging $15 to see three local bands one of which was called, I swear, Demon Semen (the giant Hustler retail store across the street suddenly started to make more sense.) It all made me appreciate what we have here, something I take for granted sometimes. We’re lucky to have a music scene here like this, now go see a show and support it.