Ryan Chartrand

I did not go to my first local show until I was a year and a half into living in San Luis Obispo. Coming from Reno, it was hard to understand that anything worthwhile could come from a small town scene.

My mind quickly changed after shows featuring the Attractives, Mariee Sioux (of Brightblack Morning Light), the Louvre, and Midnight Shark Attack among others.

SLO’s scene continuously bubbles with originality and vibrancy, but fails to boil over into the sundry pockets of the town and college. Many local scenesters claim the lack of interest by students as the major reason attendance is so low. In truth, the major problem is awareness.

So, consider this column your invitation. The SLO scene extends beyond what you would even imagine. There are individuals in this town who create works of musical genius in front of only two or three people in their living rooms on hazy Wednesday nights while hunched over samplers.

Some of my most exhilarating musical moments have occurred while crammed inside of an attic with local bands performing to a single dancing mass powered by cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Basically, if you want to catch good local music all you have to do is keep your eyes a little open. Free shows pass through Linnaea’s Caf‚ and Two Dogs’ Caf‚ on a consistent basis. Remove your worries too.

Just because you aren’t paying doesn’t mean these shows aren’t amazing and you won’t find a new favorite band. In fact, they offer college students the cheapest and best dates ever: a relaxing night of coffee and showing your chosen partner that there is something more to you than discussion of last night’s game of beer pong.

Downtown Brewing Co. took over entirely as the business of choice for larger bands with a commitment to represent each part of the local community. Recent shows included a diverse list of bands: Camper Van Beethoven, Talib Kweli, and Tiger Army. The local roster that supports these bands shows the same promise that most of the headliners once showed before they were successful.

The SLO Art Center also has begun to open its doors to small acts wishing to share their music. In fact, the entirety of downtown has made a commitment to making the local scene work by offering large shows where small bands fill out the line-up and open stages for up and comers to share their work.

The goal of this column will be merely to pass the news to you of what is flowing beneath the notice of most people in Cal Poly who are too busy to search shows out because of school. Whether you are looking for the best DJ’ing for a late night out at the clubs or a simple acoustic show, I commit myself entirely to inform you.

I have much regret for missing my first year a half and not being part of a scene where the Strokes slummed it and slept on couches.

I regret not being here when M. Ward came back home for his sold-out show. So, just read a little once a week. Then, you won’t have these regrets.

Show Tip: TV on the Radio will be playing the Soho in Santa Barbara, CA on September 27, 2006. Please bring dancing shoes.

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