Lauren Rabaino

The Central Coast Musician’s Exchange said “cheers” to the launch of its all new Web site that will provide a resource for local bands to network, book gigs and advertise.

The festivities were alive with local music at Downtown Brew in San Luis Obispo, featuring acts from Criticnue, Tropo and Axia, on Aug 19.

Website administrator Leanne Phillips exuded an air of excitement as she spoke of the project. The site has been a dream in the making spanning the last few years and will provide a unique outlet for area musicians to showcase their styles and come together to support each other.

“It’s mainly a networking tool for area musicians so they can come together, buy and sell gear, (post) classified ads and help each other find gigs,” Phillips said. “They can put up band pages – some already have – but we really want to make sure it’s not just another MySpace page or Facebook page. We want them to use it in a more professional way, like resumes, to help them actually book gigs.”

Phillips said the classified ads section of the site will be more personal than sites like, because they will weed out spam and keep things local.

The site is free to musicians and, according to Phillips, has already generated a large amount of community support.

“It’s been a lot of work, and sometimes I thought it was never going to happen,” Phillips said with a relieved smile.

Chad Land, lead singer of Axia, has known Phillips for several years and claims to be “stoked” to be a part of the site that she has put together. His roots are deep in the local music community, and describes Axia’s sound as “hard rock.”

“It’s doing something for the community in general, letting them see everybody that’s out there that you might not hear about on your own,” Land said.

Land said that if the site is pushed right, it could become a great marketing tool for local musicians.

At the launch, Axia kicked off the night of music with some head-bopping tunes that enticed the ever-growing audience immediately. Cal Poly art and design senior Jack Knoebber was in attendance and, although not previously aware of the site, now has an appreciation for what it is trying to accomplish.

“I thought this was a good way to get the word out about the new Music Exchange Web site that they were starting,” he said. “I had no idea what it was, but went to the show to hear some tunes and ended up learning what the whole deal was about. I think the variety of music helped a lot in getting a bigger crowd and it was a good venue.”

The night rocked on from Axia’s performance into a mesmerizing, eclectic experience brought to the crowd by Tropo, whose self-described “from trance to dance” music made for a nice transition into a calmer mode after Axia’s hard rock vibe.

Trevor Mahin and Grant Leonard from the band were excited to be playing at Downtown Brew and supporting the cause of the site.

“The Central Coast Music Exchange has been a growing thing and it’s going to be a most wonderful thing as we keep it going,” Mahin said.

“It’s a great idea, I really appreciate Leanne’s work,” Leonard added.

“It should expand everything that we’re trying to do here, putting everyone together in one group, trying to give the Central Coast more exposure,” Mahin said.

An appearance from the Central Coast Roller Derby women made the night even more exciting as the music reached a close with a stellar performance by Criticnue.

“We’ve all been supporters of Leanne for a really long time. It’s one really, really big family, trying to make something happen that’s overall going to be a beautiful thing,” Mahin said.

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