Avoiding the musical road to nowhere

Rochester is a Mecca for kids in bands, and this past weekend, I drove down to one of Rochester’s more infamous concert halls at Water Street. The show was a benefit and we paid with cans of food instead of money. How nice.

Once inside though, a dismal realization hit me. At first glance, the venue was completely empty, save a group here or there of children. For a free concert featuring five decent bands, this seemed quite odd. Most of the kids standing around glowed eerily, texting away to some non-existent person.

Once the show started, the crowd grew…static. No one seemed to care much about any of the first three bands, and after the fourth, most of the audience left, leaving the fifth band with only a dozen devoted fans. The depression set in when I realized these young gentlemen, in their little bands, are trying to make it big in a world that frankly does not care about them. I stood by and watched all five of the local bands play, and they played their hearts out, loving what they do. But we all know they’ll never make it big. Around the country, in every city, this same scene happens every night. One must wonder how anyone could ever make any money in the entertainment industry. These bands are talented, some even innovative, and they sound just as professional as bands on TV do.

But the truth is a thousand bands can’t all be famous. If they were, their success would be so limited and quick that no music listener would ever have time to give them a real chance. This would cause the music audience to forget what enjoying music is like. The industry, sadly, is almost there. So many bands almost make it and there is so much music that the audience only has time to listen to one song before they have to check out the next big band.

The charity at Water Street Music Hall was a limited success, but I suppose any charity is a success to some degree. I hope that no band ever gives up their dream, yet the entertainment industry still baffles me.