BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS: A new stage in a new scene

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First Posted: 3/31/2014

In life, we try to build our understanding through different means. The idea of cycles ironically reappears time and time again through concepts like the changing of seasons or the cycle of life. We expect change and growth with returns to familiarity. While this remains true for the most part, it is hard to simplify happenings in those terms. In essence, everything is linear. While we may return to certain places or mindsets, we take journeys to get there and end up differently even if a calendar date or GPS coordinate may be identical.

This thought transcends the idea of human traits and enters into other intangible areas, such as the local music scene. My life of being active in a local music scene has often been focused on periods. My fascination began with my entrance to the scene in the early 2000s when Bobb Mac’s Posi Numbers Festival brought thousands of people and incredible bands to our area. The next period was a phase which included the starting of new bands, a group of new people booking shows, and then the eventual closing of Cafe Metropolis. Then this was shortly followed by the founding of Redwood Art Space and even more bands. And since then that has closed and we are in another “learning period,” if you will.

I would try and convince myself of correlations between those stages of my musical life, believing that, like anything, it waxes and wanes. But what I am just now realizing is that every single one of those periods is drastically different. I have been hoping and waiting for a new all-ages venue to open up and bring with it a new era to continue the cycle of scene prosperity anchored at a local hub like it did for those past three epochs.

Since this new era has begun, a great amount of new bands have been started, an even larger number of kids have been showing up sporadically at shows, and all of this without the help of a venue. It is different than other times, but of course that makes sense. People have moved away and moved here, people have grown and changed, and our scene is different than it ever was before and ever will be again. We cannot wait for the change to come that is expected; rather, we should embrace our situation and move forward with the notion that we are still building a scene and nourishing it regardless of what comes next. We need to not ensure its life, not because of the rewards we think we are going to reap.

Two shows are coming up in this month at two venues with a very diverse crop of bands. On April 7, The Other Side (119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre) will feature Slumberland recording artists Weekend being supported by Cities Aviv, Grey Zine, and Scranton’s newest band, Cave People. Then, at the end of the month, Stick Together will be celebrating the release of the record “No More Second Chances” at the American Legion hall (64 Newport St., Glen Lyon) with Give, No Tolerance, Disengage, World War 4, and 3D.

These are just a small example of the many things continually happening in our area, redefining it and defining a new era.