Just like any environment, the music scene is a delicate ecosystem that requires many factions of workers to do their part. It takes large groups of people to make music, showcase it live, and digest it. There are those who buy the records and enable bands to be heard as well as create new music, there are those who attend shows and make it possible for bands to travel, and there are those who analyze and understand music to search for other meanings. All of these people and acts are equally essential, and all are easily appreciable and tangible.
To most people, the idea of performing these tasks seems overwhelming, but somehow in our own backyards and across the entire world, creativity within underground music strives from the minds of teenagers to adults acting within their own means. Whether it be photocopying record covers to having a band play in your garage, people have been proving the possibility of punk and hardcore without any sort of business sensibility. One of the most amazing qualities that Northeast Pennsylvania’s music scene possesses is its age limits, or rather, the lack thereof.
There has been shows happening in our area for decades now, and these things have been happening thanks to teens and 20-somethings. While many people (including myself) have tried to historically track the area’s musical endeavors within punk and hardcore, it seems that all we need to do to understand it is to look at the way things are today.
There are bands from all over the area playing a great variety of genres and sounds but are all playing the same places and working with the same people. There is no proper formula or plan, but somehow this has consistently created and honed an extremely important music scene. We are not New York or Boston or LA. We are only a fraction of the size of what they are, yet somehow when modern hardcore is discussed, it seems that this area is rarely left out of conversation.
People often ask what it is that makes our area special, and the only think I can refer to is to return to the ecosystem. There are other great towns with great bands, but if you don’t have those who care enough to book bands, or write about bands, or write music, or simply just talk about music, then there is nowhere for your scene to grow. There are always ways that the scene can improve, but the fact that we have people that perform so many important functions has enabled us to have great shows with great bands.
Some great shows that are just around the corner are: Feb. 13 at West Side Park in Nanticoke with Turnstile, Diamond Youth, Angel Du$t, Blind Justice, Shorthand, and Noise Pet; Feb. 15 at The Other Side (Bart & Urby’s, 119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre) with Haze, Grey Zine, and Killjoy; and Feb. 24 at West Side Park with Backtrack, Xibalba, Downpresser, Not Til Death, and Haze.