Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Scene is Dead

Black Cards at Club Hell, Providence RI, October 15, 2010

It died last summer and I knew it. I've been watching it die, watching crowds get smaller, waiting for something to rise from the ashes. I thought maybe last night it would, maybe last night would start the rise of something new. It didn't.

The crowd didn't even fill Club Hell and that's saying something. We wound up against the front railing without any struggle. There was a swarm of fans behind us, and I heard one of them talking about being a "crew." I wondered if maybe they were OCC (the Original Cobra Crew, from so long ago), so I turned and asked what she meant. She seemed a little embarrassed by it at first, and replied that they were "part of Icecreamhdaches, it's this thing on livejournal."

IceCreamHdaches (their username is actually missing the letters, it's not a typo) was what introduced me to really being a fan of a band. Back in 2007, when I was just starting to break into the scene and the bands held within, I checked ICH everyday. They knew what was going on with FOB within seconds of something happening, they were faster than FOBR, and I had never realized that there was this intense group of fans both online and at shows. I didn't even know that a "scene" existed before them. I mentioned to the girl last night a little of this, that I had been an almost constant lurker, but that I had never posted myself. She was excited, however, and they gave me an ICH pin with the motto "we stalk so you don't have to."

I found out about the scene through ICH. I finally met them at a show. Maybe that really does mean it's the end. It'd certainly be a poetic bookend.

Hey Champ
opened the show and they were bouncy but their drums were too loud and I couldn't hear the vocals. This seems to be a constant problem at Club Hell. They were fun and I danced a little, but the crowd was dead. They were barely moving and there was always this half second pause of silence between the song ending and the clapping starting, awkward enough that the singer commented on it and no one laughed.

Black Cards. I wanted this music in a tiny club, but I wanted it polished and clean to a crowd of club dancers, not to the scene's leftovers. I'll admit to being one of that crowd, but the constant cameras flashing at Pete, the lack of dancing, the horrible sound through the speakers... it just wasn't there. The beat was going, and on the familiar songs people were singing along and moving, but it wasn't quite right. I think these songs were designed for 20 somethings, I think that's where this band should have been, but all they got were teenagers looking for the last lost bits of Fall Out Boy.

I swear it wasn't all bad. Bebe looked nervous at first, and it sounded as if they were tweaking her voice on one of the early songs to make it sound "old-timey" but she soon loosened up and started performing instead of just singing. She's gorgeous and has a pretty cool stage presence once she's going, but it was Pete everyone was really watching, which must suck a little for Bebe. She talked to the crowd a tiny bit, but Pete did most of it. And, as is only fitting of the nominal leader of that crowd, everyone shut up as soon as he did. He was speaking softly into the mic and I've never, ever heard a club that quiet to cling onto his every word. I had a thought, at the first FOB show I saw, that the moving mass of kids, at the time in the thousands, would do whatever that man said. I still believe that crowd last night would have. The charismatic leader of a scene that's no longer around.

The ICH crowd had been to the show the night before, and was planning on going to the show tonight, so they played an extra song out of appreciation. They hung out after, signed autographs and took pictures. I recognized a few of the guys surrounding the band, probably mangers or security, from other bands and other shows, and it was just a little odd.

The night ended with burgers and coffee with concert buddies at a roaming diner in Providence, and it was a delicious, but the drive home gave me a little too much time to think. I'm quickly becoming one of the oldest people at these shows and I'm feeling more and more like a teenager when I go to them. The crowds are getting smaller, but they're not getting older. Scene kids are still 13-18, and it seems that once they hit adulthood they just leave. But shows with people my own age are often indie shows, hipster filled crowds, and I don't feel right their either. I've been waiting for a new scene to arise and it hasn't yet, and I'm losing faith that it's coming.

The scene is dead. Long live the scene.

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