Thank you, Triad music makers
By: Katei Cranford
‘Tis the season, so they say. Though Thursday marks the floodgate for the official holidays, it’s important to remember that before all the fa-la-la, comes a time of thanks.
Genocide and gluttony aside, making time to make merry and share gratitude is worth celebrating. In that regard, for this Thanksgiving, I’d like to express that for which to be thankful in the Triad music scene.
It’s been a hard couple weeks for venues around the Southeast with announcements that stalwart clubs like Richmond’s Strange Matter and Deep South in Raleigh will be closed by 2019.
In the Triad, 2018 will bid adieu to the venerable Somewhere Else Tavern. Gratitude goes deep for Burley Hayes, who helped cultivate the immense talent that now weaves through our music community.
Decades before Green Street came and went as a show space, Somewhere Else has booked bands and hosted all-ages shows. If you came up in the Greensboro Gen-X or Millennial music crowd, you did so going to “the Tavern.”
Artists and musicians need places to grow. Those who make the Triad scene great cut their teeth gigging shows and lugging amps up those wooden stairs. Greensboro wouldn’t have the quality talent we do now without the Tavern. And for that, I give the highest thanks, wrapped in a tearful farewell, to that weird little Quaker Village tinderbox.
Thank you, papa Hayes for giving it the best go anyone could.
Looking ahead, a round of thanks goes to those doing shows in newer spaces. As Eric Mann (from Basement Life) said, “I’m thankful for local bands and other supporters continuing to put on shows even with the void of a dependable midsize music venue.”
What Greensboro lacks in traditional venues, it bolsters in making shows work in unexpected places. Thanks to those making it work wherever they can: from the nomadic electronic party people in Dance from Above and Strictly Social, to college kids carrying on the ‘ol house show tradition around UNCG.
“Folks in Greensboro still put on music events where they can, and local bands and the community are better for it,” Mann noted.
“House shows are some of the most fun I’ve had in the Triad,” said Liliana Teta, social media director for WUAG. “Life, music, radio, arts and creativity are all things that shape Greensboro and reflect all the types of people living here. I love it,” she added.
Fellow radio personality, Chris Roulhac from WQFS, is “grateful for the high concentration of talented musicians we have in this area and the supportive environment they’ve created.”
When the tornado damaged drummer Chuck Cotton’s home, the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society and blues folks like Roulhac banded together for benefits. Following a tragedy, New York Pizza hardcore kids honored their friend and his family with Joey Fest at the Blind Tiger. When Old Heavy Hander, Nate Hall, was dealt a bad hand of health, his crowd of emo-turned-rustlers came together for a fundraising show at Joymongers just last week.
Those examples are but few of the many times the Triad music community provided support to those in need.
“There’s a nice sense of community between musicians like we’re on the same team,” said songbird and open-mic maestro, Matty Sheets. “I’m thankful to be mostly inspired by people playing music here, and writing songs here.”
Sheets’ dedication deserves its own round of thanks. If the Triad is a music team, his Westerwood Tuesday night open-mic, now in its 17th year, serves as a place for practice.
For Randy Seals, head of On Pop of the World Collective, “the networks of support music communities create are worth more than money,” he said. “I’m grateful for all the musicians and music-lovers.”
“Musicians and show-goers are the best people to fill a room,” said Rosie Fernandez, who books at Boxcar. “Greensboro has an amazing pool of musicians, and I feel grateful that I’ve had the chance to know so many personally and appreciate their art,” she added.
That network goes beyond Greensboro, with thanks extended to weirdos making their way in Winston-Salem.
“We’re fortunate to have such a vibrant community that is not only charming but so full of love and energy,” said Laurie Ruroden, manager and talent maven at Monstercade.
“At the end of the day, I’m most thankful to be a part of this scene,” Ruroden said.
Indeed. As we take this holiday to reflect on that which we give thanks, I extend my warmest gratitude to our weird little Triad music world. And especially to you, dear readers. Happy Thanksgiving.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who warns you not to trust the Pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller; and hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands playing NC the following week, 5-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.