Music is a big part of our whole life, even when we don’t always know it. Whether the radio is on while you are getting ready for work in the morning, or the movie moment bothers you so much because of the movie score.
More often than not, it’s available for a moment’s emphasis on time. This is a rare behavior when one is experiencing purposeful music. Just ask someone to remember their favorite concert and their eyes will light up with memories. Hear the excitement of people talking about their next action when they come to Devon, or talking to the Lincoln Theater about renovations.
These are the places where music literally and figuratively takes center stage.
One could argue that we have a lot of music venues around Decatur, featuring various cover bands and DJs that you see fill the bars around town on Friday or Saturday nights.
Usually when you go to see a band at the bar, there are other items that grab your attention. Maybe there’s a sport on TV, or a friend wants to talk and hold on to some wings and beers. Maybe the slots are calling your name.
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I agree that these local establishments have their own significance, but a little different about the original “music venue”. A place where bands do not compete with ESPN on TV or pages buried in poker machines. There is no dance music in the joke box.
These are the people. Tools. Telling stories through songs. Art. Passion. Connection. In this way.
On April 1, I had my first performance in the loft, which is the third floor of the Decatur Field Arts Council that has been rebuilt into a music venue. Seeing something like this in the city of Decatur was a breath of fresh air. Three main bands, the shirts printed on the screen, John Griffin depicting interesting works while filling the music room. At the same time, the local art walls of local high schools and middle schools have been lined up. It was like being covered in creativity.
I have run the first gig rock camp for kids in Decatur for the past eight years. I have friends who have taken their music education style one step further with Melkin Rock University.
If our goal is to train the next generation of music artists, they will need a “home base”. Where they can trade shows with bands out of town, build these relationships, and give their dreams an honest shot of becoming a reality.
A few places like Donnie Hompson, Golden Fox, and (now) Loft have their weight in gold when it comes to local artists who are capable of expressing themselves. These are fairly small spaces where you might encounter a high and mighty artist preparing to take the world by storm. And the reason you found it is because someone got the chance to host original music in their place.
Important props to all involved in the success of the first exhibition in the loft. And good luck to anyone who tries to bring different original actions to the dictator. I can’t wait to see what you all do.
McKinnon is the camp coordinator for the first gig dictator and Harlem Hayfield’s lead singer.