Take a long hard look at these next two items……
The Madison Theatre(dead)
East Peoria Legion Hall(dead)
Peoria Pizza Works
The Meeting House(dead)
Johnny’s Coffee House
The Brass Rail
How long did it take for those two things to sink into your mind? They shouldn’t really have taken long as I expect you to forget them about five seconds after you have looked at them. Anywhozzle, the first item is what I suspect to be a future image of myself (even though I’m guessing that pic is straight out of the 70’s) minus the vest and hopefully I grow to be a better looking old man than that schmuck. However, I doubt it. Instead of the vest, I’m sure I’ll be wearing a long forgotten band t-shirt and embarrassing the holy hell out of my kids because I’m accompanying them to the concert that they wanted to attend. I have no doubt in my mind that when I get older I will be the creepy old guy that you avoid at any given concert and I’ve accepted this as my future self.
The second item is a list of some of the venues that have either come and gone or are amazingly still around to provide quality entertainment to the Peoria area masses. Before anyone goes bitching about not seeing a spot on this list that should be there, let me say that these are really just the places that are or were important to me. I know that I could have listed more but for the sake of argument, it’s my fucking list. The importance of this list is to note that there are only three places that are still venues in operation. Even if I would have taken the time to research my history and list every single venue that exists or ever existed I assure you that the open to closed ratio would have been similar.
This brings me to the entire basis of this post. Why, for the sake of Rod Blagojevich’s impenetrable hair, can the Peoria area not support or have more of a music scene??? I’m going to stop you dead in your thoughts here…..Going to SOP’s to see one of eight billion cover bands simply does not count (I’ll get to why later on). Did you know that Peoria is ranked number five in population (http://www.maps-n-stats.com/us_il_population.html) out of all of the cities in Illinois?? Not to mention that we are centrally located between Chicago (population 2,896,016) and St. Louis (population 2,879,934). Even besides the population numbers here, both the Peoria and Bloomington/Normal areas support major colleges on their grounds. Surely not every college student has given up their love for live music because they can just YouTube their favorite band….?
Don’t get me wrong here, in no way am I disrespecting the smaller venues or even house shows for that matter. If it wasn’t for the smaller venues or house shows then I wouldn’t know about some of the bands I still love today. It just seems like every single time a good venue gets established (The Madison Theatre and the East Peoria Legion Hall are two that definitely come to mind) they shut down within a handful of years or even months. I understand that there are scene clashes here, from the underground hipsters to the nu-metal lovers but is it too much to ask to have a place where both larger and smaller acts can play and that place thrives and becomes a staple of the Peoria area? Yes, I also understand that places such as SOP’s have been open for years and are thriving fairly well. This is because those places just feed every patron in the place the same cover band night after night. Preferably, I enjoy hearing original music. Seriously here have you not noticed the ridiculous amounts of cover bands that are either a part of the area or are just rolling through? It’s sickening! For Christ sakes, write some of your own material! I don’t give a shit to hear your rendition of “Free Bird”, “Harder To Breathe”, or any given 80’s era song. Save the covers for your friends and family. Or how about a majority of the bands that do come through? Yes I sure would love to see the same radio friendly, cookie cutter crap time and time again…..Saving Abel, Hinder, and Shinedown are a few that come to mind. So, much love goes out to the following active/inactive acts of the area who have made or have tried to make the Peoria scene a better one by doing their own thing even if they weren’t from Peoria: Sinckwhole, The Serpent Son, The So Long Showdown, Target the Messenger, Sprung, Tina Sparkle, High Tide in Tucson, Scout’s Honor, The Amazing Kill-O-Watts, Ham, The Forecast, Devil’s Pie, Black Teeth, Single File Suicide, The Latex Nuns, Two Girls, The Aposematics, 13 Days, Calico System, Cloud Burial, ForkKnifeSpoon, Minsk, Taxi War Dance, Geisert 8 Band, Greyson, Angel Tread, Metal Warriors, Burning Love Letters, Jared Grabb, and Lucigen. I know I am for sure missing some that I wanted to mention. If I missed you, I’m sorry…….
If you have some knowledge or insight about our local scene that I am unaware of by all means share it with me. I am fully prepared to support any and all ideas that come my way within my means. Maybe I am just too much of a family man now to have noticed the things that are actually taking place in our area or maybe I’m just trying to relive my youth……….