Location, Location, Margarine!

Are you guys excited for the Islands concert? I know this guy is (I was pointing to myself while typing if you couldn’t see that). I was just at the IMC (the Independent Media Center, where Islands is performing tomorrow), not to be confused with the IMC (Illini Media Company), this past Saturday. On a whim, mixed with some peer persuasion, I checked out a Chicago band, Lovers in Arm. A tremendous lead singer made it worth tolerating bongos and Carlos Santana-like guitar solos. The band seemed better fitted for an outdoor beer garden with dancing and drinking going on around the smooth sounds, rather than the strange, warehouse-like venue that has also hosted Beirut, Hawk and a Handsaw and, very recently, Kimya Dawson.
But as they say, location, location, location! A band like Akron/Family could sell out the Bowery in NYC, but when they stopped by the Canopy two years ago they filled half of the Void Room. If The Used played in a high school auditorium instead of a college one just a couple weeks ago, they might have filled the place. Instead, just a couple hundred black t-shirted collegiates that never grew up showed up at Foellinger.
The summer after my freshman year, I played a show with my brother’s band, The Ice Cream Party, at a place called Doug’s All-American Bar and Grill in Aurora, Ill. Needless to say, the patrons did not appreciate the nuanced brilliance that drum machines, two synthesizers, a ukulele and trash-can percussion brought to the table. They didn’t want to pay us. We played noise for an hour. If it was a college bar, instead of a bar where the majority of patrons wore leather jackets, The Ice Cream Party could have been a success. Location, location, location!
I really like what the Canopy is doing by using the IMC’s great space. They’re bringing in great artists like Kimya and Islands, but instead of putting them in the classic rock venue which is better suited for big national acts, metal bands and Zoso, they set the bands up in a space both logistically and atmospherically better suited. I think atmospherically isn’t a word but spell check didn’t catch it. Moving on.
If Canopy is utilizing other spaces, so should the Illini Union Board. The Courtyard Café is the crappiest venue I can think of. Jose Gonzales, Margot and (I am told) Caribou have all put on memorable performances (note the omission of The Redwalls from that list), but they were working against the odds.
Now I’m not going to get on my bathroom show kick again, but I think something else could be arranged … can you say “bowling alley shows?” I saw a video of The White Stripes rocking in an Alaskan bowling alley and I would imagine the results would be similar during a rollicking Fuck Buttons set. The Union Board does put together some awesome shows, not to mention some great programs, but that space is as boring as Country Crock margarine — although a concert covered in butter would be pretty sweet.

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