Maybe it was always there right beneath the surface, maybe it was just disconnected, but the all ages scene in ICT is undoubtedly here, and what’s coming out of it completely rules. Last night the Walnut Street Gallery, hosted their first event in seven years. In 2007 the gallery / event space hosted both Murder By Death and Ian Mackaye’s The Evens. So what happened? Apparently, no one asked to do shows there in all that time. Everyone got comfortable doing shows at bars, and everyone under 21 during that time missed out on several hundred extraordinary and inspiring shows.
So here’s the thing. Music, like any art, suffers in a vacuum. If you haven’t stood toe-to-toe with your hero, seen her equipment, felt the vibration coming from the amps, witnessed the emotion in every cell of the band’s collective being while they play the song that means so much to YOU, and then talked to them after the show–you haven’t had the experience that drives so many of us into our basements and garages every night to obsessively do the work to find the sound that means so much to US. Put it this way–its super hard to make excellent music without first witnessing excellent music. And without a place to play your music in front of friends and strangers, the whole thing gets a different feel. And not a good one. Things fizzle out, fade. And thats what happened. Thats what shouldn’t happen in Wichita anymore.
Thanks to a grip of brave souls risking the wrath of cops and putting on house shows, to a handful of shops like The Donut Whole and R Coffee House allowing people to get in there and share what they have to share and experience the magic of live music, something is starting to happen. The groundswell is coming back. All ages means something in ICT. There are now a shitload of young bands that totally rip that you should go see. Does your band play exclusively bars? Change that! Find a band that can’t play a bar and ask them to play a show, and ask them where they want to do it. Teach them what you know about gear, promotion, making records. Invite them into your studio to record, collaborate with them. This is a community, embrace it. Watch it grow. Have fun.