Wall of Sound-Off
A proud Fort Worthian going on four years now, I can’t recall a local music event that’s inspired as much chatter as this past weekend’s Wall of Sound Festival, a two-day extravaganza at the Ridglea Theater that featured almost 90 bands on three stages.
The emotional, intellectual, and spiritual fall-out runs the gamut. Among some of the local artists who played, the biggest gripe is: Where were y’all? Music lovers here apparently live to bitch about the lack of good touring shows in town as compared to Dallas. Yet when a festival pops up beneath our feet with all the bells and whistles of 10 of the coolest Gypsy Tea Room gigs put together, attendance is anemic – WTF?! On the other hand, local music lovers are saying that, well, maybe if tickets weren’t $25 a pop, then maybe more of us – complainers included – would have made the scene. Which leads to the logical response: Getting major indie-type talent like Low, The Lassie Foundation, Okkervil River, and the several other known commodities that performed isn’t cheap. I’m sure the event’s producer, Spune Productions, would have loved to let every concertgoer in free, but at this stage in the festival’s embryonic existence, free just ain’t feasible.
And so on. Yes, most of the local bands asked to play got bad billing, and the disrespect is egregious, especially considering that, like most large-scale multi-genre showcases, WOSF granted primo slots and stages to crappy non-natives. But why invite musicians from across the country if you’re not gonna make them feel welcome? To employ a handy comparison, this past SXSW didn’t have a lot of Fort Worth-based bands, but most of the ones that did play were given pretty cushy times and stages. Just being hospitable like a true-blue Texan also gives guests something to take back home with them to Seattle, Los Angeles, or wherever else WOSF procured talent. One hand washes the other, and all that. In the positive, almost every concertgoer I talked to or heard from claims to have been treated to a lot of really cool, really unique, and really new-to-Cowtown music. Is Wall of Sound the next Austin City Limits or even an Austin City Limits For Undergrounders? It’s too soon to tell, but I wouldn’t worry about attendance. For a festival that includes performances by bands not named U2, The Rolling Stones, or Shania Twain, building a fan base takes time, time, and time. Overall, the scenesters’ concern is heartening. A lot of y’all really care about the place where you perform, work, and live. Let’s just not allow the concern to turn into soul-destroying, counterproductive cynicism.
… Speaking of the Ridglea, the Westside venue will host Slider’s Fault next Wednesday, April 19; in case you don’t know, they’re an Austin band whose frontman, Josh Tatum, used to live here and helmed the punkish-pop group Just Short Of Sunday. Also on the bill are Meriwhether, Sarcasm, and fellow Austinites-cum-Fort-Worthians Oliver Future, whose drummer, former Soviet Space stickman Jordan Richardson, produced Slider’s Fault’s recently released debut e.p. Tatum’s band is renting the venue for the night, which means no cover, some catered food, and more money to spend on beverages. Visit www.slidersfault.com.
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