Volume 91, Issue 66

Tuesday, January 27, 1998



Culturally Inept?

The Spoke and the Wave are two of the better venues to catch live performances in London and being that they are connected to the university and students seem likely targets for entertainment, why is it that campus bars and students seem so unwilling to support the local music scene?

For the past three Fridays at The Spoke, there have been free shows offered featuring tribute bands. Not the real thing, but imitations. These shows have been very successful, attracting more students than other indie bands do.

So while there are hundreds of great independent live acts from the local area and other smaller bands which could potentially play in these venues, why is it students seem less willing to support them? Why is it that bar managers and those who book these gigs find it easier to fill a bar with a bunch of wannabes?

If students would rather go see live performances including music that is mainstream and familiar to them, it's a pretty sad commentary about Western and its willingness to support local or independent acts rather than big name sell-outs.

And when there are "real" bands playing on campus, promotion for these events is lacking. Although periodically, big name acts are featured (Tea Party, Collective Soul etc.), when lesser known artists appear, no one knows about them unless they happen to see a poster glued to The Spoke's wall.

Neither The Spoke nor the Wave seem particularly interested in supporting local acts and would rather feature DJs night after night. In a seven day week, there is surely an opportunity to give some local bands exposure with an indie night, or tacking on some lesser-known bands as part of a larger show. While they are under no obligation to support the ailing live music scene, they are certainly doing nothing to heal it either.

Not that the bars are solely at fault themselves. They are providing the acts which draw the biggest crowds. Western students seem unwilling to try something new and to listen to music which is a little less predictable – even though many talented indie bands eventually go on to draw large crowds.

Western does not seem particularly interested in supporting bands that do not have revenue riding side-saddle or a well-known name. It's a shame because The Spoke and the Wave are great intimate music venues.

It seems the university as a whole is gradually losing all sense of culture (drama department and workshop are two examples) which cannot be tabulated into the year-end fiscal revue.

We can save money and cut costs instead of being creative. That's the easy immediate solution, but the long-term effects could make for a really boring university and city-at-large.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998