Music To Your Ears: Lexington offers sound venues

by Molly Crain

“Good musical artists hardly ever come to Lexington. To see anything of quality, you have to travel to a bigger city.”

This is a response that I’ve unfortunately heard from many students while talking about seeing a good performance that is worth both their time and money.

First off, what defines a good musical performance?

Stereotypically, many would agree that a respectable performance consists of music of the “mainstream” caliber — a definition that varies for each person according to his or her musical taste.

Oppositely, others may be looking for something more obscure, classical or eclectic.

“I would say there are good shows for certain types of people, mainstream or not,” said junior Dustin Jones. “I may enjoy a hip-hop show while another may enjoy an indie rock show. There’s different strokes for different folks. You just have to know where to look.”

Nevertheless, one must come to the realization that Lexington, Ky., isn’t the hottest place for mainstream artists to perform. Rupp Arena isn’t exactly bringing in artists like Kanye West and Jay-Z, U2 or Lady Gaga.

But not many artists want to play at a university gym that can seat up to 23,500. They’re much more likely to find interest in smaller venues. But what is the right size?

“Lexington has been blessed in the past with 300- to 500-capacity venues,” said Erik Carlson, director of marketing for Buster’s Billiards and Backroom, “like Breedings, Lynaugh’s (and) The Dame. … And that tradition lives on with Cosmic Charlie’s, Al’s Bar and Natasha’s for an older audience. But what has been missing and hurting the ability for Lexington to become a great music town is the 1,000-plus-capacity rock hall.”

Carlson hit the nail on the head. However, until Lexington builds that venue, listeners must settle for the musical community that thrives here.

From local artists like Ben Solee and Matt Duncan, to lucky swing-by’s such as Of Montreal, LMFAO and Girl Talk, there is something to be enjoyed by everyone.

If you’re worried about an age requirement, no big deal. Lexington realizes that this is a college town. Without under-agers, Lexington venues would struggle even more with ticket sales — consequently a plus about our community.

Students should be looking forward to the upcoming shows being offered in Lexington. The lineup is exciting, especially for Boomslang, a festival provided by the University of Kentucky’s radio station, WRFL. It will be an experience that is definitely worth your time.

Speaking from personal experience, Carlson relayed how you never know what kind of talent you’ll stumble upon.

“In 2007, this band I’d never heard of with a weird name was playing at what is now Buster’s, then an empty warehouse,” said Carlson. “It was a cold Sunday night and I didn’t know what it would be like seeing a concert in that place. … It was Vampire Weekend, now one of my favorite bands, and I got to see them with about 200 people in an empty, cold warehouse for free. Three months later they played on Saturday Night Live. … That is why you should go see live music in Lexington.”


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