So, the Bloomington show was pretty good. Well, at least Airiel's part of it. The opening band was actually pretty painful and Early Day Miners, despite how much I enjoy their records, were a little disappointing. Sounds like they're in a "transitional" sort of thing soundwise.
Unfortunately for us, Airiel went on last. Unfortunately for them too as the old curse of the headliner struck again. Granted, this wasn't exactly a sell-out show or anything but the place was looking pretty bare by the time Airiel took the stage. It wasn't that they cleared the room; most people didn't even give them the chance.
Having the last slot on a "local" show can be one of the worst things that can happen to an out of state band. Yeah, the venue can call it "headlining" to try to make it sound better, but what it really means is, unless the audience already knows you, you're going to be playing to an empty room.
I always think it's a bit unfair to have any non-locals playing last as people around here usually split when the last local leaves the stage. Sure, there are exceptions to this, but more times than not unless a popular local ends the night, last band plays clean up to the last handful of people trying to sober up or hook up.
Now, I can't say I've never left during a headliner before. Weeknight shows with a late start always make it difficult to stay for the whole evening. And it should go without saying that a lousy band is a quick way to chase me out of a club. That I think is only fair.
Still, I try to check out all the bands when I see a show. Admittedly, I'm often disappointed, but at least I have my own opinion when I leave.
I'm not going to chastise people for the decisions they make. After all, they paid their money, it's up to them to decide how much they want to see. I will make this suggestion though; there are a lot of folks who exert a bunch of energy worrying about "local scene" this and that. Really, I think the local part of the music scene is under control. Perhaps too under control as it seems to me Indy audiences can be extremely closed minded to anything not "local."
Music scenes don't develop in a vacuum. Word of mouth is pretty much what starts the ball rolling. When bands coming through town have to play late to empty rooms, it's hard for me to believe puts anything but a negative word on the street out there about out fair city.
So, this is just a suggestion. If you want to do something to help the scene, next time you're at a show, stick around for the last band. Not only might you accidentally expose yourself to something new, you also help show the rest of the country that Indy's music scene is open minded and progressive.