or music fans, Columbia is a city of ceaseless enticement. From intimate listening rooms to big concert venues, from heavy metal bands to bluegrass jams, from national headliners to local upand-comers — it’s a music scene that throbs with diversity. “A lot of talent and a lot of different influences that artists are pulling from make it a diverse community of local music,” says Patrick Connor, a booker/bartender at Café Berlin. “There’s a lot of country, a lot of punk, though, too, and anything that falls between those two extremes.”
What’s (Not) Happening
IS THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE STILL IN TUNE WITH THE TIMES?
With such an eclectic scene, people are bound to disagree when it comes to identifying the biggest stories in CoMo music. Currently, the disagreement runs even deeper. While some insiders report a thriving local sound scene, others say the Columbia music industry is the smallest it’s been in several decades. Jesse Garcia has been booking acts for 20 years, but the owner of the downtown dance club Roxy’s says he doesn’t see much happening right now. “It seems to me that there are only a few bands left that are known in Columbia, and a lot of them are quite a few years older than what I’m used to,” he says. “I’ve not ever seen such a small number of musicians coming out of the college, making bands happen in Columbia.” Not only are new bands not cropping up, he says, but several of the area’s leading bands have broken up or moved on in the last couple of years. He cites the Hooten Hallers, a self-proclaimed “loud blues and hillbilly soul” band that formed in Columbia in 2006. “They are the biggest band to come out of Columbia in the last five years,” Garcia says, but they’re doing so well touring that they “rarely play a show in Columbia now. And then after that, there’s only a handful