I first moved to Brisbane about 23 years ago, and since then Brisbane and I have had a kind of love-hate relationship. I’d always been on the move as a kid, and I spent a lot of time in the desert towns, country and coastal towns. So when we moved to Brisbane I thought “wow, the big city.” I don’t think “big” is how I would describe it now. I’d say it is quaint, but I like quaint 🙂
I don’t think i fully appreciated the music and art scene until my early teen years, those days when there were numerous free outdoor gigs. Once I hit 16, ditched the piano and picked up a guitar, I hit places like the Valley and West End hard. I would look for people my age who wanted to start a band and we’d meet up and play. Back then everyone just wanted to play for the love of creating something, to rid one’s self of teenage angst etc. So after having been a part of the music scene on and off for ten years, I took a long hard look at all the changes around me, and I stopped completely. I had seen nightclubs and high rise developments taking over these culturally relevant places I used to frequent. Places like Thee Depot and Tongue and Groove had disappeared. The crowds were a lot more judgmental, vain, out on the pull and drunk as fuck. Not the friendly sort of drunkenness I was accustomed to. Alright, so times change and so do people and trends. But I used to go out almost every weekend with my friends to see obscure bands play, gatecrash impromptu backyard parties without being kicked out. And what happened to GOTHS?! They shat me to tears, but they were interesting as hell to observe. What happened to The Rev?!
I stopped playing and writing music, I stopped going out to the places I once enjoyed. I think this was probably the start of a major depression. Even the people I had once considered mates began changing and conforming to what would now be classified as Hipster Norms (that would actually be a great name for a hipster venue). I gave up on Brisbane altogether and wanted out. I think I complained about nothing else for years, which I’m sure annoyed everyone immensely.
After all that, things seemed to improve ever so slightly. It took a long time but I was starting to see a rejuvenation in the live music scene. It was definitely an underground movement, but it was there and you could hear the hum of it all. Then last year, March 2013 to be exact, I met someone who completely changed the way I felt and thought about Brisbane. He called bullshit on a lot of things I thought about this little city, and I owe him a debt of gratitude for it. I was introduced to events and bands, artists and new acquaintances who had existed all along. They’d just been harder to find. And although I was still depressed from years of being creatively starved and unmotivated, I kind of fell in love with Brisbane again, for real this time. So now I want to contribute to the growth of the music and arts scene in Brisbane. There is absolutely no point in being miserable about it, or complaining really. After living in Melbourne and seeing just how diverse it is down there, I do believe that Brisbane can reach that same level. It’s a matter of supporting our people, bringing them out into the open for everyone to see and admire. Brisbane needs more diversity and I’m just one of the many MANY voices here who are willing to do something about it.
I’ve been asked, on a few occasions now, why it is that I would want to be a critic/reviewer of bands when I should just start one. Oh, I’m starting a band again alright. But I don’t see myself as a critic, and I never will. I’m a fan of music, first and foremost, and therefore if I want to see a change, I’ve got to make it happen. Lone Riot is my little contribution in finding local talent and putting it out there. I’ll even review bands and artists from other cities if it means they’ll have a following in Brisbane. So that’s why I’m doing this. I see myself living out the rest of my days here, and I might as well make it the kind of city that I will never regret living in. I’m proud of this place and the talented Brisbane people that I know. So keep up the good fight.