This week’s Random Thought focuses around local award shows…I guess the timing is right because there are about 4 in the upcoming weeks. And just a warning, I am playing devil’s advocate on this one. I may sound like a whinny, miserable prick in this rant, but I am just taking the “other side” this time around. Proceed with caution if you are sensitive to the subject, its not an attack or made to make folks feel bad, just tossing the line out to see what people think about the subject.
I’ve only ever attended a handful of these shows and while I am sure many of the folks who receive the awards are well deserving (I know a few who certainly are fantastic musicians, top of their game, and well deserving of an honor), I still get the feeling that some (not all) of the accolades are a popularity contest of who knows people on the nominating committee/who are the planning director’s favorite bands/how can you guilt your friends into voting multiple times via social media circumstance. Time and time again I see a very obviously defined pattern of who is nominated for a lot of these award shows/wins in the end. Could it just be that a lot of these bands really are “the best” in the area and get themselves out there far more than others might? In some instances, yeah sure. But a lot of times I feel like it’s a who you know, and who you…ummm, know…situation. It’s not necessarily completely dependent on the fact that you are the best musician or songwriter ever, you are just better at forcibly inserting your music into someone’s ear.
More often that not I see the band that wins “best in town” has played two shows actually in town over the past year. I think that’s great for bands organically growing to a national level, but should there be some sort of precedent set around play more than X number of local shows? At that point are you really still “local”? Or the "best new act" category, its a tough call. Some folks who win or are nominated have been at it for years. Not necessarily taking away from other "new acts" as you should put in your time, but maybe reconsider your wording of the trophy (breakout act, rather than new? Someone who really made waves in the year rather than labeling them as new to the music thing).
Do I think I deserve one of these awards? No, of course not. There are 1,000 other songwriters (and blogs) probably similar (if not better) than me floating around the city. Am I a bitter old fool? Ehh, maybe sometimes, but I also just don’t like the idea of comparing folks on such a grand level. Does a piece of etched glass on a plastic rectangle make you the greatest band in Boston? No, most likely not at all.
Don’t get me wrong I like the entire idea of bringing a community together for night to celebrate the local music scene, but I just think there are other outlets for it. For now, is this a good way to do so, sure, maybe, perhaps. I just really hate to see a large quantity of truly amazing musicians be overseen for these type of events while they exist. People who are truly driving the community forward, never expect anything in return, and genuinely love being a part of it all. Then again, I guess not everyone and their sister can be on the ballot.
What do you guys think? I am all ears on this one and would love to hear both sides.