Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bottom Feeding and Jet City Stream

I work at getting to see a ridiculous number of free shows, nowadays I book a free show with 3 or 4 bands every month
and also continue to go see the occasional free show at the Vera Project,
which isn't quite free because I volunteer to help running the venue so I have to work to see the show, I just don't have to spend any cash. I'm a Vera member so in theory I can watch any show for free without volunteering, but in practice I always end up helping out since they can just about always use a hand.

The Vera is a small venue, and I help out more on the shows that they have a harder time staffing - the smaller shows, the ones that are more obscure or in an odd genre.
The more mainstream shows that are going to sell out will get plenty of volunteers so I don't need to help with those as much, so I miss many of the more successful acts that play the Vera.

This makes me a bottom feeder, and I say that with affection. I grew up on the Puget Sound, my grandpa was a commercial fisherman and my dad worked on tugboats so nautical imagery comes naturally. I mostly graze along the bottom of the market in terms of draw, not talent or desire or anything like that. Clearly the best local talent moves on to bigger venues over time and I no longer get to see them live for free, but that's OK - at least I've heard them live and I enjoy the "I knew them when" feeling - and I can always go and pay to see the bands I really love. The problem is that I only see a small fraction of all the bands out there, and there ends up being a pile of cool local talent that I never saw that now I probably won't hear. Bumbershoot takes care of some of that, but still I'm missing a fair amount of local talent. The Seattle music scenes is amazingly active with a large number off venues of various sizes putting on shows all over the place, even with a local focus I'm not close to keeping up; maybe if it was my full time job I could come close, but that isn't going to happen.

I've found a partial solution, though. Jet City Stream is a fairly new local web cast - what an odd concept! The whole point of a web cast is that it's an inexpensive way to put up the rough equivalent of a radio show or even a radio station with a world wide reach, so a local podcast sounds a bit like an oxymoron - but it isn't really. It's a very focused concept (Seattle music and Seattle bound bands) that may have some global appeal and surely serves the local Seattle/Western Washington market well.

I've been listening to it for several hours today and I'm recognizing maybe half the local bands, which mostly means I've read about them or seen them listed on a bill, more like 1 in 10 are bands I've actually seen live, and even many of the songs from bands I've seen are new to me - a very good sign, they're not going back to the same favorites over and over. I'm a variety and novelty freak with a local focus, and this stream is just about perfect for me.
I love the funding model too: no commercials in the live audio stream (other than plugs for the station) and plenty on the web site that are mostly related to local music like Sasquatch, the Triple Door, and a show at the Paramount. They also aim to help fund local music in schools according to one plug, and that's a cause I admire so I hope they succeed at it.

A Fox and the Law song called "Feel So Blue" just started playing, perfect example: I've seen Fox and the Law
and I don't particularly recall this one, it may be new or maybe I was working and missed this song live or my memory is just weak (did I mention I see lots of shows?) - but it kicks some ass! I'm really enjoying having a stream that covers the same exact little slice of the music world that I obsess over. I've gotta give this 3 or 4 thumbs way up or 7 out of 5 stars or basically off the scale on whatever rating system you like: highly recommended. Check it out!

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