As another eerily similar weekend of debauchery and shenanigans passes us by in Isla Vista, I am reminded of a long-suppressed truth: The Santa Barbara music scene is lacking, in every sense of the word.
For me, coming from Los Angeles might have something to do with it. There wasn’t a weekend when I didn’t pile my friends into my six-seater ’89 Lincoln Continental, pack a bowl and cruise down the 101 to the Avalon for a Thursday night Reel Big Fish concert. Hell, I could even make my way down to Hollywood and Highland on a Tuesday to see Chris Murray in the Alterknit Lounge for Bluebeat – and the tickets were always $5.
Nowadays, it’s so hard to find an alternative to playing six games of beer pong on a Friday night, and I often find myself watching the Tool cover band playing at the end of my block. So why is it that the music scene here in Santa Barbara inadequately serves the needs of its community?
Sure, there are venues in place here in Santa Barbara with oodles of potential. The Santa Barbara Bowl does have three concerts scheduled thus far on their Web site and, you guessed it, Avril Lavigne is coming to town. And don’t forget special guest Boys Like Girls. Next time I’m tempted to spend $60 on a Santa Barbara Bowl ticket, remind me to take my three $20s and light them on fire.
Yeah, we’ve got the Arlington Theatre, which will dazzle the city with a few incredible shows. Take the Dec. 1, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” on Ice. You could also drop by in January to see London’s Royal Philharmonic – only $90 this time. Thanks, Ticketmaster, for the $12 “I’m stealing your money because I’m an illegitimate business” charge. As if the tickets weren’t enough.
And don’t get me wrong, I am open to the suggestions of anyone out there as to where I can go see a concert either not ending at 9:30 p.m. or not headlining Rebelution on Del Playa Drive. No disrespect, Rebelution – I’ve been plenty hammered at all 2,756 of your shows.
Seriously now, the greatest problem we UCSB students face is we simply do not care enough about the subpar music scene in our community. All of us are guilty in the lack of interest and support for budding bands within our peer groups, and this, in turn, has let our community down.
Another grave problem any aspiring band or musician faces here in Santa Barbara is the lack of a large and reasonably priced guitar shop. Sure, there are the guys down at Jensen’s on De La Vina, who are actually incredibly friendly and helpful. … I mean, I would be too if I were the only real guitar shop in the entire town. Interesting to note, Jensen’s just recently turned the back of their shop into a stage and has invited local and non-local bands alike to come play. As this of course is incredibly exciting for the oppressed music scene in Santa Barbara, changing the back of the shop to a stage has also been coupled with the termination of Jensen’s amp repair service. Now, if you need to get your amp repaired for a gig, be prepared for an hour-long drive: The closest repair shop is in Thousand Oaks.
I can already hear you skeptics, calling the twice-yearly ChillaVista festival proof of Isla Vista’s musical impact. And I would be the first to say how amazing festivals like those are and how much I adore them. But please, don’t get all over me for wanting more live music in my community. Having more live music available to students, young people and the general community is not only beneficial in cultivating local artistic work, but it would improve our community cohesiveness – something I think everyone in our little ghetto known as Isla Vista could agree is a necessity. There simply isn’t enough demand from all of us, and it is up to the students to change this nightmare for the better.
I don’t know about all of you, but I can’t see how playing Rock Band with a few friends on a Saturday night takes precedence over catching a live performance. The guys on the 6700 block of Trigo, I’m talking to you. So get off your couches and show some actual support for the local bands in your community. The apathy for changing our neighborhood has got to go.