Friday, September 13, 2002
In the validation-from-outsiders sweepstakes, the Lawrence music scene has found another winner.
The October issue of Spin, featuring power duo The White Stripes holding a monkey on the cover (maybe they could recruit IT to play bass), includes a nifty article called "College Life 101." Ten towns are the focus of the piece, from Boston, Mass., to Missoula, Mont. And Lawrence made the list as well.
Spin describes the project as "a handy primer on ... the best record stores, clubs, bars and local music scenes, as well as the must-know places to soothe those hangovers."
So how did Spin do?
The Lawrence section was written by underground artist and former KU student Travis Millard, and his insider bent is apparent. But first let's absolve Millard of any potential blame. Coastal editors aren't exactly known for their knowledge of the Midwest. I once wrote an area club guide for Details in which the publication changed all my Kansas City, Mo., references to Kansas City, Kan. The New York-based editor later confessed he didn't know they were two separate cities. Good thing I wasn't writing about Portland, Maine.
Anyway, Millard/Spin sums up the locale accurately: "Many assume that Lawrence is full of cornfed hayseeds riding in truck beds, blasting Reba. But in addition to that, it's also a town rich with eccentricity and folklore."
The following write-ups are sub-divided into five categories, a few of which are a little topically suspect.
Local Bands: (various)
Spin hit some of the obvious highlights in this category, citing The Get Up Kids as the town's "most famous export." Since the indie rock band sells more records than all other local groups combined, the statement is hard to argue with. The list additionally includes The Anniversary, Appleseed Cast, Mates of State and Freedy Johnston ï¿½ all great choices from a national perspective, even if the last two acts mentioned haven't actually lived here in years.
Dance Club: Tremors
Oops. This oasis of gyrating booty and jack-booted doorman has closed up shop permanently. But why is a magazine dedicated to LIVE entertainment even worrying about a dance club? Who cares? Why not talk about the best karaoke facility or loudest restaurant sound system while you're at it.
Record Store: Love Garden Sounds
Spin's weird little description doesn't quite do justice to what makes the mammoth store so respected: "Four resident cats curl up in the record bins and blink knowingly" is given as the leading explanation. There are a lot of other fine record stores in town ï¿½ 7th Heaven and Kief's come to mind ï¿½ and I should know because I go to them instead. Why? I'm allergic to cats. And though the brief stretches that I've spent in Love Garden are always gratifying, I can't last more than five minutes before the only white stripes I can pay attention to are the ones coming out my nose.
Binge Bar: The Replay Lounge
Depicting the ironic cool-people club as a place featuring "broken glass" and "blood on your shoelaces" seems a little over-dramatic. If this downtown spot appears seedy, then obviously the writer has never been to any bars in North Lawrence.
Best place for boobies and beer:
I thought that venue only had punk bands? Hmm, I've really been out of touch since I got married.
All in all, the staff at Spin did its homework. Even more impressive, they knew enough NOT to do a feature on Manhattan, Kan., or Columbia, Mo. ï¿½ er, I mean Columbia, Kan.