Saturday, February 10, 2007
The Toledo Sound?
My quest to define the musical sound being produced in different Midwestern cities continues. This will also include Toledo.
I know, you are already saying, "Toledo? (double take) Wait, did you say Toledo?? That's where they make Jeeps, isn't it?"
Yes. But I think Jeep shut its factory down.
In its defense, Toledo actually has a personality (Cleveland, you could take some notes). For the most part, the people there are really nice and diverse. Sadly enough, however, Toledo stole most of its personality from Detroit. They can't help it, Toledo is just the only big city located south. Detroit bands HAVE to play there, unless they have a boat.
I'd like to explain the Toledo sound by comparing it to Katie Holmes, now Katie Cruise. She is from Toledo. She was a pretty good actress, but she got a bit too hung up in the kiss-ass lifestyle of Hollywood. Somehow that paid off and she latched on to Tom Cruise's leg. She grew up a nice Midwestern Catholic girl, who decided to take her personality, wipe her dirty butt with it, then throw it away. Now she's with Scientology's new Jesus Christ and became a Stepford Wife. That passion is still in her, I think, but she just gave up.
Once a bustling metropolis, it rusted out. The downtown is now a shit hole. It used to be cool. Most of the suburbs are downright dangerous because of drunk drivers and some weird law to have most roads 25 mph.
It's just frustrating because original music is alive and well in Toledo. There are a ton of great bands like Sangsara (now on hiatus), A.M. Error, The Homeville Circle, The Drawers, Infinite Number of Sounds, Fast Piece of Furniture (Jeff Nelson of Minor Threat's band), Che Guitara's GLAMtasm, Muschi, Boogaloosa Prayer, The Anti-Villains, Rooted Truth, Rediscover. There are also great venues like Mickey Finn's Pub (my favorite), The Underground, Headliners, The Masonic. You also have organizers like Taking on Explosives (www.takingonexplosives.com) setting up shows (although, I recall they seem kind of stuck on making bands pre-sell tickets, which I'm totally against).
I'd explain the sound going on right now to be somewhere between a low key 80s synth vibe (but the cool vibe from the late 80s, like Echo and the Bunnymen) mixed with some kind of retro tough surf music thing and another side angle of rootsy psychedelic folk. There's also a cool blues and jazz scene, but I'm focused on indie rock.
I guess Toledo just doesn't try hard enough? So it allows itself to be overpowered by Detroit. The worst example was when Swing music broke in the 1990s. Detroit is to blame for that one. Maybe Chicago too, but I digress. I guess the whole thing was fun while it lasted. It brought a ton of people out to the bars, for a change. People started dancing again. But it also gave some an excuse to become walking cliches, like people who wear Misfits leather jackets - except it was zoot suits.
So my advice to Toledo, is the same advice I would give Katie Holmes:
Don't give up, girl. Fight it! I see the passion in you. It's like a beautiful ornate lamp someone covered with a blanket.