Friday, July 6, 2007

Little Brothers, little hope

The end of an era has finally come. The recent demise of Columbus, Ohio's Little Brothers concert venue has set a precedent for change. Midsize concert venues are gonna go the way of the Dodo.
The legend of this Columbus rock staple began in the 1980s when music lover/owner Dan Dougan started up Staches just off of the Ohio State campus on High Street.
The venue, was known for its obscenely low ceiling and obscenely high level of indie rock bands who performed there: Nirvana, Pavement, Guided by Voices, etc., etc.
Much like Toledo's Frankies, it was regarded as a local hub of budding indie rock stars.
By the mid-90s Staches was forced to close and Dougan took up his marching band stick and forged ahead. It led to the grand opening of Little Brothers, located much further down High Street on the opposite end of town.
The bar had some really good years, which soon dissipated into some rather low years. I can recall seeing packed national shows over and over again in the late 90s to early 2000. But more recently shows I assumed would be packed only turned up attracting 10 to 20 people. Even Brian Jonestown Massacre's draw was sub-par.
I'm not sure what is happening to Columbus music fans, but they don't seem to be paying attention anymore to the national indie rock scene. The musicians themselves pay attention, but the Everyman on the street is still stuck on John Mayer.
It doesn't help that indie rock shows that once cost $15 have gone up to $35, and that CDs that once cost $11 are now up as high as $20.
It's also a lot easier to just sit at home and judge bands, instead of going out and dealing with all the douchebags who spill beer on one another.
Still, it is sad to see Little Brothers go. Now Columbus music goers are left with the Ravari Room, The Basement, The Newport and Skully's. Meanwhile, the Carabar is trying real hard to become the next Staches. But that'll be tough to do with no music fans anymore.
For the time being check out Little Brothers on-line to find out how to buy artifacts from the bar. Whoever shells out the cash for the old Staches sign, I applaud you.
(Editor's note: There has since been an update by The Other Paper, how the owners of Cafe Bourbon Street are looking to acrry on the Little Brother torch and re-open shop. My take on it is that they should let sleeping dogs lie.)

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