The Set List

By Brian Washburn

It’s time for the local music to get attention on the national stage
Almost every town has a music scene. It’s usually only talked about within the confines of the county limits. Very few music scenes will gain national prominence and recognition; and those often come from gigantic cities—Chicago’s pop-punk scene for one. However, with the growing scene here in NWA, this could be our shot to put our stamp on the national scene.
Even though the area has become accustomed to headliners stopping through town, they are generally either musicians who stop by on a regular basis (Cross Canadian Ragweed) or they are mostly country artists, which a bulk of Fayetteville tend to enjoy. But, with a major university sitting less than a mile from the town’s most popular street, a few bigger shows could help the cause.
The Foo Fighters trekking through and rocking Fayetteville this past February was a step in the right direction, and apparently is has paved a few more paths for other national artists to stop through.
Conor Oberst, the poetic, folk playing frontman for Bright Eyes, will be playing George’s Majestic Lounge Sept. 23 on his headlining tour, which will also feature Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley as an opener. Not too shabby of a show for Dickson Street I’d have to say.
But the Oberst show will not be the first, or the last, of the big headlining shows in Fayetteville through the end of the year. Longtime hard rockers The Black Crowes will hit up the Arkansas Music Pavilion at the Northwest Arkansas Mall Aug. 15.
With both of these acts, and the sold-out Taylor Swift concert at the track center last week, attracting a variety of audiences, the possibilities for a number of acts heading through Fayetteville this fall seems to be on the upside.
But while national acts are finding their way into the Northwest Arkansas area, local talent have been entertaining here for several years. And those musicians, and the seemingly never-ending pool of talent, don’t seem to be slowing down.
From the rock musicians who have taken Dickson, not to mention the few who have broken onto national scenes—Benjamin Del Shreve to name one—to the old school country and singer-songwriters amongst the Fayetteville elite, they could really do some damage on the national scene, if given the chance. The vibrant metal scene could come to resemble that of the Orange County metal scene, or even land in a category of its own, while the Fayetteville rock scene, which sees rock genres from emo to experimental to pop punk to straight up rock, could maybe even find themselves “dropping a line” for their hometown of Fayetteville while on MTV2 or the Fuse music network one day.
However, these local acts are being pushed, not by just the fans, but by the music venues as well. Regular stomping grounds like George’s, the Music Hall and Dickson Theater have become regular hot spots to hear one’s next new, favorite local act.
New venues have also been popping up lately. The Old Post Office at the Urban Table aka the OPO, caters to all genres, but it seems to host a few more metal shows than the rest. And while the citizens of Fayetteville were saddened by the shut down of the Gypsy, a new venue has opened in its place and in the same location: Froggy’s. Froggy’s will cater to a more rock crowd, with a few genres to branch off, including blues.
Options are becoming abundant and the music is becoming louder in Fayetteville. I just hope we’re all ready when the nation wants to hear those new bands coming out of the 479.
Final Thought: While music scenes in certain cities tend to stick to a certain genre where their national bands are produced, Fayetteville could break the mold. Wouldn’t it be great if we could feature a rock band on Fuse, a rap group on MTV and a country artist on CMT at the same time? It might just be wishful thinking at this point, but who knows?

Categories: LIVE! In NWA