While many people I know seem to get stuck in a certain musical time period (generally the stuff they listened to in high school or college, but not always) I’m constantly looking for new music. If words are my first love, music comes a close second– and why not? After all, most of the music I listen to hooks me primarily because of the words.

Back during my high school and early college years, I was always whining that no good bands ever came near the ‘Nati. We would have to drive, which meant money for gas and permission from parents to go that far; Dayton wasn’t too bad, and maybe Columbus, Lexington, or Louisville, but much further? Not really so much of an option.

When I moved to England for a year, one of the things I kept thinking was, “I’ll get to see all those bands that never stop here! London is one of the best hubs for music!” Yes, I’m a bit of a British invasion kind of girl, but what bands did I see over there?

Not many. And of the ones I saw, two were Scottish, several were American, and only one British band (Muse, at Wembley). They were great shows, don’t get me wrong, and if you have a chance, you should definitely go see Muse live. Buy their albums, too. They’re amazing.

But did I see Franz Ferdinand? Nope. They weren’t playing while I was over there, at least not that I saw. Did I see Radiohead? Again, no.

After I came back here, I half-expected my live musical experience to dry up, but that hasn’t been so. Granted, I traveled 5 hours to Pittsburgh to see one of my favorite bands, Alkaline Trio, this summer because they haven’t come closer than that. And it was worth it (which, given that I’m not a huge fan of driving, and that my companion didn’t drive, says a lot), and it was a fun weekend trip. My first ever to Pittsburgh. For the record, we saw no zombies at the Monroeville Mall Barnes and Noble. Though I was sad, overall I have to say that’s a good thing (though sadly lacking in poetry).

I’m traveling again, to Louisville, next Friday, and taking a day off to visit my old friends and haunts down that way, whom I’ve neglected. This time, to see Taking Back Sunday. In fact, the next couple weeks are going to be fun, with this Friday being the make up show for Reverend Horton Heat at Southgate House in Newport, just over the river on the Kentucky side, and it’s one of my favorite venues, so it’ll be fun. More bands should play Southgate House; that or Mad Hatter, my other favorite venue.

In fact, as far as my seeing live music, it’s been a good year. Mindless Self Indulgence, My Chemical Romance in Columbus, and a bunch of bands I sadly, didn’t have the time or the money to see, like the Gaslight Anthem, who I’m sad I missed, and NOFX in March, when we were stuck in a blizzard. Heard the show was great, though. So bands, keep coming, please. We love seeing you all here.

But the best live experiences this year have been the local scene. Between hanging out with the guys from 500 Miles to Memphis or listening to their singer Ryan do a solo acoustic set, or Rosemary Device, Strongest Proof, and Mad Anthony at Mad Hatters (“we’re all mad, here”), the best noise is local noise. There are a lot of hidden gems, if you simply look for them, and in this day and age, not only is it cheaper to play closer to home for the bands, but it’s a fun night out without breaking the bank (average cover charge: $5, compared to say, $35 for tickets for national acts). Go check out your local bands and help them make a living (or at least supplement it) by doing what they love. At least check out their myspaces. Tell ’em Vanessa sent you.


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