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Scene & Heard

Local insiders share their thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly of Charlotte music scene.



Much like the weather, Charlotte's music scene seems to be changing on a regular basis — some say it's getting better, others think it's on a downhill slide.

With two venues -- The Fillmore Charlotte and Uptown Amphitheatre, which both opened this summer -- and one more on the way (the Knight Theater) Charlotte is quickly improving its status as a go-to city for nationally touring artists at venues of all sizes.

At the same time, some fear those new concert halls are drawing acts away from their usual locally owned haunts. There could also be a problem of having a saturated market with so many options that none of them sell out.

As eyes slowly turn our way and the local music landscape tries to establish a more solid footing, those directly involved in the scene share their opinions on how things are going, what the new venues could mean for the locals and what, if anything, should change.

What's the best part of the Charlotte music scene right now?

"The new venues that have popped up will give more bands a chance to play out in the area. The younger bands may not necessarily get a gig at the bigger venues, but the smaller venues have more open slots as some of their shows may be moved to the newer larger venues. Also, the talent level is tremendous and that's in all genres of music. Variety is the spice of life and musically Charlotte is very spicy right now." -- Divakar, host of New Music and Indie Label Show and 90 Minutes on 106.5 The End

"One of the best parts right now is the expanding network of support and promotional base. With the growing popularity of social networks Facebook and Twitter, and local/regional blogs such as CltBlog, WaxMama, Vibes, Cltcheap, CharlotteMusic, etc., it's easier to broadcast, promote and review shows by both the artists and their fans." -- Laurie Koster, Web designer, artist promoter, local music scene advocate and supporter

"The diversity. The city has venues to accommodate every level of artist, from the smallest coffeehouse band to global-touring arena and amphitheatre acts. The diversity in styles of music is impressive as well. There seems to be an option for everyone, no matter what their favorite music is." -- Grant Lyman, talent buyer for The Fillmore Charlotte and Uptown Amphitheatre

"The best thing about the scene right now is the growth it seems to be taking upon itself. The local venues are seeming to bring better acts through, and there are more musicians trying to work together to keep it alive. Even the venues seem to be communicating more to try and help each other with cross promoting of shows ... seems to be bringing the scene closer together." -- Micah Davidson, talent buyer for The Double Door Inn, president of Carolina Live Music Society

"I like that there seems to be some fruitful collaboration between a few of the long-running local acts and some of the younger musicians, as well as some regional cross-pollination. I also think the free or super-cheap shows -- whether at Century's Patchwerk Playhaus, Neighborhood Theatre or Visulite -- do help expand the audience; you have to take a big-picture point of view, though. I like that the Milestone and Snug Harbor consistently take chances with their booking. I also like what Kinnikinnik Records is DIY-ing. We've tried in our own humble way to add our voice to that groundswell." -- John Schacht, editor, Shuffle Magazine

"Over the past six years, we have seen the Charlotte music scene come a long way. Personally, I think the scene has grown considerably and so has the customer's experience. The newer venues are trying to compliment what's already here. All in all, there is a ton going on, probably too much for such a nontraditional music market, but in the end I believe that the customers will keep it all growing as planned. The [Neighborhood Theatre] is just glad to be able to do our part -- because in the end, it's not rocket surgery, it's just rock 'n' roll." -- Zach McNabb, co-owner, Neighborhood Theatre

What can be done to improve the scene in general?

"I think the scene is doing better than ever: We've got a great diversity of new upcoming acts and a solid base of seasoned staples keeping the young bucks in check. As always, it just doesn't get the local press or attention it deserves from people who aren't musicians." -- Neal "MF" Harper, owner, The Milestone

"The venues and promoters here in Charlotte are all doing a fantastic job of getting acts to think of Charlotte when they are routing their tours. It is an uphill battle to make sure Charlotte is seen as a major music market simply based on our size. Having different options for venues and working together to get the fans out to the shows will only help make Charlotte the No. 1 music destination for the Southeast." -- Lyman

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