SXNE 2014 Feature: Why Boston Is The Best

In just five short days, South by Northeast and the collective Boston music scene will be taking over Austin during SXSW. Many other cities use SXSW as a vehicle to showcase homegrown talent, but we all know that Boston does it best. We took some time to chat with a handful of artists from this year’s SXNE lineup to find out just what it is that makes the Boston, and larger New England music scene, the best around.

The Silks (Matt Donnelly)– The New England music scene does seem to be rising to an apex these days.  There are lots of like minded bands shooting for solid songs and gimmick free bare bones rock, or folk, or “Americana”  It hasn’t always been like this of course, but I feel like the sounds that are coming out of the scene are more likely to obtain some longevity.  It’s just…some classic shit.  Everybody likes some classic shit.

The Ballroom Thieves (Martin Earley)– We’ve found Boston, and New England in general to be an incredibly supportive and loyal music community. We’ve built great friendships with bands like Tall Heights and Darlingside, but have found most New England bands understand the concept of healthy competition that promotes local music while helping to drive it forward. We can’t speak highly enough of places like the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, Club Passim, and the folks at the Bowery – all organizations that do an incredible job of furthering local talent, of which there exists a plethora at the moment.

Ruby Rose Fox– In the past two years the Boston music scene has become a tremendous and supportive community for me.  Many of us on the bill got to know each other through the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble (either this year or in years past) or more recently through the Boston Music Awards.  But what I think is unique about the scene is how insular it is.  This is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because we all have become very close and support one another.  But it is a curse because there aren’t that many options to play in Boston, and as our community gets tighter and tighter, it is tough for all of us to expand our audience.  That is why getting down to SXSW is so important.  We all will benefit from playing in front of new people and the local scene will gain real credibility when SXSW sees what Boston has to offer.

Mean Creek (Chris Keene)– The Boston/New England music scene is important to me because I grew up here and have lived here pretty much my whole life. Ever since I was 13 and started playing guitar in bands, it was important to me to be a musician from here. There’s tons of bands I love from the area. For all the tough guy Boston stereotypes you see, there’s a lot of smart and free minded people here, and a lot of creative and artistic people too. You can’t leave your house most of the year because it’s freezing, so you’ve got plenty of time to stay inside and write songs. Lots of talented people and bands in the Boston/New England area who are flying under the radar right now, but it’s been really cool to see some national attention put on bands like Speedy Ortiz, Potty Mouth, Krill, etc. Hope to see more of that.

OldJack (Dan Nicklin)– I think its the face that we can throw shows like SXNE and when bands lose shows like some did this last week we rally and make it happen.  Basically, we look after our own.

Spirit Kid (Emeen Zarookian)– Boston/New England has a very diverse music scene to say the least. If anything, I would say it is pretty fragmented actually. There’s little scenes within scenes and offshoots of those scenes, all of which seem to evolve every couple years. This is especially true with college kids coming and going so often, but that’s not to say there isn’t a core to it all. Cities like NY have a similar thing going on, but on a much larger level obviously. There are less people and less bands here in Boston, but that’s not to say there’s less talent! I’ve known some amazing songwriters and bands that have made a huge impact on my life that will unfortunately probably never leave the city limits. That said, the line up for SXNE is killer!

Girls Guns and Glory (Ward Hayden)– What I love about the local scene is that it’s very supportive and inclusive.  Rather than create a club that only a few people can belong to, it opens bands and musicians with open arms. It’s incredible how many different musicians I’ve seen sit in with other bands and projects. It makes our scene really special and unique.

Posted on by Eric in Concert Preview, SXNE 2014

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