Soda City Rock Show: Building a music scene one show at a time
Showcase of five hard-hitting bands hits New Brookland Tavern Saturday night
If you’re in a local rock band and you perceive something is lacking in the opportunities afforded to you and your like-minded peers, what do you do?
If you’re StarDog, you put a series of shows together featuring various local and regional rock acts and dub it “Soda City Rock Show.”
On Saturday night, they’ll host the ninth edition of the series at New Brookland Tavern in West Cola, with StarDog joined by Buried Voices, Decadence, lowercase gods, and Open Wire.
“I thought it would be a great idea to give it the feel of a real event, with a theme of sorts,” said Beau Long of StarDog. “So far it has been received well; attendance is good and the crowds enjoy the variety. It’s mostly hard rock and metal, but we bring in other rock genres, too.”
The naming of the series was one of those happy accidents that was unintentional, but gave it an identity.
“We were invited to play the very first one that included The Haves, Emory Lane, and Cigar Box Opera,” recalled Brian Owen of Buried Voices. “I made a Facebook event invite to help promote the show and called it “Soda City Rock Show,” and it stuck.”
Over the next eight events a pattern has emerged, not just of the kinds of bands participating, but also of the benefits derived for both bands and fans.
“We have gained fans and friends that may have been there to see another band, and we’ve met people who are not necessarily into rock, hard rock, metal, or who don’t usually attend rock shows, and it seems to be a good experience for them,” Owen said.
“This will be the first Soda City Rock Show we have been a part of, but every other one that I have attended was packed with enthusiastic music fans,” said John Huiett of lowercase gods.
“The clubs love this, which is one reason the series is up to number nine,” he said. “I think the shows are generally successful because of the variety and high quality of the bands they showcase.”
Decadence is one of the heavier bands on the bill for this week’s show, and singer Jeremy Scott said they’re excited about being part of such a strong lineup and concept.
“We get to play a show with some amazing bands and our fans will not only see us but get exposed to some new and different bands, too,” he said. “These shows are beginning to build a reputation as solid rock shows and people know that it’s worth staying until the end for all the bands instead of just seeing the one you already know.”
Out of the usual five bands that play a Soda City Rock Show there is typically a non-local act. This week’s is Open Wire, a heavy-hitting rock act from Wilmington, N.C.
“We’ve brought in a lot of great local and regional talent and it has grown tremendously from the first couple times to now,” Long said. “The goal is to build the following for everyone.”
These shows are valuable to the bands for the connections made between bands as well, Owen said.
“We’ve made friends and connected with people who are trying to do the same thing, who live in the same musical world, making an impact,” Owen said. “That’s a big deal. It’s tough to exist as a band, especially in the style of music most of our bands do.”
The consensus among all of the bands playing the Soda City Rock Show seems to be that it’s a positive experience that the city and the scene needs more of.
“It’s a good example of how bands can work together to create something that results in a stronger music scene,” Owen said. “If you want to play shows and get people interested, bands need to throw out their egos and work together; it all starts right there.”
Scott agreed, stressing the need for positivity within the local music scene.
“Sometimes it seems like we are guilty of tearing connections down when we should be building them up,” Scott said. “You can always learn from other musicians, and you can learn the most from ones that have a completely different bag of tricks from your own.”
Want to know what to expect from this weekend’s edition of the Soda City Rock Show? We asked each band member we interviewed to provide their best “elevator pitch” description of what they sound like.
Brian Owen: “Buried Voices is horror-themed, hard and heavy, riff-worshiping, groove-based, rock and roll.”
John Huiett: “lowercase gods is classic-style metal with sharp, modern edges, and splashes of prog and punk.”
Beau Long: “Stardog’s music showcases the band’s hard-revving roots in rock and roll, conjuring up visions of arena rock like Rival Sons, Shinedown, and Deep Purple, mixed with a Southern vibe and the sonic blast of modern edginess.”
Jeremy Scott: “Equal parts cold beer and hard rock, Decadence is a band that values the rock-show experience.”
Soda City Rock Show:
Buried Voices, Decadence, lowercase gods, Open Wire, StarDog
New Brookland Tavern – 122 State St., West Cola
Saturday January 7, at 8 p.m.
$6 over 21/$10 under