What happened? Boise was a music town. From Paul Revere to MadRo, or world class Gene Harris at Shotz, schooling the likes of future stars Curtis Stiegers and Paul Tilitson, Boise had a vibrant music culture. Music Week was born in the Boise High Auditorium. Now? Well the live music scene is disappearing-fast. Last Wednesday the weather was perfect and one of Boiseï¿½s most popular bands $oul Purpo$e was at the Alive After Five and no one was there. Even last year there would have been 500 people, not a couple of hundred. Rebecca Scott did have a nice crowd at the Piper, but it wasnï¿½t S.R.O. like the past. Not only was there not a line to get in to Hannah's, upstairs was dead. No music downstairs at Graineys, quiet at Bouquet, Karaoke at Luckyï¿½s and the Ranch Club. See what I mean?
The weekends are not much better. When I asked former Blues Bouquet owner Jo Fryberger why she and her partners sold the Blues, she sighed and told me, ï¿½It used to be you could bring in good music, charge a fair price for a drink and people would come, dance and buy a couple of cocktails. Now, that is just not the case.ï¿½
John (not so fat) Nemeth and I sat down for a minute as he was preparing to head off to San Francisco. Thatï¿½s right no more John for Boise music lovers. ï¿½Basically, a professional full time musician canï¿½t make a living in this town.ï¿½ he said. With no radio support and limited venues it just doesnï¿½t work for John. ï¿½Get outtaï¿½ town, is my recommendation!ï¿½ says John.
Itï¿½s not just the MTV generationï¿½s fixation for DJï¿½s. Itï¿½s the neo-prohibition enforcement of liquor laws, especially DUIï¿½s, combined with a public transportation system that quits before happy hour is over. It is hard to get around safely.
Have we ever really recovered from 911? Where are the tourists that used to come out and play?
Some would say Bravo had a hand in the demise. Did they turn off the public with high prices and poor venues? Maybe, but the bottom line is music lovers must be changing, at least in Boise.
Hope things turn around soon. It seems very odd that the masses will pay $100 to see old timers lip sync, but wouldnï¿½t give two dollars to watch Lori B! or The Hoochie Coochie Men play their hearts out to rock the house. Music is better performed live!