Local Music

Should Venues Play Local Music Between Sets? Fernando Perdomo Thinks So

A few local venues get it right. Their nights of live music, even when there are DJs interspersed throughout, are crafted to create a specific vibe. Genre-appropriate music is played between sets to keep the momentum going, and if there's dancing before or after, it all seems to work in tandem. 

Other -- okay, many -- venues in town, however, don't get it. They'll offer makeshift stages, poor sound systems, and inept or nonexistent engineers. And the second the opener is done, here comes a DJ with loud top 40 pop. 

This happened again the other day to Dreaming in Stereo frontman Fernando Perdomo, also the owner of start-up indie Forward Motion Records, and it was damn near the last straw. 

"I went to see one of the bands on my Forward Motion Records label, Arboles Libres. They were on stage trying to tune up and there was ridiculously inappropriate high-energy dance music playing," he recalls. "And if you know Arboles, their fans are rock and roll hippies and they and the band were annoyed. So I jumped on stage and made the DJ stop. I had to."

But Perdomo, ever the local-love activist, wants to take it one step further. Not only should DJs play appropriate music between sets, but they should make a point of including local music in there, too, he says. And he's started a Facebook group to try to get that going, called, appropriately, "Play Local Music at Local Venues to Expose Local Music."

"The whole reason I started a label is because I am 100 percent sure that 2011 will see a success story out of Miami, and we need to come up with creative ways to put local music back in fashion," says Perdomo. "Why not play ANR before Animal Tropical, Rachel Goodrich before Jill Hartmann, Araka before Suenalo, and Jim Camacho before Sam Friend?"

There's not just an emotional and karmic benefit to this, though, he points out. There's a financial one, too, Venues, for instance, could point out that the song playing over the PA is by a band playing the venue in coming days. Or people discovering a new song may be spurred to buy some music -- it's not unheard of, says Perdomo.

"I played a solo Dreaming in Stereo set in Cleveland opening for Adrian Belew (of King Crimson, Bowie, Zappa, Talking Heads, and Nine inch Nails), and they played my CD as walk-in, walk-out, and in-between music," he says. "I sold 10 CDs."

Still, though, sparking change in Miami inertia is a series of baby steps, and Perdomo understands.

"Just have common sense," he urges. "What is the point of making people suffer through Kesha when they're waiting to see Ketchy-Shuby?"

To join the discussion over on Facebook, join the group, Play Local Music at Local Venues to Expose Local Music. Or share your thoughts below. 

Should a venue attempt to play more local music between sets, and announce who it is? Or should someone just play genre-appropriate music, local or otherwise? Or should a DJ do his/her thing to keep the party going and bring the mood up? Which local venues do enough? 

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Arielle Castillo
Contact: Arielle Castillo