"I’ve lived in Indianapolis for more than 20 of my 30-plus years. I have no plans to leave, and there are many things I appreciate about the city. However, never am I more embarrassed to live in Indy than when I go to live music concerts. And I’m not talking about the big theatrical affairs that come through Verizon or Conseco. For several years now, intelligent singer-songwriter shows such as Ray LaMontagne, Patty Griffin and, most recently, Josh Ritter, as well as bands like Hem and Guster have led me to wonder if Indianapolis possesses any sophistication at all. 

The typical concert-going crowd here seems to think of live music performances as an opportunity to show off their redneck, overgrown frat boy personas. I was at a show not long ago when the singer, a well-respected artist and songwriter, looked out at the crowd and said, “This is Indiana, right? Can you just let out a big redneck yell?” Of course, the crowd was all too ready to indulge his request. The artist smiled and responded, “That would just never happen in Boston.” For some reason, the crowd found reason to be proud of this fact.

 I’ve been to concerts in other cities — Chicago, Nashville, Austin, for example — enough to know that having a good time and actually going to enjoy the music can co-exist (i.e. they can hold their alcohol!). Serious music fans make a serious music scene. If we continue to drive home the negative stereotypes that Hoosiers are already saddled with, then a bar scene is all we’ll ever be. C’mon, Indy, we can do better than this.

Eric Baker

Indianapolis

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