Views from Behind the Merchandise Table

April 3, 2011
by Karyn & Ric Albano


NOTE: This review was originally published at DAMESofPA.com on April 3, 2010.

On March 27, we were treated to a fantastic night of local, original music at Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg. The event was in honor of the 18th birthday of 97.3 The River and featured The Badlees along with the Darcie Miner Band, the Jellybricks and Pan.a.ce.a.

The night was a success in every possible facet with the bands delivering outstanding performances, the acoustics and sound was of excellent quality, and the crowd was lively and enthusiastic. The folks at The River as well as the artists were gracious enough to share space on the merchandise table allowing us to sell the Dollars for Diane Compilation CD to raise money for that great cause. It was from behind this table that we enjoyed the show as well as observed the sold-out crowd.

From this vantage point we found the crowd to be an interesting puzzle. It was obvious that, for the most part, they were there to party and have a good time. But was there something else going on? With a huge selection of music and merchandise from artists proving there worth, right before their eyes and ears, you would think that CDs would be selling like hotcakes. Several folks perused the selections, and a few even bought stuff – but those were a bewildering few at that. Why is this?

Why, in the same evening, will we give such little thought to dole-ing out the twenties for expendable drinks but have such a hard time parting with $10 to own a tangible, artistic, recording by legitimate talent from our local community – something of real value.

The Badlees had a huge selection of CD’s available for purchase at the table. After 20 years of recording together, they have an impressive catalog of quality music and most of those recordings were available on CD and even cassette (remember those?). But the most popular request – River Songs – was not available because that one is owned by the big record company and, unfortunately, most attendees had little to no interest in these other recordings. Is this simply because of marketing or do people just lack the time or will to explore something different?

Anyway, we still had a great time and we appreciate 97.3 The River booking local artists for it’s birthday celebration. The Riverdoes a lot to promote and nurture the local scene by including local artists on their playlists and with Michael Anthony Smith’s “Open Mike Night” featuring local music every Sunday night from 10 to midnight. The fact that they chose four bands from Central PA as the entertainment for their birthday bash proves that they understand the importance of supporting music from the roots on up.

This article originally appeared in DAMES of PA