How do we rate?
To get a sense of the importance of Portland’s music scene on a national level, the Phoenix staff called music editors at other alt-weeklies around the country, as well as staff at national media outlets relating to music. Here’s a selection of what we found:
Burlington, Vermont: “I love Cerberus Shoal” were the first words out of the mouth of Casey Rea, music editor at Seven Days, who grew up in Skowhegan. He also just sent a Sly-Chi disc to a freelancer for review. He had heard of Paranoid Social Club, but not 6gig or Andy Happel. King Memphis rang a bell.
New York City: “Portland, Maine has one of the most vibrant music scenes I think I’ve heard of," says Liz Koch of Notorious Radio. "OK, a lot of towns do, but there’s something special about Portland. Maybe it’s the weather so the musicianship is so damn tight. Maybe it’s that they’re not afraid to use instruments other than guitars & drums. Maybe it’s that there’s SO many varieties, yet the kids go apey. Hell, maybe it’s the apey kids. I know when Paranoid or As Fast As play in NYC, you’ll find tons of Portland kids in the audience. Hell, even when they played in Lincoln, Nebraska at a College...you found Portland kids STOKED to see their bands. I’d guess it’s all of these things.”
Athens, Georgia: “I don’t know any off the top of my head," says Chris Hassiotis, music editor of Flagpole. "If there’s quality I’d love to hear it, so I’ll maybe check out some of those bands online.”
New York City: “I really know nothing,” says Chuck Eddy, senior editor for music at the Village Voice. He did know that Cookie Cutter Girl was playing a gig there in a couple weeks, and had just written a brief preview of her show.
Des Moines, Iowa: “To be honest, no,” was the answer from Michael Swanger, the music writer at Cityview, when asked if he knew anything about the Portland music scene or any bands from here.
San Francisco: "I don't know anything" about Maine music or musicians, says Kimberly Chun, senior editor for arts and entertainment at the San Francisco Bay Guardian.