Cultural Connection Under the Radar

By: Jack Rowe
By: Jack Rowe

The best way I can describe music is that it is the purest form of expression unique to a place. When you hear an electric guitar belting out the blues, you’re listening to the music of Texas – think Stevie Ray Vaughn. If you were to hear the sitar, you would know that what you were hearing was coming out of India. Each culture has its own unique sound – a sound that its listeners are proud of and relate to on a deep, emotional level.

This intrinsic power of music makes it the most powerful medium for connecting people that I know of. Here’s a generic situation that I’m sure we’ve all experienced: You just met a new person through a friend and you’re chatting it up, getting to know each other, and you discover that you both are huge fans of the same band… Automatic best friends! Tell me I’m crazy if I’m being crazy but I am rather confident that everyone has had such an experience.

I’m not just preaching about the wonders of music – I have a direction. I’m trying to hint at the music culture we all share here in College Station and to acknowledge it for the cohesive force that it is. It seems that Texas Country rules Texas A&M campus when it comes to the most popular genre. And let me make it very clear that I am not trying to alienate anyone here. I am by no means a huge Texas Country fan but I must admit (with a bit of humility) that the grittiness of Texas Country makes me feel at home, at ease, and just plain peachy keen. This is because it is the native sound of my place and my people. How lucky we are to have such a large and dedicated fan base here in College Station to draw in so many singers and bands to perform for us here so frequently. Josh Abbot just graced us with a show just this past week! It’s safe to say that live music is a big part of contemporary Aggie culture.

I’ll use this opportunity to segue into promoting the music scene of Downtown Bryan. As College Station’s “twin city,” we have the advantage of taking part in the culture endemic to Bryan because it’s simply right there for the taking. And a huge part of Downtown Bryan’s culture is the live music. Local musicians playing for their fellow citizens along with bands coming from out of state – a band from Boston, Sideshow Tragedy, played at a hip indoor/outdoor joint called Revolution Café & Bar just a few days ago on August 31st. If you check Revolution’s Twitter out, you’ll find that they offer live music at least once a week and the musicians you’ll find there are surprisingly diverse. If you’re into alternative stuff, this is a place to be and even if you’re not, it’s hard to argue that smaller bands put on the best live shows because they’ve got something to prove.

Every First Friday of each month, a hefty number of locals and culture-conscious students go out on the town – downtown – and enjoy barhopping, visiting with old friends while making new ones, and above all, enjoying all the live music that the occasion brings in. It’s a grand old time (I do try to make every First Friday) and more and more people are coming out each time. Such a unique cultural event should be taken advantage of. Imagine if just one tenth of College Station’s student population showed up on that beloved First Friday of every month – that’s a solid 5,000 young people looking to have a good time and I’m sure it would prove to be one. The vast majority of us take full advantage of Northgate and it’s a great bond we share – the legendary Gates of North! I can only hope that more of us wake up and realize what we’ve been missing by shunning our Twin City and the good times she offers. Let us let music bring us together, not just in College Station, but also in Bryan. Let’s make the sounds of the Twin Cities our own!

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