Friday, November 9, 2007

Sign of the Apocalypse

Richmond, Virginia is a strange town. For years, the city’s populace has defined themselves more by their geographic location surrounding the city rather than any kind of “urban-centric” identity. Hardly anyone describes themselves as a Richmonder. Rather, we have West-enders, East-enders, South-siders, and the dreaded and oft ostracized North-siders. All of these directionally focused suburbanites stand in awe of we heathens, hoods, and otherwise ethnically undesirable folk that choose to live “in the city”. Many folks would just as soon drive their SUV off a cliff than go into the city limits of Richmond after dark. Well, if last night is any indication, things may be a changin’ in these here parts of the Capital City. I went to see Zappa (Dweezil, not a cadaver) at Toad’s Place downtown on a weeknight and the place was packed with the most eclectic bunch one could imagine. I even saw a silver haired septuagenarian in the balcony that looked like Eleanor Roosevelt! Looking around the crowd last night brought to mind the movie quote “If you build it, they will come”. Whoever had the stones to build a first class music hall down-town has my respect and gratitude. Especially, in light of the many that have tried and failed to attract suburban cave dwellers out of their holes and into town after dark. Toad’s Place is a terrific venue for both its state of the art sound and its perfect size. Its ability to draw both good acts and a big crowd is a refreshing change to a sometimes stagnant area and I hope the trend continues. Maybe one day this town will grow up and become a real city and the “enders” and “siders” will become just plain Richmonders. Scary thought huh?

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