Local music highs and lows in 2013

2013 was another mixed year for local music in Lafayette. It was one of the few years in recent memory where national acts made more of an impact than local representation. With a few exceptions, local shows were a bit ho-hum. It was the same old, same old at venues that continue to be more on the lackluster side.

But it seemed Lafayette-West Lafayette is living up to its geographical advantage for touring bands. Many choice musicians pulled into our fair city for a night or two.

Presented by Friends of Bob local music co-op, Modern Lovers’ founder Jonathan Richman returned for an intimate, “evening with” performance that brimmed with energy on Nov. 16 at the Lafayette Brewing Company. moe. made its Lafayette debut with a fantastic turnout Feb. 10 at the Lafayette Theater, and Mayer Hawthorne rocked an under-promoted but still great free concert Sept. 13 at Slayter Center.

Purdue Convocations and Student Concert Committee lured in some interesting shows: Spoof song maestro “Weird Al” Yankovic put on a helluva two-hour set on Oct. 11 while J. Cole and Macklemore represented the future of hip-hop with powerhouse performances at Elliott Hall of Music.

After a decade-long absence, Indianapolis roots music superstars Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band finally returned to the Lafayette Brewing Company for the downtown institution’s 20th anniversary celebration on Sept. 21. Rev. Peyton was just tasting regional success when he played Lafayette last. Now he and his Big Damn Band enjoy national status.

Lots of great national acts, indeed. But where was the local representation? Local bands were just too quiet in 2013. There were some departures of note, however: Singer-songwriter Mike Reeb moved to Ohio while Ben Hagood of The Enders shipped off to Indianapolis. Those were two big losses on two sides of the local music spectrum.