I was not aware of the Black Cat’s seemingly frustrating policy for booking bands until I read Ryan Grim’s article (“Post No Bills,” 6/2). A club such as the Black Cat would enjoy only moderate at best influence over a smaller city’s music scene, especially one with a tighter-knit community among artists and venues. But in D.C., the huge disparity between the number of aspiring artists and the few venues willing to host them has lent far too much power to the latter. Ideally, it should be local audiences that decide which homegrown acts eventually get a shot at the big time. However, this becomes very difficult when places like the Black Cat (and I’m sorry to single them out since I am a regular patron, but that’s the club highlighted in the article) hold so much sway over which bands D.C.-area concertgoers are first exposed to.
This does not mean we should give up hope on D.C. ever forming a music scene where local artists are encouraged to thrive vis-à-vis supportive venues. The light at the end of the tunnel may happen to come from H St NE. With several clubs set to open on this soon-to-be rejuvenated commercial stretch, including the Red and the Black and the much-anticipated Rock and Roll Hotel, D.C. bands will have more opportunities to break onto the scene. And that is good news for everyone.