As a bustling modern city, Columbia offers performances by diverse artists at locations including Music Farm in the Vista, Colonial Life Arena and Township Auditorium.
Especially with a new outdoor concert venue only an hour away that is predicted to host artists starting in May, the Columbia metropolitan area is quickly becoming the hot spot for musicians to visit. Yet, there are still many bands that have yet to venture to our hometown. Just a few that should be on the list to plan a concert ASAP are:
Trampled by Turtles
This Minnesota-made folk/bluegrass/rock band should be high on the roster of artist invitations because of its appeal to the generation of alternative music fans that we're a part of and that makes up much of Columbia. The majority of the band’s tour stops are in the north, west or midwest, leaving the south to experience far less of their live presence. It’s a sadly ironic notion that a band playing the southern-originated genre of bluegrass has spent relatively little time in the very place that is known for its love of banjo and fiddle. The closest they will come to Columbia is for two shows scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, both of which will feature just one of the band members touring with his individual music and backup as Dead Man Winter. We need the whole band here and we need it now.
OK, yes, so it’s old school but this contemporary rock band hasn't set foot in Columbia since its tour with Switchfoot in 2007.
That's just too long to keep fans waiting. Even USC students who aren't familiar with this band will easily fall in love with their pithy word craft and addictive sound. Ranging from slow melodies to fast-paced mind benders, Relient K offers a little beat for everyone interested in the mix of instruments and lyrics that make music magic.
Before you say anything, yes, Dawes is coming to Charlotte in May. The reason I included this band is because that concert is on Wednesday, May 3, otherwise known as the final day of exams. This makes it unlikely that most students will stick around the Carolinas to see them play, considering that many will have left for home and just finished another semester's workload. The perfect situation would see the band coming to Music Farm or a similar venue in Columbia, preferably on a weekend and outside of finals week. Dawes is another perfect band to come because its alternative rock is feel-good, soothing yet realistic music, which is just what students need to combat stress over exams and the fear of graduation looming before many of us.
An incredibly successful band with a cult-following of rock fans, a concert by The 1975 is a highly coveted prize for many music lovers. The band last came to South Carolina in 2016 when it played at the Volvo Cars Stadium in Charleston. Many of their concerts are in other countries because they’re an English band, making it difficult to find the rare concert that is accessible and financially feasible for students to go to. The 1975 would be an excellent choice to come to Columbia because of their widespread likability by both rock and pop music fans.
The Black Keys
The world has been mourning the Keys’ apparent disappearance from Earth for long enough. They haven’t been on tour since August 2015, leaving many fans in a lurch. The band’s last album release was in 2014, so many are hoping for a new album to drop soon, praying that leading man Dan Auerbach’s branch-off band The Arcs won’t cause The Black Keys to crumble. The Black Keys would reach out to Columbia’s artistic hipster scene and also make a big splash with their reappearance. To save the band’s future and to delight their fans in Columbia, such a unique and fun band would be an ideal pick for a concert here.
To contrast with the aforementioned rock bands, Punch Brothers provides a fun, sway-inducing instrumental feel that would draw in many students and residents of Columbia. Punch Brothers' laid back bluegrass-folk vibe is highlighted by the band’s focus on instrumental solos on stringed instruments including banjo and even mandolin. This musically talented band provides a carefree, youthful feel with just their instrumental sessions, appealing to listeners’ sense of hearing and provoking thought in its own way.
These are just some of the plethora of artists that should start booking venues in Columbia. It's time that Columbia finally fully embraces its appeal as a music hub of the South.