One of the more frustrating things about living in Provo — or perhaps any college town — is the short collective memory. Aside from the fact that some of us tend to quickly forget changes in the built environment, the rapid population turnover means that at any given moment there simply aren’t a lot of people around who experienced great moments in the recent past.
This “college town memory” syndrome manifests itself in all sorts of ways, but is perhaps most apparent in Provo’s thriving music scene; college students arrive, get into music, and often leave in just a few short years. Over time, that means that some of the best bands, shows and trends get quickly forgotten.
But a website called Provo Shows counteracts that phenomenon. The website has a massive lists of bands, venues, and dates going all the way back to the 1980s. When I clicked on 1991, for example, I learned about the now mostly forgotten band Swim Herschel Swim that actually opened for No Doubt, then hung out with Gwen Stefani and Co. Wow!
As an archive of creativity in the city, Provo Shows is invaluable. I’ve written numerous times on this blog about Provo’s music scene, arguing that it benefits the city economically as well as culturally. Provo Shows helps demonstrate just how rich a contribution the music scene makes.
Provo Shows also provides a fascinating opportunity to chart the growing clout of Provo’s music community. There are plenty of garage bands on the website — including, to my own surprise, at least one I’ve played with — but there are bands that have gone on to sign with major record labels as well. Fans of the Neon Trees, for example, can check out the band circa 2006. The Occidental Saloon, a precursor to the current BYUtv show Audio Files, also has a link on the site. If nothing else, the website shows the incredible breadth of style, skill and objective that characterizes Provo’s creative community.