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Best music scenester: Evan Main

Writer's pick: Best of Tacoma 2017

Evan Main fronts the on-the-rise psych-jangle group Mr. Motorcycle. Photo credit: Evan Main

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A music scene is only as good as the people that engage with it. Great bands can perform to nobody, or to disinterested people who take smoke breaks during the acts they don't know. Having interested, devoted people hanging around the music scene is never a bad thing, and some people take their interest and try to multiply it in other people. In Tacoma, at least recently, the person I most see trying to build up and energize the scene is Evan Main.

Main -- a nonbinary person who prefers they/them pronouns -- fronts a band of their own, the jangly psych-rock outfit Mr. Motorcycle. Beyond that, though, they ran the popular and delightfully odd music preview web series Show Cast, which unfortunately ended its run earlier this year. Main has also had a hand in assembling gender queer nights at local venues, and has generally kept their hand in various pies as Tacoma's music scene undergoes yet another fascinating transition.

Being supportive of a scene doesn't mean being uncritical of it, and one of Main's best qualities is being able to raise issues that Tacoma's music scene may have, while not writing it off or saying there's nothing good to be found. I asked Main about what Tacoma's music scene has going for it, and what needs to be improved.

"Tacoma's potential is kinetic and there's always something to be done for these artists," says Main. "Working in the Tacoma scene is like being in the foundation of something new, but live music has been happening here for decades at more or less the same level. It feels very accessible in a personal way and that makes it easy to dedicate time and energy to be a part of it."

As for where the scene needs work, Main says, "The economics of how music works in Tacoma is very backwards and ultimately affects the way our art can be displayed for the public. Most groups will play in a bar and make little payout while the business does well in sales from attendance. This prevents wealth from being distributed to these bands and makes it harder to increase artistic production value or level depending on what you hope to do with your project."

Main also expresses concern over the relative lack of viable venues in town, leading to an over-saturation of bands. These things are fixable, though, and energetic, enthusiastically connected people like Main are just the type of people to make these changes stick.

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