From the age of about 15 to about 19, I had spent nearly every weekend going to punk shows in my hometown of Peoria Illinois. During the late 90's and early 2000's, the city was well established as a hot music hub. However, it was never really portrayed as a scene that could operate on a national level. I often wondered why. It was certainly bustling with activity, It just never gained the kind of notoriety like some secondary cities like Minneapolis, Athens, Austin, or even maybe a place like Portland received.
Was it the fact that it was being overshadowed by the much larger metropolis of Chicago? Was it the fact that no real major highways intersected with Peoria, thus making it harder for touring bands to come through? Was it the fact that many of the bands that Peoria bred didn't play much outside of their central Illinois surroundings? There were exceptions, but the average lifespan of a band only lasted for about three years. Plus, one should take in account that there wasn't really any local record labels championing the scene like some cities do. Again, there were exceptions, but it never quite reached passed the confines of a particular clique. Was there even a signature "local scene sound" to begin with?
Whatever the reason was, Peoria in itself was an isolated bubble breeding a lot of bands that were ultimately left to their own devices. In that regard, it produced a lot of interesting talent. I would almost go as far as to say that some truly original sounds came out of that town. As cookie cutter as Peoria was, there is no underestimating some of the ingenuity and quality that it produced.
One could argue that that were hundreds of second cities operating on the same wavelength. What was Akron Ohio up to in the summer of 1999? What was the Spokane Washington scene like in 2000? What bands existed? What shows were taking place? What clubs were open? Were there any labels documenting their neck of the woods? This is a discussion that could span an entire encyclopedia of long lost bands and records.
I had an arsenal of old flyers that I had collected through the years of my youth. I was recently able to scan some of them in to share them with you fine folks. Perhaps they don't communicate anything more than a standard xeroxed punk flyer. It's a certain art form that although primitive and crude, holds a certain charm that could never be reproduced in a more professional arena. There is a lot of mysterious storytelling in these flyers. Who made them? What was the thought process like behind some of these designs? So many unanswered questions lost to the ages. Like artifacts from an ancient forgotten scene.