Two heavy events coming up in Springfield this week - the first primary election under the new ward system plus the release of a new CD by one of Springfield's most successful bands. First let's talk about the election.
I've always felt that reformers have pinned too much of their hopes on the return of ward representation, but the switch has none the less been a positive force for change thus far, but mainly through the retirement of veterans who may not have survived under the new system. Unfortunately two of them, Bruce Stebbins and Pat Markey, were the most talented members of the council.
Fortunately there is no shortage of new talent anxious to pick up where Stebbins and Markey left off. The real fireworks will be in the November final election, but the primary is still important since the best talent may be eliminated before the finals. Of course I don't live in Springfield anymore, but if I did I would support these candidates at the polls this Tuesday.
Ward Two: Michael Fenton - Talented and idealistic newcomer would be a breath of fresh air on the stale clowncil.
Who to vote against: Robert Underwood - He gives libertarianism a bad name.
Ward Five: Carol Lewis Caulton - Years ago voters foolishly removed this former councilor. Now is their chance to correct their error.
Who to vote against: DeJuan Brown - He's Chelan's husband.
Ward Six: Victor Davilla - This veteran activist has earned a seat on the council through years of toiling for the public good behind the scenes.
Who to vote against: Amaad Rivera - A virtual socialist.
Ward Seven: Alexander Sherman - This bright young talent is anxious and able to offer the city first class service with a focus on fiscal responsibility.
Who to vote against: Michael Rodgers - He loved Albano.
Ward Eight: John Lysak - Dynamic leadership is what voters can expect if they show the wisdom to elect this expert manager.
Who to vote against: In a rariety for a Springfield contest, a surprisingly strong field in this ward with no obvious assholes.
So that's how I would choose. Remember this is Springfield, so vote early and often.
I will be voting in the mayoral primary in Northampton, where I will cast my vote for M. Clare Higgins.
People say that Springfield is overshadowed culturally by its smaller northern neighbor Northampton. But Springfield never gets the credit it deserves as the regional center of heavy metal culture. The most successful offshoot of that scene is Staind, but close behind is the group Shadows Fall. Their website boasts:
Before the so-called “New Wave of American Heavy Metal” was even a ripple, Shadows Fall were there. Emerging from Springfield, Massachusetts in 1995, this D.I.Y. band ultimately found legions of fans, worldwide fame, two Grammy nominations, and even a song on Guitar Hero. Of course, none of this came from luck. Instead, hard work and musical innovation have been the forces propelling Shadows Fall, continually revealing ever more of this band’s greatness. They are beyond simply best-in-class; in so many ways, Shadows Fall – with their unmistakable, seamless blend of metal and hard rock - have grown to help define the very essence of modern aggressive music.
One reviewer adds:
Though Boston gets all the attention for just about everything Massachusetts-related, the Springfield area in the western part of the state should be noticed for its fine music scene. In fact, the hard rock and heavy metal scene alone has a long list of talented bands worth headbanging to, and a few have them like Staind and Killswitch Engage have broken through to become known well beyond Springfield. Another band gaining popularity is Shadows Fall.
The band is sometimes lumped into the "metalcore" subgenre due to their style of heavy verses and melodically sung choruses. However, their choruses are not nearly as starkly contrasted with their verses as those of say Killswitch Engage. Shadows Fall blend the two together in a more seamless fashion, usually keeping the choruses just as loud and intense as the verses.
Translation: There ain't hardly a melody to be found, but lots of energy and loud guitars. Who could ask for more? This video comes from the new album out September 15th.