Richard Patrick, lead vocalist for Filter, performs. Filter will be headlining a concert at the Robert Cherry Civic Center on Wednesday.
Jeremiah Hunt, drummer, and Michael Lynch, lead guitarist for Powdered God, play a show. Powdered God will be one of two local acts opening for Filter at the Civic Center on Aug. 1.
When he heard that Filter, a multiplatinum recording artist that helped shape alternative music in the ’90s, would be playing at the Robert Cherry Civic Center, Tom Ingle just made a joke.
“I said, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be great if they asked our band to open for them? I certainly was not expecting it to happen, but it happened,” said Ingle, the bassist for Powdered God. “Of its type, this is the biggest band that we’ve had (in Paducah) in years.”
Tommy McElrath, co-founder of Ground Zero Promotions, said it was his goal to find local music to fill the two opening slots at the concert coming Wednesday. The promoters negotiated one spot for local rock trio Thick as Thieves, but faced some difficulty getting a second local act booked. Filter’s promoters included Menew, another national, signed band, on the lineup.
“Ultimately, we decided that the second local spot was worth fighting for. The following day, I called Filter’s tour manager to pick that fight. I was expecting a mountain of resistance from him, but to his credit he offered almost none,” said McElrath. After an audition Friday, Powdered God was added to the ticket, alongside Menew and Thick as Thieves.
Now, McElrath and members of both bands hope the fight to keep the local performances will pay off in the form of larger acts and more opportunities for original bands in the Purchase area.
Like many other local bands, Powdered God has found it difficult — though not impossible — to promote themselves.
Ingle said he started the band nearly 13 years ago with vocalist and rhythm guitarist Mike Alderdice. Over the past four years, Powdered God has evolved from a group of musicians playing in coffeehouses into a four-member rock and roll band, with Michael Lynch on lead guitar and Jeremy Holder on drums.
But whether or not the band is ready for a larger audience may be a moot point in Paducah, where alternative bands often struggle to find a mid-size venue they can afford.
“The Carson Center is an amazing facility,” McElrath said. “But it is just way too expensive for anything other than artists who can fill 1,800 seats, or artists whose audiences can and will pay a premium to see the artist in that venue.”
Smaller venues offer their own set of challenges, as well. “Many bars in the area are just not set up as performance venues. Most don’t have a real stage, and even the ones that do often have impediments that limit capacity or create an unfriendly architecture,” McElrath said.
For bands like Powdered God, finding an audience may also be part of the problem. “Places, without regard to whether or songs are good or bad, want to hear something familiar,” Alderdice said. “That’s what you get in every bar you play here, either cover bands or someone wanting to hear one.”
“We’re a band that doesn’t like playing other bands’ music. I’ve always been of the philosophy that if you want to see a band play Fuel covers, just go see Fuel,” Ingle said.
nonetheless, musicians and promoters alike see the potential in the Purchase area.
Paducah’s geography has always had the potential to bring in artists on the way to bigger cities, which could mean more supporting spots for local musicians. “(Paducah) is kind of a go-between. We’re surrounded by big towns within a three- to six-hour drive,” Alderdice said.
While they are thrilled to be opening for Filter, the members of Powdered God are not about to quit their day jobs, Ingle said. “We are gonna knuckle down a little bit harder. We’ll write some new music and keep promoting ourselves,” Ingle said.
Call Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.
Who: Filter, with Menew, Thick as Thieves, and Powdered God
What: Live concert
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Robert Cherry Civic Center, Paducah