The Lost Scene
During the first decade of the new millennium, the Adrian music scene raged on. Adrian, the largest city in the rural Southeastern Michigan county of Lenawee, is home to Adrian College, Siena Heights University, and a satellite campus of Jackson College. However, it was the local high school students that led and organized the local music scene. Around 2003 teen-led punk/metal/hardcore bands emerged, breaking away from the established norm of classic rock cover bands, and dominated the scene until 2011. At its peak the local scene had dozens of active bands and was pulling in bands from Jackson, Kalamazoo, Metro Detroit, and Toledo to play alongside them in makeshift concert venues. And then it all stopped.
“It left with us” Dustin Miller of Vigil summarizes his perspective of the collapse of the scene in Adrian. Dustin along with his brother Dylan and friend Steven Eiter formed Vigil in 2004. While many community members were focused on their long hair and head banging other young musicians paid more attention to their tight, precise cadences; naming Vigil the “band’s band”. After graduating high school and moving on to college and careers Vigil found they had less time available to play shows. By 2010 the majority of people that were a part of the scene had left Adrian or had no time to play, resulting in the scene virtually disappearing by 2011. The synced timelines of these young people graduating and leaving Adrian and the scene dying are the reason Dusty, and others, say that the scene left when they did.
It can’t possibly be that simple. Now, most community venues sit empty or closed, and annual events have been discontinued. What happened to this community and culture? Why did younger kids, those that would have graduated high school in 2010-2014 not continue to put on shows and rally together around live events? Did the ’08 recession and cuts to arts funding affect the scene? Some answers are found as former scene members reminisce and a new generation attempts to revive the scene.