Noted music critic emerges from shadows
Cripsy Duck, one of this town's noted music critics and the man known in real life as Stephen Barling, author of dozens of music reviews from September '99 to May '01, has finally released his back catalog.
"People have been asking to see them again," says Barling, who adds that he doesn't think the Charlottesville music scene has changed much since his Crawl. "There are still a lot of bands and no central organization," he says.
The unusual moniker came from an error on China Star Restaurant's menu and ended up inside the brain o' then club-hopping Barling. Back in the day, one of Cripsy's favorite venues was the Prism.
"They had acoustic shows in a living room setting. National acts loved that place because it was very intimate," he says. "Gravity Lounge is picking up some of the slack, though, and they have a lot of diversity in their acts."
Though he has trouble deciding, Barling says the best show he ever saw in Charlottesville was probably The Dead Kennedys at Trax in the '80s.
"I gave up," he explains. "No money. Going out every night to see bands I didn't know or care about. That's a young man's game."
But in a city with as much culture as Charlottesville, can Barling ever really escape music? Nope. He's half of the duo called B.C. or Barling and Collins.
"I'm sure I'll write about music again because I imagine people aren't all that excited to listen to me rant about politics," he says.
Besides writing Cripsy's Crawl for the old C-ville Weekly, Barling more recently penned a few pieces for a gossip blog called the Cvillain, but he notes that his music reviews there were "more about the conversation than the content." He could spend a long time writing a review, he says, but if it wasn't controversial enough, no one would comment. "You need to get up and say something like 'The Outback sucks!' on that site," he says.
Cripsy started his new blog because he wanted the freedom to write about "this exciting political race we have going." He adds that the blog, which has had about 600 hits since it was first posted about a week and a half ago, will most likely also cover music.
"There's still a need," he says. "There's not a lot of live reviewing going on. There aren't a lot of people going out and pounding the pavement."