I was in middle school when I started giving up on “mainstream” sources of new music.  It was then that I realized that every radio station on the dial played the same 40-50 songs in constant rotation.  I also learned that my friends’ older brothers were a great resource for music that you just were not going to hear on MTV or Rock 101. I remember going to friends’ houses armed with 90 minute Maxell cassettes ready to make a copy of anybody I had never heard of.  

As I ventured off the beaten musical path of my peers I discovered that Social Distortion blew my 10-year-old mind, Camper van Beethoven was completely different, and the Dead Milkmen… well, they had a funny name, I suppose.

With age and technology my means of discovering new music expanded over the years.  In addition to sharing music with friends that I knew, the Internet allowed me to share with people I would never meet.  More significant to my development, however, was the live concert. I do not mean the mega-show at the Bi-Lo Center or any other venue named after a grocery chain, bank, or cell-phone provider.  I mean the band you have never heard of playing in a smoky room in front of a crowd of less than 100 people. This is musical discovery and it has fueled my musical appetite for almost 20 years.

I remember sneaking into The Handlebar to see Cake when I was 17 years old.  This was when The Handlebar was (way) on the West End and Cake could not fill a room the size of my den.  In college I was always drawn to a live performance even though most of what was available at the time was mediocre (at best) cover bands playing songs I did not like enough to hear the original versions of.  It was not until I lived in Indianapolis that I discovered a legitimate, local music scene that could satisfy my hunger for new music.  

The biggest thing I missed about Indianapolis when I returned to South Carolina 10 years ago was the ability to see a different live band at a different venue 6 or 7 nights a week.  I remember paying a $2 cover at The Patio on Monday just because the beers were cheap and a band was on stage.  Sure, a lot of these bands stunk but many made my Monday way more enjoyable than network television ever could have.  

Now  I find myself in downtown Greenville and again have access to plenty of live music venues just a short walk away (including the “new” Handlebar which I promise to only enter honestly now that I am well past legal age).  However, parenthood and other responsibilities that come with the aging process preclude us from walking out the door at every whim to see what may or may not be good.  The times of going to see a band we have never heard of just because we can are gone and we have to go back to doing a little research first. 

This is where Dan Manor comes in… it is the title of the article so you had to assume I would get to it eventually…

Dan Manor is the brainchild of Daniel McCord. If you are a frequent reader of this site you will recognize his name as our friend, neighbor, creator of the 12in2012 project, and the guy that introduced us to GeorgeThroop.  Daniel is a photographer and filmmaker and has his finger on the pulse of just about all the good music that comes out of (and even through) the Upstate.

Dan Manor started as the name of Daniel’s house.  I am not sure how palatial a home has to be to qualify as a “manor” but my hunch is that he has taken some creative liberties with the official definition.  Regardless, it is a cozy establishment with a great screened-in porch which usually serves as the center of musical festivities.  On any given night of the week you are likely to find somebody with a guitar or even a full band setting up shop on the Dan Manor porch.

This is where Daniel does what he does best.  He puts his passion for film and music together in a setting he calls home.  He hosts friends, local musicians and even bands passing through town to play a song or a set on his porch.  He films their art, adds his own and shares it with all of us that were not lucky to see the performance first hand.  

Actually, these days, performances are no longer confined to the Dan Manor porch.  Armed with his video camera and knack for knowing where the good stuff is going down, Daniel now shoots as many videos away from home as he does on his porch.  

Regardless of where the performances are filmed, this is the website to visit to learn about local music.  Click on Dan Manor right now and you will find an excess of local and regional artists performing in the most personal and intimate of settings.  Daniel captures the essence of who the performers are and their passion for what they do.  For many of these artists this website is the perfect introduction before seeing them live and in person at your favorite local music venue such as The Handlebar, Smiley’s, Velo Fellow, or countless other Greenville hotspots. 

Dan Manor features local and regional artists but is anything but a promotional website. You do not visit Dan Manor to see when the next cool show is because there is no calendar of events.  You do not visit Dan Manor and feel like you missed some great concert because Daniel shares it as if you were there.  Dan Manor is driven solely by the love for Greenville’s musical talent and the desire to share that talent with the community. 

It is simple, it is honest, and maybe most importantly, it is nearly anonymous.  Daniel stays behind the camera and shares what he enjoys and asks nothing in return for anyone involved.  It is up to you to remember the name of the bands you like and make the effort to find out where you might see them for yourself.  He makes the introduction but you have to do the legwork from there and you can rest assured, it will be worth the effort.  

Dan Manor provides a unique window to the Upstate music scene. Once you look through this window and like what you see, we suspect you will be inspired to walk through a few more doors. Enjoy the trip and make sure you thank Daniel when you see him along the way.

Seriously, he is pretty hard to miss.

Pic stolen from Daniel's beard blog...
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