The Student News Site of Ithaca College

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Practice At ignites hard-rock scene

A local promoter sees limitless possibilities for local hard-rock musicians and fans.

Water Bears performing for an intrigued crowd at a Practice At show. (Jack Berth/Ithaca Week)

Aaron Robbins runs local promoter Practice At and has been booking multiple shows per week, providing opportunities for local and college bands to get acclimated to the scene.

Wanting to Provide Spaces

Robbins initially started playing music in Ithaca with a band called Cobra Cadaver at Pete’s, but when they stopped accepting performers, Robbins wanted to keep it going, wanting to look elsewhere in the community.

“When we were at Pete’s booking one place, it was kind of boring,” Robbins said.

As a promoter, Robbins is able to be a filter between venues and bands, communicating with both to create shows.

Robbins met plenty of other bands while performing at Pete’s and through those collaborations, had the idea of creating opportunities for people to perform in the Ithaca area, seeing not that many people taking that chance.

“We don’t have a lot of other promoters doing that kind of thing anymore,” Robbins said.

Robbins has full control in contacting the venues, the bands, and if need be, door guys, as he wants to make it certain people are coming out to Practice At shows.

“Do what I can to fill the place,” Robbins said.

Appreciation from Bands

Robbins has primarily focused on getting rock and other harder genres of music opportunities to perform, even taking chances on blooming college bands.

Wallace Petruziello, a band member of Little Slicer, has worked with Robbins at performances at the Rest Gallery and most recently at Deep Dive and likes to see someone passionate about making shows happen.

Petruziello performing with his band Little Slicer at The Rest for Practice At. (Jack Berth/Ithaca Week)

“It was very nice to see somebody who insists on making shows happen regularly,” Petruziello said.

Petruziello tried to book and organize shows after things started opening up after COVID but struggled as he did not have the connections that Robbins did.

Mike Amadeo, a member of Water Bears, acknowledges the DIY scene growing because of Practice At, continuing grounds laid out by the Ithaca Underground.

“Meeting people through the DIY scene creates a sense of community,” Amadeo said.

Practice At Reflecting the Music Community

Robbins gives all of the earnings from Practice At shows to the bands, and sometimes the venue, taking none of the money, as creating a strong music community is integral to him.

“Cultivating community is pretty important,” Robbins said.

Amadeo agrees with how important community building in music is, and sees that Robbins is “booking for all the right reasons.”

Mike Amadeo playing with his band Water Bears, supporting the things Robbins is doing with Practice At. (Jack Berth/Ithaca Week)

Similar to what many of the venues are starting to do in Ithaca, Robbins is continuing the want for all-ages shows, which provides chances.

“It’s important for newer bands to have somewhere to play,” Robbins said.

Not only does he give new bands a chance, he then continues to support them and give them opportunities, which is a big reason Little Slicer is able to book better and better shows.

“It seems that everybody he works with he brings with open arms and insists on bringing them in regularly,” Petruziello said.

Practice At Staying On Track

Robbins remained humble about the impact Practice At has had on bands and venues within Ithaca, wanted to stay focused, and keeps the opportunities rolling, not caring if it is gaining or not gaining traction.

“I don’t keep track of it too much,” Robbins said. “I just keep my head in the ground and do my own thing.”

Poster demonstrating exactly what Ithaca needs to do for the music community. (Jack Berth/Ithaca Week)

Robbins said he has shows booked for the whole summer, even until September, with his “ultimate goal” being to have his own space to have his shows, but for now, he wants to make Ithaca a music destination.

“Ithaca is such a cool scene,” Robbins said. “It would be great to have bands around the country play here.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to Ithaca Week

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ithaca College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Ithaca Week

Comments (0)

All Ithaca Week Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *