Instant gratification. That’s the name of the game these days with music fans. With a few clicks of the mouse and a quick trip to Google one can go and find almost any album by any artist. And while today’s mainstream artists are hardly starving, it’s safe to say not many are making money off of albums and that’s the trend we’ve been seeing since Napster started.
I mean hell, look at Britney Spears’ most recent release Circus. She had to host an infomercial on MTV just to sell her CD (aptly titled For the Record). She played the “feel sorry for me” card quite well and guess what? It actually worked — she’s selling albums. So are infomercials the way to go? Artists as huge as Britney have to stoop to this level of salesmanship. Artists are struggling to find new and inventive ways to market their music. The industry is in knots trying to figure out how to market and distribute albums, but also do so at a minimal cost.
READ ON to find out just what sets UM’s Mantis apart from the pack…
There are nights that change your life that you are conscious of as they are happening. Some you realize the next day or a few days later. Looking back, April 18, 1994 was a night that my life changed forever and it took me 14 years to realize just how important it was. It’s the day I walked out of my dorm room down South College Avenue and into the Bob Carpenter Center on the campus of the University of Delaware for my first Phish show.
Some dude, fittingly named Jimmy, that lived on my floor literally walked down the hall handing out tickets to anyone that wanted one and in a giant pack, we were off. At that point, I knew as much about Phish as your average Northeast Corridor college student in 1994 – the drummer wore a dress and played a vacuum, they were sort of like the Grateful Dead but I wasn’t sure how and they had a catchy song called Bouncing Around the Room. But the legend of their concerts had already begun to spread and I knew if nothing else, it was a great chance to get wasted with a lot of other people.
It turned out to be a fuck of a lot more than that.
On paper, my first show boasted your typical 1994 setlist. There were some oddities – a Mike’s Song with no Weekapaug Groove, a dedication of Ya Mar by Trey to his now wife Sue. But the music was mindblowing to a guy who had never heard it before. The tone that Trey squeezed out of that guitar, the jazzy way Page would insert himself into the mix, Gordon thumping away in his bright green jumpsuit, and that guy in the dress behind the kit holding it together with precision and power. And the overall combination of humor and seriously that always underlined Phish’s approach to performing. I can still close my eyes and see my view of the stage that night. I recall standing there during 2001 with the lights going and the music rocking and thinking I was seeing something special. I remember the bizarreness of My Friend My Friend and the rocking cover of Good Times Bad Times. I remember almost everything about that night.
READ ON for more of Luke’s thoughts on the return of the Phish…
When I heard Phish was breaking up I was on a condo bed in Falmouth, MA listening to Tortoise’s opus It’s All Around You. The windows and doors were open to let the sea air in. The sky was foreboding grey, a hue that would loom over Cape Cod for the duration of that day. I will never forget how I felt that moment. And like today, October 1 2008, I will never forget the barrage of texts I got at 8:01 am when I turned my phone on. The air was crisp and really starting to feel like the fall. The White Sox clinched a playoff birth the night before with a very dramatic finish at The Cell. The election was in full swing with a focus on our ever diminishing economy. Our community was ready for some good news which is exactly what we got.
And this news took me way back. Back to my living room window in the fall of ’96. My sister saw a Fed Ex truck park in front of my house and took off running out the front door to basically tackle the driver for our Fall ’96 tour tickets. She hits a spot of wet leaves at full speed and takes a mean digger. The driver knew this sort of behavior to be the norm at the Wilby house when tickets were arriving but hit the ground laughing all the same. There is just a feeling of anticipation you can’t describe.
That is the innocence of “The Presale”. Not one note has been played. Hotel rooms start getting booked. Travel plans start their evolution towards full blown ragers. Old friends are telephoned to rehash war stories and lay plans for the wars on the horizon. For all we know and truly believe in our hearts…these are the best shows they will ever play. The boys are getting back together and that, for this interval of innocence, is the ONLY thing that matters. You can’t get this moment of time back. Once those first notes are hit, the inevitable hate train will go back on course, ready to chastise the band at every wrong note or blown transition. But now….now is the golden age of anticipation. All is good. All is forgiven.
READ ON for more of Wade’s thoughts on the comeback of Phish…
Don’t you just love it when you spend the morning hunkered down over your computer trying to score concert tickets only to find out a few hours later that a second or third date was added?
Concert tickets are damn expensive these days and scoring good seats not only means shelling out a few hundred bucks, but also putting in the time and effort to secure the tickets. The days of lining up outside a venue or visiting the local ticketmaster outlet are long gone. These days it’s all internet. So when 9:55 am rolls around, the refreshing begins and the nonsensical passwords are typed in at a furious pace.
My question is this – how does adding additional dates work? Are these dates booked all along and promoters just wait till one night has sold out to announce the second? Are the second nights just on some kind of a “hold” until the first night has sold out? Probably some kind of combination of that and more.
READ ON for more of Luke’s editorial on adding dates…
The squeak of the sneakers at a basketball game…the calls of “peanuts” or “ice cold beer here” at a baseball game…the clack of the puck on the tape…
The sounds you used to hear throughout the course of a sporting event were the common noises from the field and the occasional organ ditty. If a team really wanted to go out on a limb, maybe they’d pipe in the beat of We Will Rock You once in a while.
These days, it’s more like a bad iPod playlist serving as the background music to our sporting events.
Most stadiums and arenas, which are now closer to shopping malls than sports venues, rely heavily on blasting (usually crappy) music and crowd cues to generate “energy.” READ ON for more of Luke’s editorial on music at the ballpark…
Hope this letter finds you well and deeply buried under stacks of CDs trying to find the best choice for the next Live Phish release.
With all due respect to Trey’s upcoming June release, I wanted to take a few moments and suggest a few gems for the next Live Phish installment. Trey’s releases are fine but as far as generating excitement and that “I can’t wait to hear THAT” feeling, they are…meh at best. You don’t exactly hear things like, “Man, I simply must have crispy copies of that raging Mud City.”
Through the years, Live Phish has put some truly magical archival shows out for our enjoyment, including 12-29-97, the incredible Island Run in 1998, the 1996 mayhem in Vegas and the back-to-back winter 1994 shows from Olympia and Salem. We thank you profusely for those.
READ ON to see Luke’s five suggestions for future Live Phish releases…
I’m only 34 years old but there are certain occasions where I feel very old. Last month, my wife and I went ice skating in Central Park. As the young whipper-snappers zipped around the ice and bounced back from falling with a smile and a shake (all as I lay there holding my throbbing knee and aching back), I felt old. When I can’t stay up till midnight on a Friday night, I feel old. And when I look at the Billboard music chart, I really feel old.
This week’s Top 5 songs are:
1. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
2. Lil Wayne Featuring Static Major – Lollipop
3. Jordin Sparks Duet with Chris Brown – No Air
4. Usher Featuring Young Jeezy – Love In This Club
5. Mariah Carey – Touch My Body
I have to confess – I haven’t heard any of those songs once. And other than Mariah Carey; I couldn’t pick any of the artists out of a lineup. I don’t watch American Idol. I gave up on MTV 10 years ago and I never listen to the radio. So I guess it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the top songs in the country are foreign to me.
Read on to find out who topped the charts 20 years ago…
Saying there are an abundance of music festivals these days is like saying Britney Spears kind of lost it for a while there…it’s a major understatement.
It seems like every day there is a new festival with a new name and a new promoter in a different part of the world. The annual staples – Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, New Orleans’ JazzFest, Lollapalooza – are being challenged by newer festivals with slick names that can draw big name acts to sites near major cities making travel in and out easier than ever. Nothing ruins a festival experience faster than poor organization in terms of getting fans in and out.
It used to be one or two musical festivals a year would dot the landscape of the concert scene. But this year, it’s looked more like an urban jungle with festivals popping up everywhere. This isn’t a bad thing as more festivals means more chances for fans to see more music they probably wouldn’t pay to see on its own. At a festival, you can check out multiple bands throughout any given day and skip the bands you don’t want to see. Read on for more…
No matter how much success a musician has found or how many sold out shows that person has played over the years, he or she should never forget what got them to the top of the mountain: the fans. The hard-working, 9 am – 5 pm fans who pay good money to attend shows, buy merchandise and, at least before the digital revolution, buy albums.
On Saturday night, my wife and I trekked up to the United Palace Theater in New York City to see Van Morrison, an icon and legend in the music world. The man has put out enough albums to fill a CD rack and has played the best venues around the world for the last 30 years. He knows what he is and the fans know too. He’s a musical genius. A guy with a voice so smooth and silky, it can hypnotize you. He’s funky and jazzy and has one of the most distinct voices in all of music. He is almost mystical. But he’s also clueless.
Fans, including my wife and I, shelled out anywhere from $80 to $350 for tickets and fees to see Morrison perform for a mere 92 minutes on Saturday night. The set was mind-blowing. A fusion of jazz, funk and rock with just enough lullaby to melt you into your seat, Morrison crafted a setlist of mostly newer material and selections from his forth-coming album filled with life and eclectic punch. It was a wonderful set of music. But it wasn’t enough. With a ticket time of 7:30 SHARP (The word SHARP actually appeared on the ticket), Morrison was off the stage and probably on his way to a nice steak dinner before most New York City concerts even get started. It was 9:02 pm and he was already giving a half-hearted bow to the crowd. Read on to find out why Luke thinks Van isn’t the Man…
One of the bright spots of 2007 in the blog world was when Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein started Monitor Mix for NPR. Brownstein offers insightful looks at the music world on both a micro and macro level. I’m usually a big fan of her writing, but her latest entry is disappointing as fuck.
Brownstein offered a rehashing of the same arguments against Vampire Weekend’s quick rise to fame that we’ve already read from Spin, the Village Voice and a buncha shitty blogs. And just like everyone else Brownstein admits she likes the album. Yes, we all know they’ve only released one album, and we don’t know if the next one will continue the trend.
But why do all of these journalist spend one line saying they like the album, and then three paragraphs trying to knock VW down? I’d usually ignore Brownstein’s ramblings and move on, but what she did next was particularly uncouth. She drops a photo of a Sperry Top-Sider, and admits her hesitation to fully embrace Vampire Weekend might stem from “the fact that if you take preppy yacht rock too far, you end up back at Jimmy Buffet.”
Why are so many people that are supposedly about “the music” spending so much time talking about Vampire Weekend’s fashion sense and Ivy League educations? I’m sensing some major jealousy. I guess if critics fawned over every note I made, yet I couldn’t sell records to save my life I’d be jealous too. Meanwhile, I still find new parts of Vampire Weekend’s album that catch my ear. But why discuss the actual music when we can just guffaw at preppy and yacht?