Monday, September 2, 2013

Watching and Listening to Fests.

I know it's killing music. More than file sharing, more than Spotify, failing to actually go to gigs is killing music. However, I do go to at least 10 shows a year. That's not a huge number, I know, but if you do the math- generally speaking 100 miles on my car, 20 bucks for the ticket (on average) buying 50 bucks worth of merch at the show, sometimes missing work- those 10 shows are over a thousand dollars, and I can't say that I spend over a grand a year on my own musical equipment, you know?
So, yes, I'll watch Fests that stream over the internet, rather than spending 300 bucks or more on tickets, and 500 bucks on airfare/hotels/travel. I know that most of the bands that play these fests are mid level,  just trying to make enough of a living so that they can pay off their mortgage. I know that they are relying upon ticket sales on these fests to get by,  because album sales are doing nothing, Itunes and Spotify don't pay hardly at all, and even Hot Topic sells more Video game themed T shirts than music-related.
However- Perry Ferrell never offered to help pay the licensing fee on my radio station. Ice T never once even tried to promote my sound system company. Yet, that's exactly what they wanted from me. I picked those two because I had to pay Perry's management company for access to Lollapalooza artists, for promo bits on my struggling radio station,  and I played Ice T's Body Count record on my sound system at live shows as a promo for his management. So, having worked the business, I gotta say they can go stuff the whining. I still feel for the bands out there slogging at it for beer money- the bands playing either 100+ club dates a year, only to find that DIY pays them less than Denny's, and the bands who just don't tour, because  playing 7 or 8 gigs a year, locally, is about what they can handle with their day jobs- those bands will get my understanding, and my money a lot quicker- but the bands relying upon the big festivals so's they can afford a middle class lifestyle? I know them, and their kind a little too well to have much sympathy.
So, hells to the yeah, I have watched and listened to the free live streams for both Bumbershoot and Made in America, this weekend.
Some random takeaways:
1. Bumbershoot is old school in every way that counts. The majority of what I got from it was the streaming radio from KEXP . Seattle City Limits, anyone?
2. Made in America has totally become a Budweiser brand party. Budweiser is straight up cornflake soda tasting pisswater. That's really too bad. Jay Z should exercise a bit more curatorial power, right? Ever consider that maybe he's not exactly the "boss" he claims he is? Ever consider he's probably just a figurehead? Yeah, so why do you think anybody buys that?
3. As for the bands- one line for each of these:
FIDLAR: they are the next Offspring.
Superchunk: much better live than the last record.
Baroness: missed 'em, and I am sad.
Bob Mould: While the joy is wearing thin, I still prefer well-adjusted Bob to the Bob of 1991, and he's forever St Bob in my mind.
Gary Numan: You're only allowed so many victory laps before you've got to win a new race.
The Breeders: Charles might be a cold and distant dude, but she left the Pixies twice for this???
Heart: Holy shit, they brought it.
Kendrick Lamar: missed this set, but caught the Made in America set. Meh.
Made In America:
Mord Fustang: Really? Brooklyn Hipsters?
Public Enemy: Old, and Fat, but there's a fire still there.
Phoenix: I don't get it. Sorry.
Fitz and the Tantrums: They brought it, but I didn't want it.
Wavves: Sloppy, and not in a good way.
Kendrick Lamar: Meh.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: It was a really good single.
QOTSA: Better set than Lollapalooza, but not excellent.
NIN: Trent is on steroids.
( a few extra lines on NIN: I think Trent even knows that the new LP is just to get product out there: two drummers on stage, and heavy on the early 1990's for the set list. Trent really must be on Steroids, though- he looks like Lyle Alzado with a hair cut. I can't wait for ten years from now when Trent does a testicular atrophy themed LP between liver treatments...)

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