Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dancebeats and Street Fighter II: A Review

Thursday, May  26th  - 10:45pm
Location:  Doug Fir Lounge

    In the midst of a sample of the Specials’ “Message To You Rudy”, the euphoria of the moment strikes me.
    We’re maybe six songs into DoublePlusGood’s set, and I’m two beers in. If I went for a third, I’d probably start dancing like the guy over to my left - (a sort of flailing about that includes gratuitous trunk and arm movement, not just the feet) - But currently, I’m happy doing my “white-boy-nod-and-shuffle” dance.
    Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little bit out of my element with this. My knowledge of electro-pop is limited, (at best).  I do have the first two Fischerspooner albums; I love the Postal Service, (and I have a deep-seeded dislike of Owl City because of it). I know my way around the mainstream late 90’s Big-Beat electronica folks - Chemical Brothers, Crystal Method, Fatboy Slim, etc…. I even have an obsession with Underworld and the Orb.  I know my 80’s synth-pop pretty well - Hell, I even like the KLF, for God’s sake… So, I wouldn’t say I’m completely retarded in regard to this kind of music.
    But, seeing DoublePlusGood play live was more transcending than the term “electro-pop”, that might be tossed about as description.
    The beats are completely danceable, (even to an uptight white-boy, like myself). The synths are ever-changing and layered, not just a fat Moog sound with a disco-beat. Andy’s live drumming notches up the intensity of several songs with near-primal tom usage that strays away from the kick-snare-hi-hat combination.
    By now, a couple of my friends have moved up closer to the stage, mere inches from the moniters, now leaving me in the 2nd row as the music pulsates away.  I’m fine with this.
    Up on stage, Eric is singing and master-minding the synth and computer-work during the whole set. Between each song there’s barely a break, usually a scattering of samples that work to immerse the audience - giving me the feeling that I’m seeing/hearing/feeling the greatest mix album ever… (and yes, that means that Lo-Fidelity Allstars’ “On The Floor At The Boutique” has fallen to 2nd place, in my book….)
    To sum up my viewpoint of what I’m hearing is this:
Morrissey fronting the coolest electro band ever.
    Because not only are you getting hit with the beat and the music, what you’re also hearing are great songs. No, not just something to shake your ass to, but perfectly executed songs!
     Being nearly 30 and having three kids makes it difficult to get out and see local shows, (and if you’re single or don’t have any kids, then you really have no excuses). But, the stars had aligned and I was able to come out and make this show at the Doug Fir.  I found this show rejuvenating and, (most of all), a hell of a lot of fun.  As serious as the songs are, there’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek, exemplified by the Street Fighter samples or a Rihanna cover.
    So, thank you DoublePlusGood - you made my week…
    Two things though….
1. Please, please, please play “Red Light Green Light” live sometime…
2. Please, please, please cover New Order's "Temptation".... And then my life will be complete.

    Now, on to that third beer…

This week’s song of the week is:  “Faster” by Manic Street Preachers
    This song was the only single off their album “The Holy Bible” back in 1994. I’d put every song on that album up here, but I will try to contain myself. With song topics ranging from anorexia, the holocaust, and hopelessness - this album deserves your attention. This album is a stroke of intelligent lyricism and scathing brutality that I still don’t fully understand… And it makes me feel like I should be reading way more books on existentialism…
    Either way, here it is - the Preachers before Richey Edwards disappeared off the face of the earth, leaving the rest of the band to UK super-stardom and, (unfortunately), less vital music…..

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Inside the Process….(Part 2)

After last week's show, it's probably a suitable time for me to finish up on the topic of Booking.
We covered the dive bars last time, so now we're looking at:

2.  Legitimate Venue
     The focus of playing these nicer venues is to have better exposure to new fans and to encourage old fans/friends to come see you in a better (nicer) environment. As far as nights to play at these venues, the old rules apply, (Friday and Saturdays are best), however, you should be happy with any night they offer you - seeing as how these venues generate a different kind of clientele.
     So you want to get a gig at one of these places? Allow me to elaborate.... First, (for your viewing pleasure)...

     The easiest way to get a show is to kindly, (but persistently), pester other bands who frequent that venue. Or, even better, if you know someone who knows someone in said band, perhaps you can get a show via that route. If you're able to score a gig through either of these ways, don't expect much more than an opening slot, and keep in mind that random acquaintances and luck play a huge part in this method.
     The other, (more complicated), way is to directly contact the person who does booking for the venue. This'll mostly happen via e-mail. If the booker is receptive to having  your band play, they may allow you to pick the line-up for that night.
      Now, this is where it gets tricky. The venue wants to make money on whatever night they give you, so they're going to pay attention to how many people you bring in. If you don't pull in enough people, the booker is going to note it, and this can adversely effect the possibility of your band playing said venue again.
     So, if you are organizing that night's line-up, you need to consider getting some bands who can generate a crowd on the bill. Also, you definitely need to promo your ass off in order to get as many people to that show as possible. With these kinds of venues, first impressions are super important, so do your best to pack these shows.
     Now, venues sometimes have a bigger band than yours *possibly* scheduled for a night that the venue has set aside, (perhaps a Friday night, for example.....) The booker may offer you that night and have your band as a "second hold." If you and your band can organize your bill and get confirmations for the show before the bigger band gets their stuff together, then your band'll probably get that night.   ....(My band Hutson  had a similar situation with booking our CD release show at the Someday Lounge)....
     Another thing to consider when playing these venues is the issue of over-exposure.  Since it's easy to get booked in dive bars, you can book your band out to play 2 or more shows a month around your local metropolis. The problem with this, is that you've now spread your fanbase out to too many shows and now your turnout is going to be low for those scheduled shows. So, try to pace yourself with scheduling these shows at the good venues.

      Okay. So that's all I know about the Process - at this point.  Where it all goes from here, who knows? Past this point, we'll just have to see....... So, ask me in a year.......

Album Of The Week:    John Cale's "Fear" is perfect. A weird, beautiful, and strange pop album that verges on being "proto-punk".   Lyrically intense and sometimes plain baffling, this is truly the masterpiece from this former Velvet, and "Fear Is A Man's Best Friend" is as brilliant and strange a lead-off track as any. I could go on and on..... but I won't...  Find it, buy it, steal it, download it... Anyway you can get it, and be amazed that stuff as cool as this was being made in 1974....