Monday, December 22, 2008

So, if you don't like Candlebox, who WOULD you pick?

If you read the local music blogs, then by now you're aware that Candlebox is scheduled to be the first performer in the Downtown Live series on May 30. David Menconi broke the news, and Triangle Music commented accordingly.

I've been mulling over what to say about this news. I, too, feel the disappointed resignation that comes with knowing that the organizers of this potentially great series seem absolutely determined to resurrect every lame one-hit wonder from the era of 1988 - 1998. But the unfortunate fact is this: This series is successful. Every Downtown Live show I've been to has been packed. There are a LOT of people out there with bad taste in music. And I have to tip my hat Deep South for putting some really good local bands on these bills. That's great exposure for local bands, and just might inspire who think Candlebox is great to listen to some new stuff.

It also occurred to me that there is probably a whole lot I don't understand about putting on a free music series -- especially one that is sponsored by the city. Since the organizers aren't going to make money from ticket sales, they probably have to pick bands that are slightly cheaper. Based on the size of the space, I would think that Drive-by Truckers or Queens of the Stone Age would be good choices. Pretty much any band that can fill Lincoln Theatre, Cat's Cradle would be a good choice. But I'm going to guess that DBT's or QOTSA's guarantees are much higher than Candlebox's.

So, here's what I'm proposing: Instead of complaining about how lame Downtown Live is, a group of us should get together and sponsor our own downtown series. We'll start small -- maybe with three concerts next summer. We'll bring in some good, mid-level national acts, and have local bands open up. Maybe we can get a rock act, an alt-country act, and a hip hop act. We'll get local sponsors to pay to advertise at the event. We can check into holding these concerts in Moore Square or perhaps look into closing off Hargett Street for the day. I'm up for doing something like this. Who's with me?


Valerie said...

Count me in, Karen. I've complained about this series for a few years, but I think what really got me irritated was an interview I read with Dave Rose that they COULD get more current bands (I think he used Bright Eyes as an example) but instead they choose to go to the lowest common denominator, who would frat boys like to get drunk to route. Because yes, there are a LOT of people with terrible taste. :) The result is, even when there's a decent band playing earlier in the evening, I have to talk myself into going because the crowd there is so annoying. Let me know when our first organizational meeting is. ;)

Jedidiah said...

New Raleigh would be all over it.

Matt said...

I'm with you. In fact, I've been talking to people about getting something like this going on in Raleigh anyway.... I've long thought that Triangle area bookers fail the music loving public with their lame-ass lowest common denominator bookings.

I'm just not sure how well attended some of the current artists would be... take someone like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings for example. She'd be PERFECT for something like this. Everyone in Raleigh would f'ing love her. But would they even know enough to come out in the first place?

Karen A. Mann said...

I love Sharon too, but I think you'd have to go with someone slightly bigger, like Arcade Fire (who might actually be TOO big at this point), or have two slightly less popular bands. Maybe the Hold Steady? They sure did pack Lincoln Theatre when I was there, so there are people in this area who would come out for something like this, and there are definitely people who would come downtown to check out Hold Steady or Arcade Fire even if they didn't know much about them simply because the show was free.

So, maybe the next step is for other bloggers to start talking this up too, see how much actual interest there is, and then hold a meeting.

Anonymous said...

Bright Eyes? Yawn. Believe it not, standing 30 feet away from the stage with 200 moping indie dullards does not sound like a good time to most people.

Raleigh doesn't need elitist rock connoisseurs to define this series. It succeeds in its defined goals: a) attract as many regular folks as possible and B) sell stuff to them.

Yes, that's "the lowest common denominator", folks. The air must be great at your stratospheric heights.

Karen, at least you maintain a realistic perspective and offer a valid solution to "the problem". Dissenters should create a separate series catering to hipsters.