Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Venues, Artists, Social Media and the Web

Music venues in my town are horrible at social media and their own websites leave much to be desired. If I were an artist, this would not sit well with me. However, artists themselves could do more.


In a town with a population of about 100,000 we have at least 20 venues that have live music on a regular basis, probably more. I don't know all of them because some I don't care for the music they feature. To be fair, there are a few that do a good job of promoting shows, but there are far too many who don't. If you're a regular at said venue, then you know what's going on, otherwise it's a crap shoot.

A newer venue has artists every weekend. Their website makes no mention of shows. I was in the other day for lunch and was asking for details from the waitress. I mentioned the poor website and she said they were working on it but to check Facebook because it's all there. Checked Facebook, clicked on upcoming events, nothing. There was one post that indicated live music on Friday and Saturday with the names of the artists. ONE POST. They don't have a Twitter account.

Another venue, which is predominately a restaurant, has a pretty cool outdoor music vibe.Their Twitter account is nothing but food pics (which is ok, but who is playing?) The website has no mention of who is playing.

Surely at some point a venue has a bartender or a server who has been around long enough to have gained trust. Pay them some extra money to promote on social media. They're probably already active there anyway.

Or maybe there is a market for social media managers on a small scale, I don't know. But do something.


This is much less of an issue. Most artists today promote themselves through social media. Here's the rub: If i don't know who you are, I'm not following you on social media. BandsInTown is a great tool. Last weekend there were more live shows in town than I knew about. Friday night had three artists on BandsInTown. There were probably  4X that many shows.

I don't know what it takes for an artist to use that app, but for a music fan, it's free and useful. Especially if the venue sucks at promotion. If I don't know you're in town, I'm only going to find you by accident (which has happened, but it's a crap shoot). 

You may think it doesn't matter. So maybe one person knows we're playing tonight. It may only be that one person on that particular night, but if that one person goes and likes what they hear/see, then you have a fan that will promote you the next time you're in town. It all matters.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Appetite For Destruction Story

So, Guns N' Roses debut album Appetite For Destruction was released 30 years ago. I contend that it is the best hard rock album ever made from start to finish. But that is not the point of my story.

I was in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area that summer (I was in college at the time) and listening to the now defunct (I think) Z-ROCK which had mandatory Metallica every hour (played one Metallica song every hour).

I kept hearing this song by this new band Guns N' Roses. Never heard of them, but, damn, that song was good. That trip also introduced me to Faster Pussycat, apropos of nothing.

I knew I would be entering radio wasteland on my trip home, so before I left I stopped by a record store and purchased Appetite, on cassette (I wore out two of those before I got a CD player).

Four hour drive and it played the whole time. I was so enamored with this album. I played it a lot the rest of the summer and when I returned to college was excited to share it with my buddies. Their reaction was pretty "meh". Whatever. There were a few of us that really dug it and listened to it all the time.

Fastforward a year. "Sweet Child O' Mine" was released as a single in August of 1988. MTV blew it up. Suddenly all the "meh" people had a copy of Appetite. At that point I was already on my second cassette.

Did I feel vindicated? Maybe, a little. I was just happy that this masterpiece of an album was being appreciated.

Side note: Slash's and Izzy's rhythm parts are not stereo. Slash is on the right and Izzy on the left. Slash's solos are stereo, Izzy's solo in "Think About You" is only on the left. So, if you're a real music nerd/audiophile, you can hear two different albums.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Album Spotlight: ZZ Ward - The Storm

The new album from singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Zsuzsanna Eva Ward, better known as ZZ Ward is an amalgam of all things blues, alt-rock, R&B, Americana, smokiness, and swamp. The Storm brings all that together in an 11 song album that works.

If you're a regular reader, you know I prefer interesting and unique. Starting with Ward's voice, this whole album encompasses both interesting and unique.

It's not hard to tell when an artist is making music they want to make and when an artist is going through the motions. The Storm is the former, bringing in all of Ward's influences in which every song feels like she means what she's singing and the instrumentation backs it up, whether sparse or layered or anywhere in between.

The 11th song, a bonus track from "Cars 3", is a fun song featuring Gary Clark, Jr. How can that be bad?

All in all, The Storm is a complete album. There's some fun, there's some heavy, there's some heartbreak, there's some snark and sass. And there is lots of ZZ Ward.