Monday, February 12, 2007

A Day Off And Music on the Brain

I'm going to see the Shins tonight. Not a big deal to some of you (just kidding, the 2 of you reading are probably the two I'm going with!), as the general consensus is that the Shins are boring live. To that I say, "I can see why....but you're still wrong."

This marks the third straight sellout show I've been to, not counting the Golden Republic show since they're just a local band. Yes, I degraded them down to "local band" status, and no its not just because I don't like them (though that doesn't help matters any). Actually, it could be the fourth straight sellout, but I'm not sure if Yo La Tengo eventually sold out or not. (The Faint, Camera Obscura, and now the Shins are the sellout shows)

I'm bringing this up not because I'm trying to brag to anyone. I bring it up more out of shock. It used to be that I'd rarely see a sellout show. The bands I liked carried plenty of buzz around them, but it was not usually enough to sell out the venue. Of course there were always exceptions, but let me just say I very rarely bought tickets more than a week in advance, and usually I bought them in advance only to avoid paying more at the door. However, I recently noticed a trend that began last year: I don't go to as many shows, and the ones I do go to are bigger bands and sellout shows.


I never meant for it to happen. Honestly, I really don't like the fact that it happened. Its a trend I'm going to try and change, but for now that's the way it goes.

A lot of it has to do with location. Yes, Kansas City is bigger, there are plenty of venues big and small, and the Record Bar especially worth mentioning as they get a fair amount of decent shows. Still, nothing compares to living in Lawrence and being able to walk, all within a mile from my apartment, to the Replay, Jackpot, Bottleneck, Granada, Liberty Hall, or the occasional house show.

Another factor, and this is sadly a big one, is that the Lawrence shows were and are all cheaper than the KC ones. A good example is Sigur Ros. $25 for to see them at Liberty Hall, $45 to see them in KC. Don't believe me, here's some more proof. The other night I paid $9 to see the Golden Republic at the Record Bar. A few years back they came to Lawrence opening for Sondre Lerche, and I think that show was only $12. By the Record Bar's logic, the Golden Republic would have accounted for 9 of those 12 dollars, AS AN OPENER? I think not. I realize the most recent show was the farewell show and that may have accounted for a spike in the ticket price, so here's another example. I paid $4 to see the Ponys and former it-band-of-the-month Dios Malos at the Replay. The Ponys are coming to KC with the current it-band-of-the-month Deerhunter, and the Record Bar wants $8. Still not enough proof? Here's a list of bands I either paid as much or less to see than I did for Friday's Golden Republic show: Arcade Fire, Decemberists, Explosions in the Sky, Man Man (twice), Deerhoof (twice), Of Montreal, Q and Not U, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Papa M, the Thermals w/ Tristeza, Elf Power, and Okkervil River. All of those bands either have more releases than the Golden Republic, a bigger fan base than the Golden Republic, and more critical acclaim than the Golden Republic. Many of the bands listed have all of the qualities over the Golden Republic. (The exception being Man Man, at least the first time I saw them. The second time was after they had more releases than the Golden Republic and more acclaim. The fan base is hard to determine.)

I shouldn't have to be defending myself though. Though my concert intake was less this past year than it has been since I left home, the concerts I did see were certainly worth the extra money. Sigur Ros is one of the best live bands I've ever seen. They are an experience, no doubt about it, and to see them twice last year was absolutely fucking amazing. Sonic Youth is always a favorite, as are Yo La Tengo and Built to Spill.

Still, I am resolving myself to not only see more shows, but to get out there and take more chances like I used to. Yes, I saw a lot of cheap shows in Lawrence, but many of those bands were either foreign or new to me at the time I saw them. Man Man especially was a pleasant surprise the first time I caught them. I think there were maybe 5 people there, myself included, but I know that the five of us were blown away. I need to take more chances like that, for the sake of my sanity, enjoyment, this blog, and so forth. It'll be fun, I promise.

Random thought: I hope the Shins play "Saint Simon". Such a good song.

No comments: