Arcade Fire

There was a good article about The Arcade Fire in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine. It made me sign up for a trial eMusic account to get their old and new album (though I later realized I had acquired “Funeral” some time ago). It turns out its actually quite good. I wonder what kind of sales bump a band would get from being profiled in the times these days?

I hadn’t used eMusic before – I went there to get some DRM-free mp3s before I knew there was a free trial option. I don’t know what to think of their subscription model – pay $10 a month to get 30 mp3 downloads, which works out to just 33 cents, but I don’t think I would want to commit to another subscription somewhere.

Speaking of subscriptions, some months I weigh the value of subscribing to the Times – its about $22/mo for just the Sunday issue. No wonder no one takes a paper anymore! There’s something lost in reading on the internet though – harder to lay in bed and read with a significant other and not as portable for reading on the go. I guess its worth it for now – until someone comes up with a fantastic e-Reader.

I think the publisher of the Times said in an interview recently that he wouldn’t be surprised if they stopped printing at all within 5 years. That’s a bit alarming to me from a historical point of view – one can go to the library and look at Times articles from the civil war etc – surely the format issues involved in making digital copies of a paper available to readers 150 years from now are nontrivial compared to keeping paper dry and in the dark.

Someone please invent a band stalker!

Earlier this week I found out that two bands I like, Stars and Snow Patrol, are coming to town. One the next day, one next month. Of course I find out after the tickets are sold out…

Unfortunately there’s no one repository for tour information. Rich at points out that Pollstar doesn’t have RSS feeds, and in this case, neither Pollstar or Eventful (the other site he mentioned) even were aware of the Snow Patrol show in time (the tickets went on sale last saturday, so now its too late).

It seems the only way I could have become aware of the Snow Patrol concert in particular would have been to a) be on their mailing list or b) visit their site constantly- (they don’t have a feed) – neither of these approaches really scales well.

Gathering enough up to date information (and not from joe q public listing an event when he gets around to it) seems to be the hardest problem, but how about a service that would accept uploaded itunes music library files and zip codes, and give me back an rss feed of events involving artists in my library, in my area, as they become known?

The downside of this is that hardcore fans who would go to the band’s site every day could get shut out as the information finds its way to the more casual fan with less friction.

Toby Lightman mini-show at the head of the charles

I first discovered Toby Lightman by randomly wandering around Music Midtown a year and a half, killing time before the next show I planned to see. She’s captivated the crowd with her fantastic voice, great songs and some fun covers – that’s a really long prelude to say I saw her again yesterday making the most of a cold and blustery mid-afternoon set at the Head of the Charles regatta, which I wouldn’t go to if not for the entertainment and people-watching, because as far as I’m concerned, if you’ve seen one boat row by, you’ve seen ’em all. I think she’s better live than on her album.. I wish I’d thought to bring her CD to get it autographed!

Weezer and Foo Fighters in Worcester

Saturday night we went to see Weezer and Foo Fighters in Worcester, Massachusetts at the DCU Center. Had floor tickets, which ruled! It was an **excellent** show. My personal highlight was two different perspectives on Kurt Cobain with respect to Foo Fighters.

– First was in the bathroom line, these two numbskulls behind me were talking about the relative merits of Weezer and Foo Fighters. One of them said he’d like Foo Fighters if they acknowledged Kurt Cobain and Nirvana – the (clearly) smarter of the two said someting about Dave Grohl setting out on his own.
– Second was this really high, drunk and loud man in the crowd who said something close to “I’m glad Kurt Cobain died, this guy has really made a name for himself”

There you have it, and something I agree with- **Foo Fighters are way better than Nirvana: Kurt Cobain died so that the Foo Fighters may live.**
Weezer was good but not great – I think I enjoyed their appearance in Hartford several years ago more, they seemed a little too chill for my taste. They did all their good songs, and the obligatory bring a fan up onto stage set-piece that is still fun.
Clearly there were people in the crowd that were there only to see weezer, because a whole bunch of people split from the floor after the weezer show.
###Foo Fighters:
Were awesome. Played all the classics, and a bunch of their new stuff. I was kind of bummed they didn’t slow down to play any of their acoustic stuff from the second half of their recent double CD, but what can you do? They also had a mini-U2 style light show, with 3 video screens, a bunch of really low-res LED displays, and some awesome laser light effects.
###DCU Center
Thumbs down. An email I got from there said they’re the “#3 music venue in the world according to billboard magazine”, but that had to be the subset of the world “in Worcester” or “in Western Mass”, or just some crazy parallel universe. I’ve seen shows at Madison Square Garden and the FleetCenter/Banknorth Garden and they’re definately better, and I think its highly likely there’s got to be another better arena “in the world”.

Ridiculous bathroom lines – and the mens rooms with 2 stalls and 2 urinals each. Who designed this “arena”? What happens during intermission of hockey games?
Then there were the hassles endemic to surburban “cities” – principally traffic in the parking garage that took well over an hour to empty. Let me jump on a train to get home any day.

**Update (10/17/2005):** Wrote to the marketing folks at the DCU center and received clarification that the statement actually means “#3 based on gross ticket sales among the top 10 US and British venus with capacities of 10,001 to 15,000 people”- Perhaps thats what should be at the bottom of the email, since the statement “#3 music venue in the world” implies some kind of quality to me.