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Posts Tagged ‘The Boredoms’

Ignored 80: Fakeapalooza

In Graphic on April 6, 2016 at 3:48 am

Ignored80

Ignored 38: Same songs, new price

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm

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UK shoegaze outfit Slowdive play Toronto this fall. They last played our city 20 years ago and tickets this time around have increased in price by 168 per cent ($11 in 1994, $29.50 in 2014).

That’s perfectly fine and expected. Because in pure economic terms, nostalgia comes at a high price.

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Whether your vice is music, sports memorabilia, out-of-print literature or visiting Europe (or whatever “the old country” means to you), people will pay a significant premium to purchase something NOW that makes them feel a tinge of something from THEN.

Still, some jerks music fans like to get all uppity when a band like Slowdive reunites and their ticket prices skyrocket. The thing is, when you think of it in terms of simple supply and demand, why wouldn’t these prices spike?!? In 1994, the audience for Slowdive was mop-haired guys and girls who didn’t talk much plus assorted wannabe Anglophiles. In 2014, the audience is two additional decades worth of that type of music fan…. plus the entire original audience itself (except for those who died or moved to Courtice in the years since).

Demand goes up. Supply stays, more or less, the same. Do the math!

For more information and to learn more theories, go here. It’s a great place.

Getting back to Slowdive, a lot of notable bands have reunited in the last decade. However, even when compared to many of their contemporaries, returning after a 20 year absence is pretty rare. It begs the question: does staying away longer help pad your bottom line in terms of ticket prices?

(pause)

To help answer this question, I took a cross section of 18 of these notable bands who have returned to Toronto in the last decade after some sort of hiatus. I compared ticket prices for the “farewell” and “hello again” gigs and in an attempt to keep this apples-to-apples, I only included headline shows. This latter piece gets kinda dicey when we speak in terms of demand (i.e. the Constantines’ headline “reunion” show in Toronto this fall will technically be the third time they’ve played in the city since reuniting) but more on that later…

Also, none of the prices reflect services charges, venue fees or anything of that nature. Because people tend to hate taking about services charges, venue fees or anything of that nature.

Here is a list of the 18 bands in question, sorted by the year they returned to Toronto and also showing their last Toronto show before they disappeared for a while:

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Now, the first graph below shows who had the longest gap between Toronto headline shows. The second graph shows who had the largest spike in ticket prices, expressed in terms of price percentage increase.

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If there was a decent correlation between length of absence and increase in ticket price, these graphs should look somewhat similar shape-wise.

They don’t. At all.

Therefore, based on this (admittedly small) sample size, there is no real correlation between how long you’ve been away and how much you can jack up your prices.

Since the length of the hiatus, in and of itself, isn’t significant in boosting ticket prices across the board, here are a few less scientific factors that are:

Taste: I mean, this is 90 per cent of the equation with any art, right? A few of these bands (especially My Bloody Valentine, the Pixies and Neutral Milk Hotel) became almost mythical during the 2000s due to the proliferations of blogs and YouTube and MP3s. Thus, when they started popping up on the touring circuit again, their fan bases has swollen to kind of insane proportions. Well, maybe not INSANE since MBV was originally booked to play the Ricoh Coliseum in 2008 (which would’ve been “whack”) before being downsized to the Kool Haus. But still. NOTE: the Ricoh Coliseum website is still erroneously listing the concert. They so crazy!

Venue: When Jesse Keeler posted this note on a Death From Above 1979 forum back in 2006 in order to napalm his band, it meant that the duo’s last headline show in Toronto was a series of insanely loud gigs at the cozy Horseshoe Tavern the summer prior. Based on their popularity at the time, it easily could’ve been a room 5x as big. But in the end, it was happenstance. Either way, $15 for a DFA1979 gig in 2005 was a “bargoon“.

Non-Headline Gigs: The Constantines played their first 2014 reunion show in nearby Guelph, rocked at Broken Social Scene’s Field Trip festival shortly thereafter and will be opening for the Arcade Fire at the Molson Amphitheatre around Labour Day. Their first “proper” Toronto headline show isn’t until October but given their “around-ness” prior, did THAT affect ticket price for their Danforth Music Hall gig? Who cares… it’s just good to have ’em back!

Opening Acts: I’ve always had a soft spot for the macho riffing and self-aware posturing of Urge Overkill. However, their 1995 “bye bye” gig at The Phoenix also featured the Toronto debut (I think) of the equally-awesome Guided by Voices and the pre-Sweet Homewrecker hijinks of Thrush Hermit. A stacked triple bill and considering GBV were getting a ton of buzz at that time, I bet much of the audience were paying to see Robert Pollard and friends stumble around. Unfortunately, Bob got beat up.

Willingness to Tour… Ever: Most people just assumed that Jeff Mangum would never tour Neutral Milk Hotel so the fact that their ticket prices dominate the second graph is a bit of an outlier. Even by 1998 standards, $7 for any show is massively low. Also worth noting: fact Mangum did a pair of solo acoustic sets in Toronto in 2011, which may have eased demand a touch.

A few other comments:

– Everybody kinda rags on the Pixies for their never-ending reunion tour and the fact that it took them a decade to release anything new (and that was only after they gave Kim Deal the boot). However, considering how unlikely that reunion was (see “the fax story”) you think they could’ve charged more than $35 for their first Toronto show back in 2004. In many ways, they ushered in the initial wave of reunions fuelled by 1990s nostalgia (and cash… lots of it). If they had decided to suck it in 2008 instead of the hinterlands of 2004, I betcha tickets would’ve easily run $60 or more. Even at the brutal Arrow Hall, which mercifully is no longer with us as a concert venue.

– The Jesus and Mary Chain were a good band. Not amazing but solid enough. But seriously, $60+ for their 2012 show? Unlikely My Bloody Valentine, Neutral Milk Hotel or Daft Punk, the Jesus and Mary Chain had played Toronto plenty in the past so it’s not like their originally fan base didn’t have ample opportunity to see ’em in the first time around. Heck, they brought along Curve, Spiritualized and (uh) Pure to play the (friggin’) SkyDome in 1992, which is was kind of a WTF at the time and is now a massive WTF in hindsight. That concert was $12.45 BTW. Good deal!!

– Speculative: if Morrissey decides to drop the seal hunt thing and play in Canada again, would tickets START at more than $100 a piece? I think so.

– My picks for the next wave of bands that we MIGHT see playing shows again within the next five years: Oasis, the Deadly Snakes (this show notwithstanding), Galaxie 500, Gene (would we care?!?), the Kinks (would they care?!?), Eric’s Trip (again), Siouxsie and the Banshees (again), Catherine Wheel (are they even broken up?!?), Local Rabbits, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Supergrass, the White Stripes

Ignored 16: Gimme contrast

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2013 at 3:05 pm

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After witnessing recent live sets by Deerhunter and Fucked Up in quick succession, I had a total light bulb moment, man. It concerned music, music bands (!!!) and the ways in which music bands can differentiate themselves from the competition.

Three words: contrast, jerk face!!!

Part of the reason that Deerhunter and (Messed) Up are so striking on-stage is the visual contrast between their respective lead singers and their backers. Whether it’s the sinewy weirdness of Bradford Cox or the David Yow-meets-Ox Baker angle of Damian Abraham, one has to concede that these bands are significant aesthetically (and sonically, from what I can tell).

Contrast in art is nothing new. I mean, check out this random website I found about the subject. #validated

What IS new (or not new) is the acknowledgement that contrast is a fairly easy way to make your band “interesting” even if you are unable to make your band “good”.

Deerhunter and (Screwed) Up are certainly not the first outfits to explore the wonderful world of contrast. Here are 10 bands (all a varying degree of “good” IMHO) who have historically used the contrast model to set themselves apart (in a good way IHOP).

1. The Damned

A fairly standard looking O.G. punk outfit if you remove the fact that Dave Vanier insisted on dressing like a vampire. Never made any real sense with their sound and looked quite stupid at times.

2. The Boredoms

Founder and frontman Eye is the only constant in a quarter century of the Boredoms as his hair alone gives the band an image, which helps when the rest of the outfit typically looks like well-mannered exchange students.

3. Caninus

OMG!!! Easily the most gimmicky band on this list: a speed metal outfit “fronted” by a pair of pitbull. Listen to one of their full-lengths here. Notable because one of the band members wore an alien mask for this press shot and he was STILL overshadowed by the fact that his band was 40 per cent canine.

4. Blondie

Similar to Caninus except this band was fronted by a FOX!!! I kid, I kid but this doesn’t change the fact that without Deborah Harry leading the way, Blondie would aesthetically look like a more low-rent version of the Knack.

5. Guns N’ Roses (circa 2000-2004)

This was the Buckethead era of “the Gunners”. No idea why Axl would sign-off on this goofball playing with them, considering it’d obviously deflect attention from his cool dreadlocks and whatnot. And yeah, I get it: Buckethead is avant-garde or whatever but at the end of the day, he wears a KFC bucket as a hat. I mean… c’mon!

6. Roxy Music (circa 1971-1973)

Early, early Roxy Music were collectively known for being “fashion forward” but Brian Eno took things to the next level. Maybe to compensate for his hairline or maybe because of drugs. Or both!!! Anyway, he left, ultimately torched all his feathers and started to dress more like this guy.

7. Sparks

Ugh. We’re now four decades into Ron Mael’s creepy uncle look. #gross

8. Cheap Trick

An interesting double shot with unique images cultivated by their guitarist (a far, far dorkier version of Angus Young) and a drummer (I dunno… taxi dispatcher?) detracting and contrasting with their hunky frontmen. Maybe the most obvious band on this list. Also, Cheap Trick are terminally underrated.

9. Jamiroquai

A gimme when their bratty frontman is wearing one of his considerable hats.

10. The Cure

A gimme when their **** frontman is wearing one of his considerable hairstyles. Must disqualify that stretch in the 1980s where Robert Smith banished his hair for several months.