business deal happenings
There have been some very cool happenings recently in the world of one of my very favorite indie record labels, Austin's Business Deal Records. So, we thought we'd fill you in:
(Edit: Maya is actually on Ellahy Amen Records. Sorry for any confusion; I was under the impression that she is affiliated with Biz Deal since she is linked on their website, but the people at Ellahy Amen have informed me that she is not.)
You know that we're huge fans of six-year old Maya Bond here at gorilla vs. bear (even Newsweek picked up on our love), so of course we love this, her very first video. Watch Maya's "Cute Papa" video here (highly recommended). And here's the mp3, which was included on our Austin Mixtape:
Maya Bond Cute Papa mp3
Maya will also be playing two very rare live dates this month...get your tickets here. And buy Maya's charming debut, Pink Drums Purple Lights, here
Another Business Deal artist that has caught our attention recently is Cavedweller. Here's a great track from his new album, The Best Version of "Gloria" Ever There Was:
Cavedweller Can't Cook Down mp3
You an see Cavedweller dancing in the aforementioned Maya Bond video, or listen to more songs on myspace. Buy Cavedweller's new LP here
Our boy Austin LaRoche's column this week is painfully timely and relevant, seeing as how some moron standing directly behind me nearly ruined the Joanna Newsom concert the other night with his incessant unfunny comments and atonal sing-alongs. Now before you comment about how everyone already knows this stuff, please be aware that I saw approximately 50 sets this weekend in Austin, and there were numerous people doing the things Austin mentions at each and every one. Click "read more" link to read Austin's column...
The 2006-2007 Official Concert Rules of Etiquette - Volume 1
So I'm at the Band of Horses show this past week, and as expected, they were amazing. For the most part, there was a great crowd. Lots of singing along, a good amount of fist-pumpers, and there was even a hipster in a Payne Stewart hat. Good times. However, after a couple Chatty-Cathys decided to yap to one another during the show, I became a little agitated.
"Maybe they don't know any better," Rachael said, giving them the benefit of the doubt.
"How do you not know to shut up during a concert?"
"I dunno. Maybe it's their first one?"
And we had a good chuckle. But we also got to thinking. What is the standard? Is there a "rules of etiquette" guideline out there for concert goers?
So I googled it. And there were some rules, mostly for opera and classical shows, the only significant list being a WOXY board thread on T-shirt etiquette at shows, so I'll stay away from that angle. But I figured we, the indie crowd, need to go ahead and make some rules. This is a rough sketch. All other suggestions will be much appreciated, so feel free to add a couple rules yourself.
Section I: Situations
You Know Nothing About the Band
We've all been here before, right? Maybe a friend suggests a band to catch or maybe you're just unfamiliar with the opener, but you've probably been at a concert before where you knew absolutely nothing about an artist who you were watching perform. There's not really anything special you should do, however, there's three important things you should NEVER do:
1. Talk - Even if you're there for the headliner, you shut your mouth when the band plays. If you want to talk, go to the bathroom and do it. If you want to talk to someone of the opposite sex, go to the bathroom they use and do it, whatever. Just stay away from the people who care about the music and want to listen to the band. In some venues, I'll even allow the bar as a place to chat, but it's not too common. I'd say use common sense, but let's be honest, sense hasn't been "common" for a long time now. To sum up it, if a band's playing, there's really nothing you should be saying. (Be sure to tip your waitress, I'll be here all night.)
2. Heckle the Band - Do you remember that whole "Ryan Adams kicked a guy out of his concert because he yelled 'Play Summer of '69" story? What a lot of sources didn't write about the guy who got kicked out is that he had been shouting it after every song, and once Ryan had heard it 10-15 times, he wanted the guy to go. Who could blame him? You just don't heckle bands at shows. Hell, you shouldn't really heckle comedians, everyone in the audience hates hecklers. But more than that, what's the point? Do you feel cool because you shout out that a band "sucks?" I think we're going to go back to the "does anyone who you respect do these things" approach. And by the way, I know this rarely happens (I've never actually seen it), but it's something you gotta make sure isn't increasing, you know?
3. Throw Stuff at the Band - This is more of a festival move done by drunk morons, but it still exists and is probably the crappiest thing you could do to a band. You think they suck and they "deserve it?" Don't watch them. Go on to your blog and tell everyone they suck, but don't throw shit. I've seen this a lot, really, and I always wonder where people's friends are in these situations. If you had a buddy who got a little too drunk, saw him pick up a 20 ounce bottle, start a throwing motion, wouldn't you do everything to stop him? Yet somehow, bands end up dodging these bottles like Patches O'Houlihan at every festival I've ever been to (excluding Pitchfork).
You Know Some Stuff by the Band, But Not Too Much
Just don't be annoying. Don't try to pretend you know a lot, don't try and sing along to songs you're not familiar with, and don't be a jerk. Just sit back and enjoy the band. That's easy, right?
You Know a Ton About the Band (i.e., you can sing along to 80% of the songs)
A couple rules for seeing bands you LOVE...
1. Other people love their sound just as much. Just because you own more gear than everyone else at the show and have stalked the band after shows, doesn't mean you're enjoying yourself more than everyone else. I've got in conversations with people who feel like loving a band is a competition, challenging me with questions like "how many bootlegs do I own?" None, asshole, but I still like Wilco just as much as you do, and I didn't spend 200 bucks on Tour shirts to have to pretend I'm the only one who truly loves the band.
2. If you didn't get there early enough to grab the front row, tough shit. Just because it's your third time seeing Clap Your Hands Say Yeah this summer doesn't mean you need to throw an elbow into my head to stand 4 feet in front of me. I was there first. Now sometimes there's a lot of space and it's no big deal getting to the front, but when you're really knocking someone to get through, things have gotten out of hand.
(Random question: why do I keep cussing? I think I keep getting mad as I reminisce over past infractions to these rules. I'll try to tone it down from here, aight?)
Section II. Props
I should never have to write this, but it happens all the time so I must: DON'T TALK ON THE DAMN PHONE DURING A SHOW. I get it, Billy had to stay at work longer than expected and doesn't know where you are. Go out and find him. Don't scream over the band to try and tell him you're wearing a pink shirt. Send a text message. I don't care.
Now, I know we all like to do the "I'm seeing The Shins and they're playing "New Slang" and that song changed my friend Natalie's life so I need to call her phone and let her hear it" move. I'm by no means against it. But that's the only dialogue you get. You dial, you hear "hello" and then you text "I'll call you after the show" after the song. That's it. And also, please stop reaching to the heavens with your phone for better sound quality. If you're arm is blocking someone's view, you probably need to bring that phone down a bit.
No ring tone, not even if it's a song by the band playing. Can't do it.
I got a feeling this could get controversial. Bloggers love taking concert pictures. They were the easiest people to spot at the Chicago festivals. The band goes on and the cameras start flashing. Now, before I get into my new rules, let me say that this doesn't go for anyone with a press pass.
Ok, here's what I'm suggesting. You get 2 songs to get all of your "Bassist by himself, drummer by himself, ukulele player by herself" pictures. Get everyone out of the way in TWO songs. After that, you get 5 special moments in the show. For example, when I saw The National at Pitchfork, I got my standard pics out of the way early, and then they started "Abel." As the song began, I noticed the singer getting really into it and he began gyrating all over the stage, so I got pictures of it. During the same festival, Tapes 'n' Tapes did the whole "lead singer and lead guitar jamming out back to back" thing, and I had to capture it.
I know what you're wondering: who cares how many pictures they want to take? And my response? Stand behind them sometime, then tell me your feelings. Watch them raise their arms and take 20 shots a song and enjoy moving your head to the left and right to watch the band because they're blocking the view. Then tell me what you think about the camera crazy people.
Festivals, arenas, and amphitheaters only. Try to keep it in the "I still love Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, and Poison" subculture, and don't expect anyone else to do it. Nuff said.
I'm not a drug guy, I've mentioned this before. But I've smelled pot at almost every concert I've ever been to, and it's become such a concert staple, I get mad when the tokers take the night off. There's really no restrictions (other than offering it to twelve year olds) with pot, but any other drug is off limits for the public. Go snort your lines in the bathroom stall, drug dudes, the general audience doesn't want to see you living out your Tony Montana fantasies.
Section III: "That Guys" To Avoid
(Sorry ladies, That Gal, That Girl, That Woman, and That Chick just don't work as well as That Guy. It's not a sex thing, just a lingual one.)
1. That Guy Who Yells "Free Bird"
No excuse on this guy. Not only is that guy who yells it who is being serious a pain, but that guy who mocks the "Free Bird" guy has become just as damn annoying. I think the joking "Free Bird" yell was barred somewhere in the summer of 2003 time period. Originally, it was funny. Someone would do a mocking redneck voice and shout it out, and his buddies would laugh. But how old has this gotten? There was a stretch when I was shocked when this guy didn't show up at the show. Glad this has passed. And if you didn't know this had passed, you know now. In the words of the great John Lennon, "the dream is over."
2. That Guy Who Sings at the Decibels Higher than the Band
I used to always be afraid of being this guy, so I've started "power lip-synching." (I do all the movements and get really into it, but no sound actually comes out.) Has this guy ever ruined a show for you? He's right behind you, in your ear, he knows all the words to every song, and you can't hear the artist. And it's not like this guy was given the blessed vocals of Jim James. I mean, he's always the monotone, incredibly deep and unaware. As far as the "That Girls" it's always the high-pitched, annoying squeal girl who's too loud. Like the kind that sorority girls are stereotyped as in comedy sketches. Regardless, when this is happening, you really can't tell anyone to shut up and quit singing along, right? You gotta move. I know, it sucks, but unless you're comfortable doing the "Ross Gellar Bring it Down a Few Notches" hand signal, you gotta go up or back a few rows.
3. That Guy Who Gets Too Drunk
Do I need to go in-depth here? Know your limit, it'll help you not look like an ass.
4. That Guy Who Loves the Opening Band and Gets Mad at the Crowd for not Caring About Them
Last summer, in Las Vegas, my buddy Chris and I caught a Red Hot Chili Peppers show with Weezer opening. There was this guy in front of us who was a diehard Rivers Cuomo follower and was jamming out and enjoying the hell out of some Weezer. At first, I was glad he was having such a good time, he was so into it. But the rest of the crowd wasn't really getting too pumped, so he felt it was his turn to play "concert director." He kept throwing his hands in the air for everyone else to start jumping and fist pumping and when nobody would, he pulled out the "this crowd sucks" card and kept screaming to everyone about how lame we were, which pretty much killed any hope that the crowd would at some point put their arms around one another and sway in unison to "Say it Ain't So." The point is, if you're in the audience, your job is to worry about how much fun you are having, not everybody else. We aren't lame because we don't care for "We're All on Drugs," you're lame for wanting us to.
5. That Guy Who Yells Out Which Song the Artist Should Sing Next
I know, we've all been this guy before. Just last week at that Band of Horses show, Rachael got scared we weren't going to hear "Monsters," and pulled this move. She's since apologized. But really, when a band continually looks down at its setlist, and has every song picked out, why the hell do you keep yelling at them to play some early B-side that only you know about? Do you really think Sufjan is in the middle of a set and thinks "Wow, I was really wanting to play 'Avalanche' next, but Jack Foster over there in the third row wants to hear "The Tallest Man..." so I'll go ahead and play that"? I know some bands take requests, and that's fine, but the majority of shows you go to have their sets planned out, so please let them. There's no reason, other than by yelling a song 89% of the audience has never heard of to look like Sammy Superfan, to do this.
Alright, as I mentioned earlier, this is just a start. A couple of "let's put this in writing to avoid bad concert behavior" rules to lower the bottles and heckles. There's endless angles and That Guys to Avoid out there, but these are the ones I find most important.
I'm going to try and sign off each column with separate TV and Sports paragraphs for those who enjoyed the off-music columns. This will help me concentrate on the music scene for the most part, while also writing about a few other things I enjoy.
Random TV Thought of the Week
The other night, Rachael and I were eating dinner with the TV on in the background and started watching Dancing with the Stars. We're not really Reality TV people, but they said that the Latino Lover Mario Lopez was next, so we figured for Screech and the gang, we'd watch his routine. As he danced, we cracked the "Why are you even trying, AC, you know Lisa's gonna win this thing with The Sprain" and "Uh oh, did you buy Jessi Raiders tickets again for your anniversary" jokes and had a good laugh. After his performance, they asked him what he thought and he told them...with a LATIN ACCENT. That's right, AC Slater is faking an accent to live up to this stupid Latin Lover gimmick. It's pathetic/hilarious. Do yourself a favor and check it out...then change the channel.
Random Sports Thought of the Week
Who saw Michigan coming this week? (editor's note: Me.) Not me, my money was on the Irish (don't worry, I won it all back on Louisville.) The funniest thing wasn't that Notre Dame played all that bad. Michigan is good. Damn good. That Michigan/Ohio State game is going to be a bloodbath, I can't wait. I didn't know Chad Henne had it in him, he looked amazing, as did Mike Hart. But it was how clutch their defense was that impressed me most. Every time Notre Dame would drive or look like they were going on a run, someone on that defense would make a play. Congrats, Wolverines, and best of luck. Hey Chris, are you boys throwing out the words "National Title" over there in Camp Michigan, or is it too early for all that? (editor's note: of course we are.)