Online Offline

At the beginning of the year I made the decision that I would try and move as much of my life online as I could using web-based apps. Most of these apps are either beta or really new, but they offer one particularly attractive advantage over their desktop competitors – the ability to access my info wherever I am (assuming I have a computer and connectivity). There were some desktop applications that I couldn’t move away from and ultimately (as of this morning) I’m moving back to a desktop-based life for everything except email.

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Nada Surfing

Last night’s show with Nada Surf, Rogue Wave and The King of France was awesome! We really couldn’t have worked with a greater grouping of three bands. They each brought their own uniqueness to the show, but it really felt like a continuous performance of solid music.

I got to the venue around 6pm, met a lot of the people that I had been dealing with for the last several weeks to make this show come together. I was especially excited about meeting Michael Azerrad, who pens some of the greatest music journalism of our time. Oh, and he’s the drummer for The King of France too. We talked a lot about music, specifically his work at eMusic and discovering new bands. Enough gushing about Michael though. I had read about The King of France in Salon magazine, but didn’t know much more about them. Seeing them play sealed the deal though. They put on an awesome show and their songs were fantastic. I think every Network LIVE employee in attendance was impressed. I heard, ‘i really like these guys’ a few times.

I wandered downstairs to our operations area. It’s where the magic happens. Lot’s of video monitors, people buzzing all over and you realize things are really happening. It all starts coming together, quite literally, before your eyes. I’ve been a music fan for a long time and have worked in and around music for quite a while as well. When I’m at our shows, I’m an excited fan just as much as I am a Network LIVE employee. I’m proud of what we do and it’s cool to see it happen. When I talk to managers, label people and bands, everyone realizes that despite the fact that what we do may sometimes feel big and impersonal, there are real music fans, excited about what we do, behind the scenes. I’m always taking people to watch the monitors so they can see how it works and end up talking about how cool it is.

Rogue Wave climbs the stairs from the basement of the Henry Fonda Theatre and take their places on stage. I decide to hang out on the side of the stage for their performance. The curtain goes up and reveals the packed, sold out audience. I got chills. Yeah, there were only 1200 people, but it looked like 12,000 from where I was standing. Network LIVE’s name was on the far wall and everything just felt good. The sound was awesome. People kept saying how great it sounded in the audience. I wandered out for a few songs and then went back downstairs to catch the last song on the monitors.

I’ve been a Nada Surf fan for a number of years. I’ll come clean about not liking them when "Popular" was released. Someone handed me a copy of Proximity Effect, which was released in 2000 and I have been a fan ever since. Their last couple of albums have been some of my favorites. There was a funny moment with Matthew (lead singer) before the show. I was standing around talking to Van Riker from their label, and Ben Weber, their manager. He came right up to me and started talking to me like we’d been friends for years. He thought I was Rocky Votolato (another Barsuk artist) as it turned out. Maybe it was the lighting… Rocky happened to be playing at the Troubadour last night, but I digress… Nada Surf played for like 4 hours… okay, it was more like 90 minutes, but they played a lot of songs and the crowd was really into it, especially when everyone jumped on stage for "Blankest Year" and when they played "Popular." I was totally impressed by their show and only solidified my fandom.

Last night’s show was fantastic and only seemed to solidify what I already know… the S.R.O. series is going to be an awesome way for people to discover new music and give the underexposed more exposure. I think Filter says it best – Good music will prevail.

It May Just Fit

Another trip to Ikea this weekend resulted in a bit of a change. I decided to go with the media racks so I wouldn’t have to add another shelf. The only bad thing is that it’s not as easy I’d like it to be to get at all the CDs since I stacked the shelves. Really though, it’s pretty much for show. I keep recently purchased CDs somewhere else. I’m a little further than this photo shows, but I’ve got a ways to go before I’m done. It feels good to be making progress though.

Never Gonna Fit

I decided to go to Ikea at the last minute to pick up some cheap shelves to display the CDs that have been in boxes for nearly 3 years. I took some sound advice from Living With Music. I haven’t had a chance to pick up the small peace of wood to keep the CDs from sliding. I probably should do that before I get too far. I need to go back to Ikea to pick up some more shelves too. I originally got 20, thinking that I might have a few extras. Anyway, I’m only through the Gs and I already have a bunch of CDs I need to rip  onto my external drive. There’s no way all the music is gonna fit on these two shelves, so I’m not sure what to do with the rest. It may be time to trim the collection back, but it pains me. I’ve spent years and years collecting. I did some major filtering before I moved to the shoebox in Venice. I must have gotten rid of nearly 700 CDs. I don’t know exactly how many I have now, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000-3000. Well, it feels good to get the tower of boxes sorted out. I’ll keep you posted.

So Not The Grammys

Today is the first day in weeks that I feel somewhat rested. The last few weeks everyone has been hard at work on Grammy week events. I was largely focused on our show with Hawthorne Heights, Atreyu and Anberlin, which happened on Wednesday. Leading up to the show it was all about coordinating with three managers and two labels. Victory Records (Hawthorne Heights and Atreyu) and Tooth & Nail (Anberlin) were a pleasure to work with. The greatest thing about working with these labels and bands is that you can count on them to work. These are the kind of bands that succeed or fail based on their fans, who spread the word online, buy merch, buy tickets and support the bands in any other way they can. It’s a really inspiring thing to see. Their fans are so dedicated.

I got to the venue and dinner was being served. I walked around, met the managers I had been talking to on the phone for weeks, shook hands with the bands and cleared up some last minute ticket issues with Alexandra (the real rock star of the evening). Guitar World magazine was at the venue taking some photos of the Hawthorne Heights guys. Kids were already lining up outside for a sold-out crowd. Cameras were in position, the El Rey kitchen was being used as the control room and in a small side room the editor was working on some footage for the show and Mark “The Cobra Snake” Hunter was wandering around.

This was a unique show for the S.R.O series because it went out live-live through AOL. There was a great moment while I was standing with Atreyu backstage right before they went on. There was all kinds of hectic activity going on because of the live nature of the evening. Alex (Atreyu’s singer) had a bit of stage fright as he realized just how many people would be seeing the performance. It was just one of those moments that makes everyone involved feel a little more human. The band took the stage and could not have performed better. I was totally blown away and it’s a good thing I had ear plugs.

Anberlin, then Atreyu and finally Hawthorne Heights took the stage. I watched at least a few songs from each band from the floor, but I was all over the place, talking to people, watching from the balcony, watching from the control room and then wandering outside to check on the incoming crowd. The show was awesome and despite a few technical glitches, came off as one of the better shows to date. I think we were able to capture the feel of the show. The fans were awesome and represent what S.R.O. is really about.

On to the next one…

New Songs and Albums for February

Pay attention or this will all pass you by and you’ll never catch up… Wolfmother is hands-down the best throw-back rock…hell, I’ll go so far as to say it’s gonna be the best rock album of the year. What month are we in? Arctic Monkeys are gonna be huge. Maybe just in the UK, but probably not. SXSW will be the place it will start. Mark my words. We Are Scientists are just good. I have nothing else to say. You probably won’t hear much about The Kooks here, but if you’re really into the UK stuff, I suggest you pick up this album. Editors released one of the most gorgeous UK albums of last year. The
album should be getting the US treatment sometime this year. Vitalic is some relatively obscure electronica thing I picked up on eMusic and I couldn’t be happier. Think Aphex Twin meets Basement Jaxx or something. If I had to pick a favorite for this month it’s the Nelly Furtado track, and I’m not kidding. I’m sure in a few months I’ll be sick to death of it, which is when you’ll start liking it. Fans of Dizzee Rascal and Lady Sovereign will love on Low Deep, if you aren’t already lovin’. I was chatting with EJ the other day and found we both share an intense love of Jamie Lidell and all things Warp. Can you dig it? The new Richard Ashcroft album is such a bore, but this track is one of the better ones. Just reform The Verve already…Fuck. I’m skipping over Elefant because I literally just picked this track on the fly and haven’t spent much time with the album. I have no idea who Voxtrot is. I think I grabbed this track from a web site and I thank you. Test Icicles have a clever name, like to scream and yell and write some catchy songs. It sounds a little like some skate punk I used to listen to. I can’t put a finger on it. I think I’m the only person in the US that likes Placebo, so I’m just gonna skip it. I have no idea who Get Him Eat Him are, but they sound kinda like Weezer when they were good mixed with Shudder To Think. Jenny Lewis has a way better voice than Blake Sennett and could probably kick his ass, especially when she’s singing charming country songs. Swoon. I have to come clean about not being much of a Cat Power fan, but this album is gorgeous and it worthy of your attention is you like that singer-songwriter stuff.

01 Wolfmother – Woman (Wolfmother)
02 Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Whatever People Say I Am Thats What I’m Not)
03 We Are Scientists – Inaction (With Love And Squalor)
04 The Kooks – Sofa Song (Inside In Inside Out)
05 Editors – Munich (The Back Room)
06 Vitalic – The Past (OK Cowboy)
07 Nelly Furtado – Maneater (Loose)
08 Low Deep – Get Set (Run the Road Vol. 2)
09 Jamie Lidell – Multiply (Multiply)
10 Richard Ashcroft – Why Not Nothing? (Keys To The World)
11 Elefant – Lolita (The Black Magic Show)
12 Voxtrot – Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives (Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives EP)
13 Test Icicles – Circle Square Triangle (For Screening Purposes Only)
14 Placebo – Drag (Meds)
15 The Sounds – Night After Night [Alternative Version] (Dying To Say This To You)
16 Get Him Eat Him – Exposure (Do As I Tell You)
17 Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins – Big Guns (Rabbit Fur Coat)
18 Cat Power – Living Proof (The Greatest)