During this episode of Live Fix Radio, we’re diving deeper into our exploration of the best mobile apps for concert fans. Listen in to our chat with Alex Miller as she shares the story behind StagePage, her mission to improve how we remember our concert experiences and why she will never forget seeing the Rolling Stones live at Busch Stadium.
And lots of other great concert and music apps at Evolver.fm
Music played during the show
The Rolling Stones – “Under My Thumb (Live)” – 1966
Chairlift – “Planet Health” Live at the Empty Bottle – 2012
The Who – ” I Can See For Miles (Live)” – 1968
What Apps Are You Rockin’?
Have you used any of these mobile apps? What do you think of StagePage’s new approach to live music mobile apps? Got a question about concert fan apps or another topic we talked about during the show?
Share your concert experiences and thoughts about this podcast in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook , Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.
The Madonna Super Bowl halfttime show left me wanting a whole lot more.
And, unfortunately, the best part about it was watching that guy bounce around on that crazy tightrope thingy.
Sure, many fans thought it was a great show, but, unfortunately there was much more that we could’ve experienced together.
As the drama built up during the 3rd and 4th quarter, I realized the halftime show should have been as exciting and thrilling as the game was.
But, as Forbes reminds us, this is what we get for a halftime show that was free and Madonna didn’t get paid for or did have to pay for, but nonetheless the performance was worth a ton of money to the Material Girl:
“Typically, the entertainers for the Super Bowl do not get a cash payment,” explains Marc Ganis, president of the consultancy Sportscorp Ltd. “This is the kind of exposure that entertainers would give their right arm for … they could do 20 Leno and Letterman appearances and still not reach that [kind of] audience.”
So how much is that action worth? Considering that the halftime show is essentially a nationwide advertisement for Madonna’s various ventures, let’s evaluate it in the context of what companies pay for commercial time during the game. Volkswagen recently paid $3.5 million for a 30-second spot, a new record. By that math, Madonna’s 12 minutes are worth $84 million.
It’s Really No Surprise
And that is why halftime shows are usually subpar. The performance isn’t like a normal concert where the artist is getting a traditional transactional reward for performing.
So essentially what we’re watching during the halftime show are really commercials masquerading as concerts instead of actual performances where the artists are getting paid to put on great show.
So if an artist is doing the show for free when they’re use to getting paid, does that set the stage for a phoned in performance? Probably. And let’s face another truth, 12 minutes is not the ideal amount of time to allow anyone to put on a decent show.
So if we’re talking about a 12 minute window of “free time” to do pretty much anything, I think the halftime show should be way more experimental that it is. And we shouldn’t treat the halftime show like it’s a normal concert environment because it’s not.
So as I watched the Giants players plant kisses on the shimmering Lombardi Trophy, I was convinced we as live music fans are ready to experience the next evolution of the Super Bowl halftime show.
We’re ready to engage in more meaningful experimentation and not just a second rate record hodgepodge record release party, which is pretty much what Madonna, LMFAO, M.I.A. and the NFL gave us.
That said, I believe if the fans, bands and brands truly embrace this “free” business model it could help innovate the halftime show.
And what we discover during this experimentation could inspire innovation in other areas of the live music industry.
To get us rolling, here are a few suggestions of how we can make the halftime show more of moment of live music experimentation that pushes boundaries, or at the very least create a moment where we can discover something new instead of repeating the same disjointed and underwhelming blah that was served up on Sunday for 12 minutes in Indianapolis.
1. We’re Ready To Go Virtual.
As a culture of concert fans who are perpetually hungry to head into the future, we’re more than ready to experience a totally virtual halftime show, and I think we need to mash up the media next time around.
And one way we could do it next year is have Japanese virtual star Hatsume Miku and the creepy, albeit funny, etrade baby dual host the show and take us on a new bizarre journey that makes us laugh and celebrates our ever-growing love for living in a increasingly digital world.
The etrade baby could emcee and Miku could rock the stage. Think I’m crazy? Trust me. Just close your eyes and imagine it. It could happen. And let’s face the truth. When real artists can’t entertain us like they should, we need to think about handing the ball off to virtual artists to see what happens.
Heck, we could even hurl a Hail Mary to the entertainment endzone to see if a team of costumed character and puppets like Yo Gabba Gabba can score a stadium-rocking touchdown. This is free entertainment after all.
2. Have One Worldwide Google Plus Hangout.
I’m surprised that Google didn’t use the BIG GAME as a platform to showcase the awesomeness of the Hangout.
Like Daria Musk and other artist (not Madonna by the way) and fans are doing, the Halftime show could’ve been a worldwide festival of concert fan coming together to celebrate live music as one big family on one of the biggest stages in history.
Fans are the heart and soul of the live music experience and instead retro-celebrating the greatest hits for free, we should turn the spotlight on the fans and celebrate not only the present moment, but also the future of how fans will experience live music as social media continues to become a natural thread woven into the fabric of our lives.
Google should jump on this Hangout idea and get to work to see what they can do. They have 364 days to test and see how they successfully innovate and redefine the Halftime show and pull off the world biggest Hangout.
Google is a company that knows better than anyone how to deliver free products while creating value for sponsors, artists and fans. So why not let them have a crack at redefining the halftime freemium business model?
3. Host a YouTube Fan Contest
I saw this third suggestion come through my Facebook stream via Jason Pollock who proposed the idea of hosting a YouTube contest to let the fans pick their favorite artist and then let that artist perform during the Halftime show.
And since Google owns YouTube, I think you could combine this YouTube idea with the Hangout idea and have a halftime show where fans are more engaged than ever.
But just imagine what would happen if fans were not only tweeting about the halftime show but having Hangouts and sending ripples of real-time conversations about their experience across the web in one collective and measurable surge.
For starters, the engagement levels could be pretty sweet on all levels: Fans connect with fans, the artist connect with fans, and everyone has an amazing experience in the process.
And as an added bonus for brands who would sponsor such a halftime show, they too could benefit from the buzz as their brand gets associated with this memorable emotionally-charged moment while audiences enjoy a new way to celebrate live music by connecting with each other and interacting with their favorite artist.
Will All This Be A Reality Next Year?
I hope at least some of this stuff happens because I can’t take another underwhelming halftime show again.
And again, I believe that using social media to rethinking this “free” model presents so many more opportunities to elevate the halftime experience for everyone, whether you’re at the game or glued to all your screens at home.
So let’s get our collective creative juices flowing and see what we can come up with.
What do you think about the free Super Bowl halftime show? How would you use the 12 minutes of share your experiences and ideas in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook, Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.
The exploration in to the community of groove and dance culture continued at Lincoln Hall Saturday night.
In the wake of this sold out show, it’s obvious that Chicago DJ trio Midnight Conspiracy is aiming to innovate the live dance music experience as they stimulate the senses by blurring the lines between house, dubstep and performance art.
This show wasn’t just another excuse to party with the hometown fans. But it was a night to experiment with our emotions, senses and feelings.
Surprised By Revelations
Midnight Conspiracy was in experimental mode as they tested out their new Eye Live Laser Lightshow, a 16-ft LED custom DJ booth in the shape of their Eye Of Providence logo.
And it was an experiment that proved to reveal more about dance culture than I expected.
The Eye was certainly a visual spectaule to behold as it stood high above the crowd blinking in sync with the venue-vibrating electro-rhtyms of rock and bass and casting out beams of light that splashed psychedelic and ravish patterns on the walls and fans faces.
The show began with an ominous voice warning of the manipulation of our minds by the powers that be. But fans didn’t seem to be to interested in being warned about cultural mind control. And once the beat dropped it was obvious that we all just wanted to rock and shake our booties to oblivion.
From there the DJs catapulted us in to a visual and sonic feast filled with eye and ear candy so sweet and delicious that fans pushed their bodies up against the speakers and rubbed their backs and hips against each other making it hard to figure out where one fan ended and the other began.
Speaking of fans, before the show got rolling, I had a most interesting conversation with one fan outside as we waited in line braving the frigid single-digit temps and icy wind that howled down Lincoln Ave.
A Crazy Flood Story
“Did you know that [Lincoln Hall] flooded the last time Midnight Conspiracy played here?” He told me with a wild smile and big wide eyes of awesome anticipation. “The foundation split open and water started pouring out and we all had to leave. It was crazy! And I’m super excited about seeing them again tonight.”
I was amazed to hear the fan’s story. And after a quick Google search afterwards to see if it was true I didn’t find any other account of the story. That said, I don’t know if that fan’s story was true, but nonetheless I’m sure the awesomeness that fan experience during that show was setting the stage for another unforgettable Midnight Conspiracy show tonight. Kinda like these fans.
I received this video below from the band that documents the flooding. Thanks guys. And if you have any other stories or info about this night please send it along.
How Has Clubland Culture Changed?
As the music pulsated all around me and I got lost in the groove, I thought back to our previous experiment of club culture and wondered what Frank Owen would have thought of this show from a fan perspective.
And considering our exploration in Ecstasy use and dance music culture, I wondered what sort of impact drugs and other substances were having on these fans and the band. Would the show have been as “amazing and memorable” without this particular show compared to others throughout house music history.
And since this show was all about “The Eye,” I gazed deep in to the center of the massive structure wondering about the dynamic flow between the band and the fans.
Did You See What Eye Saw?
I say this because what was interesting about The Eye was that it presented a profound perspective on two different vantage points.
From one point the band was looking out at the crowd through The Eye, and from the other the fans were looking back at the band through The Eye.
Yes, the more I thought about The Eye the more I realized that it was a physical representation of the sensual and emotional connection between the fans and the band.
This is fascinating to think about because at most concerts you don’t always have a tangible and physical reminder of the communal connection that makes the show thrive and groove.
And as I think about the concerts I’ve gone to and how this communal connection is celebrated, it’s usually the dance music concerts that have a powerful, almost tribal symbol like the EYE , onstage that fans can focus their attention on during the show.
Sure, some bands have a screen playing in the background or pyrotechnics, but are those show spectacles the same as a massive structure like The EYE, or like one of my favorite symbols, the Daft Punk robot pyramid that was at Lollapalooza 2007?
And I’m sure the promise of this type of strong tribal and communal connection is what made the Midnight Conspiracy show sought after by fans, a show that many fans were willing to wait outside for over an hour in the freezing cold.
And I believe it’s not just the opportunity to escape, but it’s mostly life-changing communal experience that has made live dance music so popular in the mainstream in recent years.
I believe at our core we, as humans, desire to be connected to each other. And live music, whether it’s in a dance club like this, or a rock show, is one of our favorite ways to connect to each other. But is rock music truly delivering the same communal and life-changing experience?
Are Our Live Show Expectations Changing?
I’ll wrap this post up by asking you this.
Is dance music more popular than rock music today because live dance music is giving fans a more satisfying and communal experience than a live rock show?
Are fans coming to shows will different communal expectations than they have in the past?
Which artists do you think are delivering the best communal experience for fans?
The Eye will be tested out again at Metro on February 17th. And the “official” debut of the Eye Live Laser Lightshow will be on March 2nd at the Congress Theater with Zeds Dead, Dillon Francis, and AarabMuzik. Until then, you can check out tunes on the Midnight Conspiracy Soundcloud and Facebook page.
Were you there?
We talked to a lot of fans during the show and we’d love to hear what you thought of The Eye. Go ahead and let us know what you experienced and how you think clubland culture and live dance music is being evolved today.
Without a doubt, the glory of the groove flowed through the venue as fans danced and rocked oblivion to London’s new songs — an intoxicating mix of soul, post-punk, funk and hip hop — and Holt’s rockin’ blend of classic house and rap tracks.
Something He Said…
But there was something that London kept saying that made me think about the connection between live performance, fatigue and artistic creativity.
At several points during the show, London kept saying that he was tired because he had been on tour for 38 straight weeks. Since this was the first time that I had seen London live, because we didn’t get to catch his set during SXSW 2011, I don’t have anything to compare this show with.
Nonetheless, I still wondered how his fatigue was impacting the show. Did it make the show better or worse?
During the show I thought back to my college baseball playing days and I remember a chat I had made with a fellow teammate who firmly believed that he played better on less sleep because it allowed him to be relaxed and play more naturally and fluidly.
But Can The Same Be True For Live Performance?
Can lack of sleep and physical and mental fatigue be an asset to an artist who struggles with stage anxiety? Possibly.
What I do know is that London’s expressed fatigue didn’t take away from this show at all. And when he mentioned it I felt more emotionally connected to his performance and actually empathized with him.
And judging by the reaction to the fans in the front row, I imagine they would say the same too.
Of course, London isn’t the only, or the first artist, to struggle with tour fatigue, or express it on stage during the show.
There Are Others Too
Lady Gaga, Adele, Kings of Leon, and many other artists have cancelled shows and entire tours because of the exhaustig demands of being on the road.
So does constant touring have a negative impact on an artists creativity? And does that physical and mental fallout pave the path for a lackluster show and creative burnout?
According to this excellent article from the 99 Percent, there is a direct connection between rest, creativity and drug use:
For example science journalist Jonah Lehrer, says
“The relaxation phase is crucial. That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers. … One of the surprising lessons of this research is that trying to force an insight can actually prevent the insight.”
and Brian Eno says:
There’s no point in saying, ‘I don’t have an idea today, so I’ll just smoke some drugs.’ You should stay alert for the moment when a number of things are just ready to collide with one another… The reason to keep working is almost to build a certain mental tone, like people talk about body tone. You have to move quickly when the time comes, and the time might come very infrequently – once or twice a year, or even less.
Clearly both of these thoughts and many other great insights in the article are completely at odds with the grinding schedule of touring and the rock star lifestyle.
What’s An Artist Like London to Do?
In order to spread his music staying on the road is a must. But I wonder…
Are young artists like him who are building up their touring muscles more likely to be victims of touring fatigue than older artists?
We’re going to continue this exploration on a future episode of Live Fix Radio and in the meantime here’s a video from the London show and a bunch of links I found that can help educate us on things like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), sleep and creativity and other artist who’ve struggled with or overcome touring fatigue. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
We’re really excited to share this gallery with you because all the photos have been making us think more about the female psyche and how a show like this one — where most of the fans and all the band members where female — is profoundly different from when I saw Grinderman, which was a mostly male and far more primal Dexter-style crowd.
And as you check out Colleen’s set of photos, we invite you to join our experiment as we continue to explore the psychological, sociological and emotional difference between male and female concert crowds.
Your story can be one word or a hundred words. Or you can post a link to a concert fan video or a photo that shows how these bands have moved you live. We’d also love to hear how you think an all female crowd is different than an all-male crowd.
We had such a blast soaking up the groovy and shimmering orch-pop and synthy-sounding tunes of the Freelance Whales that Colleen actually took some pictures for you during the show as evidence, just in case you thought we were lying or making all this up.
During their set, the band said that this would be their final Chicago show or any live concert for quite awhile, so it was cool to share the moment with them knowing that wouldn’t be doing something like this any time soon.
Were You Freelance Whaling For The Kids?
Were you one of the fans who made it to the secret show and were smiling non-stop in the front row? Did you feel great afterwards knowing that you just helped give a kid a chance to play live music? Let us know what you think and we’ll share your story during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.
From the first chest-rattling and thumping beats to the constant wave of crowd-surfers floating above the heads of their fellow concertgoers, it was obvious during Pitchfork Festival Day 2 that live music is a life-altering drug.
And when Saturday’s festivities officially sold out, Union Park was packed with fans who chilled-out on the lawn, danced blissfully into oblivion and experienced the raw emotional power of being captivated and swept up in the rock and fury of DJ Shadow, No Age, Woods, Crissy Murderbot and MC Zulu, Fleet Foxes, Radio Department.
For your viewing pleasure, here’s how it all went down as captured in photos and (a few) words.
What better than to start Saturday off with a fine mix of glitchy jungle beats of via Crissy Murderbot and the righteous dancehall call-and-responses of MC Zulu. Oh, and those plastic lip-shaped whistles were a very nice touch too.
Josh Davis (aka DJ Shadow) says hello to fans and then sets up shop inside in a giant rotating ball that’s illuminated by two projectors on either side. Before he starts, Davis admits that it’s a bit to light out still to really see the stunning visual spectacle he’s created for us. I instantly again with him and start wishing that I could pull down the setting sun faster so I can enjoy the cinematic visuals along with Shadow’s deft set, a mix of his classic albums and new tracks from the forthcoming The Less You Know, The Better. Knowing that he can’t overcome the sunlight, he eventually spins the ball around to continue playing so we can all watch him work his magic.
New York-based Woods starts out slow under the hot and heavy afternoon sun. Then they pick up speed taking us through a trippy adventure of experimental jams and other freaky, spooky and darker melodic joy-rides.
The Radio Department walks onto the Blue Stage flashing confident smiles and utters a brief “hello.” From there it’s all business and pleasure for the rock quartet as they roll through a snythy, slow-purring and glimmering set of melodic, mello and chillaxed tunes. Just what we needed on day such as this.
No Age’s formula is simple and very effective. Play hard, fast and loud. That’s what the fans want and that’s what the art-punk Los Angeles duo deliver for 45 minutes. Crowd-surfing. Sweat dripping from all pores. Faces filled with ecstasy.
Coming back to Pitchfork for the second time, but now as the Saturday night headliner, Pacific Northwest indie-folkers Fleet Foxes glide into the moment cautiously gradually feeling out their songs and the crowd vibe. It was a solid set that had it’s harmonic flashes and flourishes.
But eventually I wish that one of two things would’ve happened instead. 1) Fleet Foxes switch headlining spots with DJ Shadow so we can get the full effect his illuminated projection ball and close the night with a bit more party-friendly thumps and rumble. Or 2) have a DJ Shadow vs. Fleet Foxes live mashup between the two stages. Pitchfork is an experimental and cutting-edge festival when it comes to the music, and I think they could experiment more with the performance options and try to make something like this happen next year.
Next Up for Day Three:
TV on the Radio, Odd Future, Toro Y Moi, and more. And who knows, maybe some we will see some stage-to-stage mashups?
If you’re looking for a great mobile guide to the festival, be sure to download the Pitchfork iPhone app. It rocked and it’s one of the best festival apps I’ve ever used!
Stay Tuned for More Pitchfork Fan Stories
We had the pleasure of talking with a lot of fans today, so stay tuned for more of their stories and experiences coming up this week.
Were you at Pitchfork yesterday? We invite you to share your Pitchfork concert experiences in the comments below, so they can be included in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.
The first day of Pitchfork Festival 2011 might not have sold out with only 18,000 fans piling in to Union Park, a place that can hold around 20,000. But nonetheless the eager fans that did show up were treated to a worthy feast of indie rock, rap and electro-pop. Of the 11 eleven bands that played on three stages, those few bands that I expected to bring the goods did, for the most part. But there were a few that slowly evaporated like mist in the heat of the summer sun ultimately leaving me wanting more.
That said, when it was all said and done, these are the performances and fan moments that defined Day One.
Tune-Yards Plays with Pure Powa
First: the visions of Tune-Yards’ set. The music that Merrill Garbus conjures on stage with her backing band is so sweet, seductive and immersing that you can’t help but be instantly pulled into her sonic portraits of love, joy, pleasure and pain. Under the canopy of trees at the Blue Stage, Garbus came out for a quick sound check to tweak her snare drum them came back with her band to dazzle us with deft live looping, masterful percussion work, and crooning that somehow simultaneously channels Prince, Sam Cook and Captain Beefheart.
Start to finish, she sent surges and throbs through the communal heart and mind of the crowd. Fan faces flashed grins of pleasure, bodies swayed, shoulders and heads kicked back in oblivion. It was all proof that Garbus’ emotive incantations and beautiful afro-pop-meets-indie-rock-meets-soul ballads “Powa” and “Bizness” had us all in the palm of her hand tugging full force on our heart strings.
Then I voyaged over to the Green Stage to see what prog-rockers Battles was up to. But to my dismay, they were subpar and lacked the same driving power and tenacity that they unleashed during their 2008 Pitchfork set. Maybe it was the sound or where I was standing? Sound issues or not, a good band should be able to make you feel at least something with their set, no matter where you’re at or what technical problems they’re having. And I’m sorry to say that I left Battles after a few songs feeling nothing, and headed elsewhere to explore the grounds, chat with other fans and see what else was going on.
A Harry Potter Shout Out
Then a hour later, back at the Blue stage, an unexpected shout-out to Harry Potter erupted from the crowd as fans waited for hip hop jester trio Das Racist to start. One mischievous, albeit timely fan, led the charge screaming “I say Harry, you say Potter!” and all the other fans followed suit laughing as we all shouted back and forth.
As you see in the video above, the wizard-inspired call-and-response quickly morphed into a rowdy chant for water, and seemingly out of nowhere a security guard appeared in the pit and began handing out free bottles of water to the pinked-faced, mildly dehydrated and sweat-drenched fans in the front row.
Shortly after this strange series of events, Das Racist swaggered on the stage and sloshed their way through a zany set of songs filled with sly, semi-intelligent, joke-filled rhymes about money, race and wild parties from their forthcoming debut album Relax.
Deja-snoozing with Animal Collective
Wrapping the night up was electro-jam-rockers Animal Collective. And boy was it an odd a case of deja-snooze as I was shot back to 2009 when Animal Collective closed out Saturday night with a no-direction and overly insular set of synthy jams and mis-directed psychedelic ravy lightshow. So yet again, even though they are pretty amazing on album but not so good live, Animal Collective was given the honor of closing out the day.
And as I headed home I thought it would have been so much better to experience Tune-Yards taking us to the end of an otherwise solid start to the festivities.
Next Up for Day Two?
Fleet Foxes, DJ Shadow and who knows, maybe some more Harry Potter shout-outs? And if you’re looking for a great mobile guide to the festival, be sure to download the Pitchfork iPhone app. It rocked. And it’s one of the best festival apps I’ve ever used!
Were You There?
Were you at Pitchfork? We invite you to share your Pitchfork concert experiences in the comments below, so they can be included in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.
As we explored before with St. Vincent, our eyes are just as important as our ears when it comes to enjoying our favorite concerts.
Working in perfect tandem, our eyes soak up the visual stimulation, while our ears absorb the sonic pleasure of the hypnotic rock and flowing melodies pouring forth from the speakers.
And when I think back to our adventures at SXSW 2011, I’m reminded how much I loved the performance by The Antlers as they took fans through their lead track “I Don’t Want Love” from their new album Burst Apart, one of my favorite albums of 2011 (so far).
And besides the dreamy tunes that engulfed me instantly, I was also captivated by the amazing mural that loomed behind the band as they played at the Stage on Sixth Street.
As you see in the video above, the mural beautifully blends in with the band and adds a magical and majestic aesthetic to the show as legendary performers of the past look down on the band almost challenging them and cheering them on with a mighty, stoic glare of inspiration.
And as certain points during the show it’s almost as if the mural and The Antlers became one, and I couldn’t tell where the live band begun and where the mural ended!
As set rolled on, I couldn’t help but think what those classic performers on the mural would of thought of The Antler’s set. And I also wondered what the Antlers would of thought of a show by Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson.
Were you at the show too? What did you think of the mural?
Have you been at a show and been so captivated by the background visuals? What are some of your favorite concert backdrops you’ve experiences during your live music adventures?
Download and Rock On
Download Burst Apart via iTunes, or listen to the album on MOG via their 14-day free trial. And if you’re new to MOG, you can read about why we love sharing info about this very cool and highly addictive music subscription service in our review.
The Grateful Dead have one of the most unique culture of fans in all of music. And it’s the Deadheads and the band’s openness and intimate connection with their fans that made The Grateful Dead Movie one of the best concert films I’ve seen in a long time, and possibly ever. Continue reading
We had a whole lotta fun at the SXSW 2011 Music Conference! And it was a blast being in Austin for the first time to experience the city’s very special and eclectic live music scene. And here’s a wrap-up of conference highlights, surprising moments, epic letdowns and other exciting trends that had the music industry and fans buzzing all week long. Continue reading
On the night of December 5 2010 over twenty bluegrass, folk and blues bands transformed the Congress Theater into a big ole backyard foot-stomping and knee-slapping hootenanny. It was a real good time. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals rocked hard, soulful and sensual. And Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros made fans cheer, roar and grab uncontrollably with joy, pleasure and ecstasy. This is the story of how it happened.