Robots That Rock: The Creative Possibilities of Compressorhead

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Now, this post is probably one of the most mechanically interesting and robotically entertaining posts I’ve shared with you in quite awhile, and it’s also got me thinking about a few things.

 

The band is called Compressorhead and to be honest their live performance is a bit robotic.

But that’s a good thing because these dudes are creative bunch. Well, at least the guys who created the band are creative.

 

 

 

Watching this video reminds of going to showbiz pizza as a kid and watching the animatronic bears move and sing as I scarfed down pizza and soda.  But thinking of this sort of thing in a live music context really fascinates me, and it takes things to a whole new mental, physical and emotional level.

And, according to this link, Compressorhead has made a recent live appearance at the Big Day Out festival too. And they have a fan club called the meatbags.

I also wonder if this is what Daft Punk had in mind when they wrote the “Robot Rock.”  Wouldn’t it be cool to see Compressorhead and Daft Punk do a show together.

Speaking of creative shows, what about putting Compressorhead with Tupac to evolve our sci-fi gangsta rap exploration, or maybe invite Japanese artist Hatsume Miku to do vocals and add a bit of pulsing electro-pop to the mix?

And considering our exploration of heavy metal in the Middle East I wonder how Compressorhead would be welcomed in that part of the world? And could these guys cause a riot like Metallica?

And what if we did an experiment to compare the emotional response to a Compressorhead show versus a live human band? What would we discover? Would the emotional response be different? If so, how?

The possibilities and creative wonderings are endless, really.

Check out the video above and more videos here, and let me know if you would go see Compressorhead live and if you would like to see more of these types of bands. If you’ve seen them live, drop a comment and we’ll share your story on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

This is just the beginning of our Compressorhead exploration and stay tuned for more!

 

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My Fitbit Experiment Part 1: What I’ve Learned So Far

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It’s time to take another detour from our usual Live Music Experiments and explore the exciting world of self-tracking.

Over the last few months I’ve been experimenting with Fitbit and the emerging trends of Quantified Self.

Like our other curious detours into community management, social business and road running, I’ve started to discover some pretty cool stuff with this Fitbit exploration. And I’m inspired by several exciting connections I’m made between self-tracking, the live concert experience, mood awareness, human emotions and my creativity.

So let’s dive in and see what I’ve learned so far.

Is It Worth It?

For starters, what I’ve learned is that setting out to walk the recommended daily 10,000 steps is hard. Almost as hard and challenging as touring.

But, without a doubt the journey has all been worth it and rewarding in several ways.

I started my experiment on September 1st when I bought the Fitbit Ultra ($100) and since then I’ve walked a total of 784,221 steps (roughly 361 miles) and climbed 2,270 floors.

I mentioned earlier that setting out to walk 10,000 steps a day is hard. And to be honest, I’ve only been able to hit the 10k mark for three days in a row.

Most of time, without any significant change in behavior, I’ve averaged between 3,000-7,000 daily steps, with my biggest days of activity (over 10,000 steps) being on Saturday and Sunday.

What I love about using Fitbit to track my steps and other activity is that both the Ultra device itself and the online dashboard analytics make it easy to measure your progress every step of the way. (Note: the Ultra, featured above, was discontinued right after I bought it in September and replaced by the One. I haven’t purchased the One so all this info is from using the Ultra and I’ll explore the device differences on a future post).

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Okay, now that I’ve shared some baseline stats and backstory, I’ll take you through four areas that my Fitbit experiment has impacted my life thus far and what future possibilities I’m most excited about .

1. Positive Impact On Mood, Creativity, Stress and Spirituality

When I was in those string of 3 days and walking 10,000 steps a day I did notice that I experienced a positive impact on my creativity and clearity about work projects I was working on.

And like I do during my road roads, I used my walking time to think through mental roadblocks. The reason I love the road runs is that I love the feeling of rush of endorphines from “runner’s high.”

But, unfortunately, I’m not able to run everyday nor is it actually physically beneficial to do so. So what I’ve begun to learn is that I can have the pretty much the same physiological and mental benefits during my long or short walks.

I’ve also found that having a daily goal of 10K steps has helped my spiritual health too. I’ll be honest and say that taking care of myself spiritually isn’t always as important to me as it should be.

But again, during this Fitbit experiment I’ve found that setting out to use Fitbit to track my steps and hit daily goals has really help support and motivate me to maintain a regular practice of mediation and reflection.

For example, when I go on my walks to get my 10,000 steps, I’m also setting out to have quiet time to mediate which usually involves prayer, reflection and visualization of daily and long-term goals.

My usual times to do these types of walks have for the most part been early in the morning or at night before bed. I enjoy those times the best because it’s a great way to start the day and wind the day down.

And these walks almost always put me in a better mood because:

1) The basic physiological benefits of walking calms me

2) When I’m relaxed I can sort through problems better and find resolution

3) I’ve achieved a measurable goal of 10K daily steps and I feel great about doing so (and I just unlocked a cool badge)

Again, I haven’t been perfect at walking 10,000 steps everyday and it’s a been a challenge ever since Calvin joined us.

I’m also going to try to change my daily routine with an afternoon or mid-day walk when possible just because that has proven to help give me a welcomed break during the day.

But, again, this is a big behavioral change and my job doesn’t always allow me to do so. But I’ll see how creative I can get.

One thing’s for sure, having a simple and measurable goal of “I gotta get my 10,000 steps today” has been a extremely helpful little nudge I need to get me out the door and walking, especially when I don’t want to do it.

And these next sections have also been powerful motivators too.

2. Building Relationships & Community

The next thing that I have noticed during my experiment is the strong connection that walking has to building relationships with other people. This has happened in a few ways for me.

For example, Fitbit offers forums to connect with others who are looking share their experiences and tips to keep walking and they offer leaderboards so those competitive folks can be motivated to walk knowing that they’ve got more steps than their friends.

To be honest, depending on the day each of these things and the other areas below have motivated me on those tough days.

And going forward I want to try to develop the community aspect more and join up with groups of my fellow fitbitters for a fun walk and chat about life as we cruise down the road.

When I started my experiment I was curious to see if my social network friends would get annoyed with my step updates. Yes, I’m sure some of them have but I don’t have any real data to confirm the true level of annoyance or not.

But what I can confirm is that one of my friends bought a Fitbit and started her own challenge because of my Facebook updates.  In future posts, I’ll report on how this social influence and motivational element has developed.

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3. Earning Activity Points For Products

The next part of the process that I’ve enjoyed and found valuable has been the points and product rewards I’ve received by linking my Fitbit account to sites like Earndit, Health Month, Endomondo, EveryMove, Walk with Walgreens and the Walgreens Balance Rewards Loyalty program. (Disclaimer note: I work for Walgreens and these comments are my own and not those of my employeer.)

So what exactly have I earned through my Fitbit activity?

Well, for example, over the last two months my Fitbit activity has translated in to hundreds of Earndit and Balance Rewards points that I have used to purchase products that I would actually use like Redbox rentals, fitness gear and home products like the now vitally important baby formula, wipes and diapers.

As self-tracking continues to become more popular in the mainstream and the technology advances, I expect more companies to offer customers the option to link their step and activity data with their rewards or loyalty program.

Besides product rewards, studies have shown that being more active helps to reduce health care costs, and with the issue of affordable health care being a hot topic for our country, I think encouraging and rewarding people to be more active by using a Fitbit or other type of step tracker will continue to be an important discussion and a growing ask of health conscience and data-empowered consumers in 2013.

And to be honest, my experience with Fitbit has been much better than using the usual pedometer because the Fitbit data wirelessly updates making the behavior change easier and the dashboard analytics and mobile app gives me the opportunity to gather more valuable health data than just the average pedometer.

But rewarding myself with discounts and a healthier lifestyle haven’t been the only motivation to change my behavior.

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4. How My Fitbit Activity Helped Hurricane Sandy Victims

During the last three months what I’ve found most rewarding and promising about the future of self-tracking with Fitbit is the ability to transfer my Fitbit activity into points that I can use to support other people in need, such as Hurricane Sandy victims.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, here in the Midwest I was struggling to find a way to help out and just a few days after the storm hit, I received an email from Earndit telling me that they I could redeem all my points and they would translate them into donated dollars to the American Red Cross.

I immediately redeemed my points and had an epiphany!

After that moment, I then realized that my physical activity could not only benefit my own health, but it could be used to help others in need.

And even better, especially on days when I didn’t feel like hitting my goal, I was challenged by the truth that my inactivity could keep others from getting the help and financial assistance they needed.

This is such a profound discovery to make in my Fitbit experiment and it’s been one of the most compelling reasons why I’ve told other people to use Fitbit.

In my research of other similar activity trackers like the Nike Fuel band, I don’t see a lot of users or companies highlighting this as a benefit of self-tracking. And that’s a shame, because it’s a great selling point and could be used to help drive the needed behavior change.

That said, I didn’t see a lot of other companies and organizations partnering with Fitbit and Earndit to do stuff like this, but I hope more companies get onboard in 2013 and that Earndit adds more organizations to their giving tab, because what could be better than rewarding a behavior that helps people stay or get healthy and empowers people to use their healthy lifestyle to help others.

What’s My Goal for 2013?

There are many other things I’ll be exploring and sharing here on Live Fix in 2013, such as:

  • Tracking and learning from the Fitbit activity and baby/daddy exercises I’ve created while raising Calvin
  • Emerging self-tracking trends
  • Using the Fitbit mobile app to make tracking easier and more rewarding
  • Testing the impact of gamification and sharing my activity in my social networks
  • Using Fitbit to discover connections between my daily activities and my sleep habits
  • Using Fitbit to enhance, measure and make our experiences at live music festivals and concert venues more valuable and meaningful.

To wrap up this post, I wanted to let you know that all these positive experiences and results I’ve had thus far with Fitbit have led me to create a goal for 2013.

Yes, my friends, I’m setting out to see if I can walk 10,000 steps a day in 2013 and chronicle my challenge here on Live Fix and on Live Fix Radio. Feel free to ask me how I’m doing and hold me accountable. I know I’m gonna need the welcomed nudge along the way and I’d love to hear about your experiences and challenges too.

As always, it’s been a great year and I’ve had tons of fun sharing  all our other Concert Experiments with you.

How About You?

Are you using Fitbit? What have you learned? What types of live music Fitbit experiments should we do?

 

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Rockin’ The Movember Mustache For Men’s Mental Health

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This month I’m proud and inspired to help change the face of men’s health and join the Movember men’s health movement because, as I’ve shared before, my dad struggled with mental illness for much of his life and it could have been prevented or at least treated with more awareness earlier in his life, and I have several men in my family, like Uncle Johnny, who have struggled with or sadly lost the fight with cancer.

As you can see, my stache is of the blonde variety so it’s coming in a little light. But I’m sure it’ll finish full and strong by the end of the month.

That said, I’m happy and honored to sprout a mustache to raise awareness for the health of men and concert fans everywhere!

Supporting Men’s Mental Health with Live Music Stories

Over the years, we’ve featured many stories that explore and bring awareness to men’s mental health, especially how we proces grief, trauma and loss. So here’s a collection of those stories so we can pay tribute to these men and remember those who’ve passed on, learn from their experiences and hopefully think more about how live music can and has had a positive impact on the mental health of men everywhere in the universe.

 

Why I’m Digging Mantherapy.org

Speaking of inspring stories and creative tools to get us thinking more about men’s mental health, I thought you might want to soak up some knowledge and sobering stats on men’s mental health and check out the mantherapy.org site that’s featured on the Movember list of partner sites and awareness tools.

 

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One of my favorite parts of the mantherapy.org site is the One-on-One therapy DIY Guide. It’s full of practical tips, and knowing how therapeutic live music is, I’m sort of surprised that “going to a concert” isn’t on the guide. Maybe they’ll add it for next year.

How You Can Help: Donate To The Movember Movement

To wrap this post up I wanted to let you know that part of Movember involves raising support. So if you’d like to support the cause, you can visit my Movember page and donate here. Thanks for taking the time and please drop comment so we can share your Movember concert stories on a future episode of Live Fix Radio. And stay tuned for more Movember updates as I include my son Calvin into the mustache mix too.

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5 Elements Of The Perfect Concert Mobile App

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We know that mobile is changing live music. But how are mobiles apps evolving? Are they evolving in the right way?

Let’s take look and see with this quick trip through this Billboard article by Elliot Van Busskirk. Then I’ll offer up a 5 Elements that I think should be on the perfect concert mobile app.

The Billboard article focuses on 5 apps that are empowering fans, bands and venues owners to get more engagement out of the concert experience. Since we’ve explored the senses many times before, my favorite part of the article is the section about using apps to measure our body’s physical response to live music.

Measuring movement is an easy one. A band could also lend out gizmos for measuring heartrate, skin moisture, eye direction, or anything else the body does as a response to music, and use that as another input to then feed back into the music, lights, or both. My favorite litmus test for music is anything that makes my arm hairs stand up on end, but that’s just one of the body’s biological responses to liking, hating, or otherwise experiencing music. Doodads that can measure that stuff are getting cheaper all the time — or, if they’re not, a band could select just a few fans to get these devices, or maybe require that you let them hold your driver’s license. The point is: biofeedback, even though it’s sort of creepy, could make shows a lot more fun while literally getting the fans more involved.

 

Are We On The Right Path?

Elliot and these app developers are on the right path, but after reading the article and thinking through our other mobile experiments I’ve been wondering about a few things.

If we could create the perfect concert mobile app, what would be the most important elements?

What kind of concert app would revolutionize the concert experience and successfully meet the concert fans, bands and venues owners?

Is it even possible to do so?

I think so.

To begin answering those questions, I did some digging and came across these thoughts about creative thinking and innovative product design Daniel Pink who says in his book A Whole New Mind:

Not just function but also DESIGN. It’s no longer sufficient to create a product, a service, an experience, or a lifestyle that’s merely functional. Today it’s economically crucial and personally rewarding to create something that is also beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging.

Not just accumulation but also MEANING. We live in a world of breathtaking material plenty. That had freed hundreds of people from day-to day struggles and liberated us to pursue more significant desires: purpose, transcendence, and spiritual fulfillment.

 

What Do Fans Really Want (And Need)?

I like what Pink says in other parts of his book about incorporating meaning into the creative mix because I’ve had several chats with fans and app developers like Alex with StagePage about how a well designed mobile app should allow fan to get more significance from their concert experiences.

In those fan chats one of the things that we always agree upon is that eventually in the near future, fans will quickly start to ask questions like “What does it all mean? I can take a video during a show, so what? Why did I want to snap a photo during that song and not the other? Why was I so emotional during that song? How can I explain to friends and family why and how that show changed my life?”

This are all questions I think about all the time. And I’m sure many of you have begun to ask them already in various ways.

And I predict that seeking our more meaning and significance to our concert experiences and wanting to share those emotional discoveries with our friends and family will be an emerging trend and more fans will desire to derive meaning from our concert experiences.

And that’s why we need to start thinking of ways to help fans put more meaning to the millions of videos, tweets and photos they’re producing during shows.

Here They Are

So I’d like to continue our mobile exploration and answer some of my earlier questions by sharing 5 elements I believe should be used to create the perfect concert mobile app:

1. Make it simple to measure and record. In order to foster adoption, the perfect concert mobile app should ask users to take simple steps that are a natural part of the concert experience. Give fans a way to easily enter our mood and emotions before, during and after a show. Simplicity is key to any mobile app, especially when you’re trying to get concert fans to take specific actions.

The best task management apps do a great job of making it simple to quickly record information and make it easy to retrieve it later.  I’ve been following other experiments like this one and I hope this type of mood-tracking functionality gets included in the perfect concert app.

And besides making it simple to use, this app should be fun, viral and social. More on that in a moment.

2. Make the data meaningful. Put the data in context so fans can understand how the music is making us feel during the show and how that single moment changed our life.

I’ve been experimenting with Fitbit and I love how the process of looking at my health data helps to put my other daily habits in context with a simply dashboard.

We should do something similar for concert fans.  And if bands and venues owners could access use a mobile app to get more accurate behavioral analytics about their fans during shows that would be a game-changer too.

3. Gamify.  The psychological power of using games has been proven successful in many industries and disciplines. And the concert experience has numerous opportunities to make going to a concert one of the most engaging and addictive gamified moments in our lives.

Whether it’s loyalty points and rewards offered by venue owners for fans who check-in using functionality similar to Foursquare, or letting fans compete against each other during shows for completing certain actions, we need a concert app that gamifies the live music experience and adds value too.

4. Make it social. We know the power of using social media during concerts, so this element is a no-brainer to include on this list. However, I do mention it because we’ve only just begun to realize the true potential of social media within the concert experience. And I’m talking about creating a new type of social experience with this app.

Just imagine if fans started sharing  and tweeting contextual emotional data during shows. But instead of it just being hard and meaningless data, we were able to tell a story with it and enable concert fans to share their unique story – what and why they felt the way they did during a show – with their friends, family and fellow fans.

Now that would be something!

If I could go-back and take a mood-enhanced and emotional data-enriched snapshot that showed me how the music, the crowd and my emotional response all contributed to create the “wow” during the show, I would love to see what an experience like that would reveal to me about what I felt during my favorite shows.

That’s something I would love to share on my social networks. And a story like that is way more engaging and viral than just the normal tweeting we already see during shows.

That’s why we need to have a mobile app that transforms what “being social” means during a concert. And we can do that with emotional and contextual storytelling with the perfect concert mobile app.

5. Tell a story.  We’ve already touched on this element, but I mentioned it again because this fifth element is the most important as it relies on the seamless integration of the previous four.

However big or small, the app should combine all the other 4 elements to tell the fan something new and emotionally meaningful about themselves or the other fans around them.

Whether it’s a simple data dashboard, competitive leader boards, badges, the story should be the data, a contextualization and a synthesis and synchronization of all the previous four elements.

And by bringing all these elements together we will give the concert fan the ability to understand themselves better, get more meaning fromt their concert experiences and give fans the ability to tell a complete story that can’t be told anywhere else.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the year on Live Fix, it’s that we all love to listen to and tell stories. And concerts are full of stories. And the perfect concert mobile app would be an excellent storytelling machine.

What We Really Need

We’re dreamers and visionaries here at Live Fix and without a doubt these 5 elements I believe are the future of concert apps.

Yes, these are concepts. And some of these might be hard to pull off right now. But you can’t deny the fact that we have a great opportunity to engage concert fans in a way that in new and exciting.

We don’t need another concert mobile app that syncs with our iTunes playlist or finds the closest concert. There’s enough of those clogging up our mobile phones already.

We need a concert app that will truly empower fans, bands and venue owners. We need a concert app that will push the concert experience forward.

I believe we aren’t that far away from seeing an app developed that has all these 5 elements.

And once we do create the perfect concert mobile app, I wish we could go back and use it to explore and rediscover these concert fans stories again in a whole new way.

What About You?

What apps are you enjoying? What would you add to our list of features on the perfect concert app?

Share your mobile app concert experiences and thoughts in the comments below, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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3 Things I Learned About Kenny Chesney’s Live Show at 30,000 Feet

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I love it when I read something about an artist that gives me a new perspective on their music. And it’s even better when what I read also makes me want to go see them live.

I had one of these moments on a recent plane trip to Austin when I was thumbing through United’s Hemisphere inflight magazine that included an interview country music star Kenny Chesney.

I snapped three pictures from the interview to share with you because it was these quotes from Chesney that got me thinking differently about his live show.

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I love the quotes because they explore three important topics:

1) his dedication to entertaining his diehard fans

2) his approach to winning over new fans

3) how he seeks intimacy with his fan and is transitioning to the next phase of his touring career.

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And as I was soaring back to Chicago at 30,000 feet I gazed out the window and thought about our Johnny CashTaylor Swift, Keith UrbanLady Gaga and Wilco experiments. How does Chesney compare to those artists?

And if I was flying on Southwest instead of United maybe Chesney would have done a secret show like Mat Kearney did.

Check out Chesney’s quotes and let me know what you think.

Chesney fans, tell us about your favorite favorite concert moments and we’ll share them on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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What Is Your Music Mood: Exploring eMusic’s Aura Machine At Pitchfork Festival

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Yes, we are.

We’re getting closer to doing actual real scientific experiments at concerts. I’m also excited to tell you what I saw because it pushes our experiments forward too.

I say this because during my time at Pitchfork Music Festival I had the pleasure of going into the eMusic Eletromusical Energy Visualizer to see how certain types of music affected my mood and my aura. The booth is part of eMusic’s exploration about the connection between our favorite bands and our auras.

When I frist saw the EEV I was intrigued. I took a look around and then stepped in to see what it was all about.

I slipped on the headphones and put my hands on the sensors.  As I listened to short snippets of Beach House, A$AP Rocky, Ice Age and Lower Dens tunes, the machine flashed and buzzed. Then a few minutes later I step out of the dark booth and was handed a sheet that showed me how my auras were impacted by the different tunes.

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Looking at the sheet I thought how clearly part of this is psuedoscience and what I just took part in was largely for my own personal entertainment.

But as I walked away from the booth and took in the rest of the festival, I thought about a few things.

I thought about how something like this could be a great opportunity to merge entertainment and emotional education and create an experience that would be extremely valuable for concert fans.

For starters, as we already know, live music impacts us on a deep level. There’s all types of stories unfolding.

Going to concerts is a spiritual, physiological and psychological event whether you realize it or not. And that’s what the EMV gets us to consider.

Anytime we have the chance to stop and think about how something that happened at a concert is affecting our mood we’re always better after the experience. And that’s what the EMV does, even if it isn’t completely accurate.

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When I stood in the booth I wanted something more.

I wanted to be able to pipe in the live music that was flowing all around me at the festival. I wanted to be able to do a true sensory experiment of what I was feeling at that very moment or during a heightened moment during my favorite song. I know I would pay for something like if it was able to capture and give a visual representation of what I was feeling on the inside.

With our first baby coming this fall, one of the most amazing things during the last eight months has been to see what the baby looks like as it’s growing inside my wife via the ultrasound pictures.

So why not strive to create a similar priceless picture of what concert fans feel on the inside during a concert that just rocked their world?

What They Should Have Done

All that said, I didn’t only want to know how a recorded snippet of music was moving me emotionally,  I wanted to be able to know how the music surging from the stages was impacting my mood.  I had seen Beach House before and had an amazing experience tweeting human emotion  and I wish I could have piped in their set while in the EMV booth.

So maybe next year, eMusic or someone else will figure out how to pull this off.

Maybe a mobile app could do it?

Maybe next year, we as fans will have evolved as a species to a point where we desire to truly know and have scientific data that shows us how our favorite live music experiences are influencing our moods and changing our lives.  I don’t know about you, but I would love to see how my live music mood and aura compares with other fans and my favorite artists. Then if we’re able to to that, we should be able to understand how our auras and moods impact each others during the show. That would be the ultimate communal concert experience!

We going to explore this more on a future episode of Live Fix Radio, so drop your thoughts and comments below and check out these previous Live Fix Experiments about our moods and senses:

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The Who 2013 Tour: Redeeming More Than Just A 1979 Ticket

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We keep concert tickets because that show meant something to us.

But what about tickets from shows that you never went to.

What would you do if you were giving the chance to redeem your ticket for a show that was supposed to happen over thirty years ago?

Would you keep the unused ticket because of the sentimental value or would you take the offer in hopes of finally getting to have the concert experience you always wanted to have but couldn’t?

Well, The Who fans now have that chance.

Yep, that’s right.  Fans who have a ticket from The Who’s canceled 1979 show in Providence are now being offered the chance to redeem their ticket and see the band in Providence during the Who’s forthcoming Quadrafina tour in 2013.

First, as Pollstar reports:

One of rock history’s bleakest moments was in 1979 when fans attending a general-admission Who concert at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum rushed the stage in hopes of getting the best seats. Instead, they found tragedy in the form of 11 people killed and several injured.

Because of the calamity, Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci ordered the band’s scheduled appearance in his city canceled. The Who has never played Providence since.

But that will change Feb. 26 when The Who roll into Providence to play the same venue it was scheduled to appear at in ’79, now called the Dunkin Donuts Center.

What’s more, venue GM Lawrence Lepore is offering to honor the original 1979 tickets at the 2013 show.

But before you pull that old ticket out of your scrap book, you’ll need to know that it will be treated as a ticket, a 1979 ticket, meaning you’re not going to have anything left of the memento other than the stub, if that.

 

Do Fans Even Notice?

Yes, it is cool that the Who is doing this. It’s actually a pretty entertaining PR move too.

A whole bunch of thoughts started rolling around in my head when I read this story.

For starters, I was thinking that the fans who do redeem their ticket would be paying for a performance by a very different band. Clearly the band isn’t the same as it was in 1979.

But ya now what? Sometimes it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes changes in the band don’t matter to fans.

Sometime it works out in the band’s favor and fans don’t even notice the switch or care that the original lineup isn’t what they’re paying for.

For example, when The Who toured in 1979 the band had undergone a major change.

If you take a quick look at this Who wiki, you’ll see that the 1979 tour didn’t include Keith Moon because he had died in 1978 and was replaced by Kenney Jones who played on their 1979 tour.

Which means that the cancelled 1979 show in Providence wouldn’t have included the full original band anyways. So again, it seems that fans didn’t care and they went to the shows in droves even without Moon behind the drums.

If that’s the case, then there must have been something else that drove fans to the show.

Which brings me to my next thought.

What Does That Ticket Represent?

Thinking about that redeemable ticket and what it represented to fans, I couldn’t help but wonder what those 1979 shows must have been like for fans who were witnessing the raw energy and creative output of Townshend, Entwistle and Daultry as they collectively struggled through the emotional fallout and grief.

Moon was a central part of the Who’s live show and it must have been awkward and immensely difficult for them to play on without him.

What did they feel as they tried to cope with the pain of not having Moon on stage with them? How did that pain influence the music?

Did the band play better because of the surge of sad and angry emotions? How did that struggle influence the emotional reaction of the fans?

I’ve been to some highly emotional shows like this Weezer show where you could feel the palbable energy in the venue but the band doesn’t say a thing and only lets the music do the talking.

Then there are other concerts I’ve been to where grief is the central catalyst and the emotions are part of the dialogue between the bands and the fans, during and between songs. Just like this Sugarland show after the tragic stage collapse.

However it becomes part of the show, and whether or not it was what drove The Who fans to buy tickets to the 1979 tour, these emotional backstories and subplots always take the show to a deeper level.

These moments always make the concert more engaging and memorable because you get to see a side of the artist that you haven’t seen or felt before.

It Happens To GWAR and Michael Jackson Fans Too

And in cases like GWAR fans, the band carries on not for the band’s sake but to support the fan’s emotional and mental health.

That said, it must have been extremely cathartic for The Who to play those shows and equally cathartic  for the fans who probably shared many of the same thoughts and feelings about losing Moon.

So whether it’s The Who fans, GWAR fans or even Michael Jackson fans, what happens in these live music moments is that you have thousands of other fans around you going through the same experience. In my studies and experiement I’ve discovered that concerts are a complex mix of joy, grief and community. Just like this.

But rarely do we stop to think of live music in this way. But we should.

Why?

Because even if we don’t have any specific clinical or scientific proof (yet) that this stuff is happening to us and to those around us, I believe that what drove fans to the 1979 tour was not only the hunger to rock out.

Underneath it all was the fan’s the desire to express themselves through the shared grieving experience of between fans and the band during the tour.

What Will Happen During the 2013 Tour?

So whether it’s joy, pleasure or pain,  I wonder what will fans experience and feel during shows on this 2013 tour? Will the shows be a place of mouring and glorious rush of rocking memory re-call?

Will younger fans (and kids that rock) who don’t know The Who backstory go to the shows to see the remaining legends and be inspired to carry the torch for a new generation?

Will knowing that Pete Townshed and Roger Daultry are the only remaning  members take away from the emotional value of redeeming that 1979 ticket?

Will fans go to the show and just let their emotional memories take over and see the show as a moment to reflect and reminisce on their own life and not even care about missing band members?

All this said, if I was a fan who had a 1979 ticket to see the band, I’m still not so sure I would go to the 2013 show, because to be honest the emotional significance of the 1979 canceled show has more meaning that seeing half the band in 2013.

Don’t get me wrong, I would go to the show to experience Townshed and Daultry live but I wouldn’t say I saw the Who live because for me it just isn’t the same.

What’s Your Take On This?

Do you have a ticket from the 1979 show?  Did you see the band during their 1979 tour? Do you plan on going to the tour in 2013?

If you do plan on redemening the ticket or know anyone who does have a ticket, drop us a comment and we’ll share your story on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Live Fix Radio: The Black Keys, Brothers and Paying For Bar Stools At HOB

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During this episode of Live Fix Radio, we’re chatting with Mike Phillips of Sound Citizen. Listen in as he shares stories of traveling to Ohio to see the Black Keys live with his brother, why he refused to pay for a bar stool at the House of Blues in Chicago and what inspires him to write about live music.  Plus, we’ll talk about how Ticketmaster is offering some “helpful” tips to avoid getting scammed with fake concert tickets.

Subscribe via iTunes.

Show Notes:

Segment one: News and other cool stuff we talked about:

  • Will fans buy tickets to The Taste of Chicago?

Segment two (33:29): Interview with Mike Phillips of Sound Citizen.

Segment three (1:02:52):  Are Ticketmaster’s fake concert ticket tips really for the fans?

Music played during the show

What’s Your Story?

Would you ever pay for a bar stool? Have you ever taken family or friends to a concert for the first time?

What inspires you to write about, share and chronicle your live music experiences?

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.

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What Does Madonna’s Istanbul Nipple Flash Mean To Istanbul Fans?

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As we know, Madonna live always makes for a very interesting concert experiment especially when she does free Super Bowl shows to promote her latest album MDMA.

And now we have some more fleshy and controversial fodder to continue our exploration. (Note: the video above includes brief nudity just before the 3 minute mark, so it’s NSFW.)

As Idolator reports, the Material Girl had her own politically-charged and artistically premeditated wardrobe malfunction while on tour when she recently bared her breast during a concert in Istanbul.

I’m not all that shocked by the nipple-flashing because this kind of thing has always been a part of Madonna style and m.o. throughout her provocative career.

That said, Madonna has never been one to just do something without a purpose behind her actions.

There’s always a method to the Queen of Pop’s madness.

For example, according to reports from the Huffington Post:

So, by assertively flashing her nipple in Istanbul, Madonna was, in the cultural realm, doing something similar for the women of Turkey, perhaps helping to liberate them just a little bit. And what would she follow that up with? A few days later, last week in Rome, she flashed her butt to the crowd. I happened to be in Rome, and I got a chuckle when some in the Italian media actually took note that Madonna’s ass was facing the Vatican. Was she mooning the Pope?

and the Ironcross,

Islamic fundamentalism starts with the oppression of women at home. It starts with a so-called man who oppresses his closest companion, his wife, into a state of virtual slavery. The man decides what the wife will wear, who she will contact, and what she will do. The answers being a full covering of the hijab or burkha, she will have contact with no one, and she will not have a career. The next step comes with a morbid fear of female sexuality. See Mohammed Atta’s, the lead hijacker, last testament which rails against women far more forcibly than anything of a political bent. These people just can’t handle the fact that girls have a sex drive and devote their entire lives to trying to deny that fact. I do not buy into Sigmund Freud much but if he is correct it is in the world of Islam.

Which makes Madonna, a strange messenger to be sure, a perfect vessel to raise the proverbial middle finger to the oppression of women through a nipple in the face of islam. Perhaps she knows not what she does, nor may this be what I am reading into it, but I have to say the Material Girl has her moments.

From an artistic point of view it has great imagery as it shows Islam its greatest fear: a woman with a sex drive and who is proud of it. From a political standpoint: deliberate wardrobe malfunctions have been turned into political statements.

Was It Meant To Inspire, Provoke or Entertain?

I would say it little of bit of all of those. Which of course demostrates the brilliance of how Madonna goes about stirring the political and cultural pot for her worldwide following of fans.

But you still have to wonder…

If Madonna’s breast-barring was a political statement, was it intended to inspire liberation for the oppressed Islamic women in the crowd?

And if it was meant to inspire then does this kind of statement turn the female (and male) fans at the show into active participants or does it keep the audience stuck in neutral as passive entertainees, aka Looky-Loos?

And since Madonna is a woman performing such an action for a crowd of women, it brings back thoughts of how women experience live music in general and in other countries?

And does this type of action during a concert have any long-lasting impact on the lives of the female fans who witnessed it live?

Well, whether it’s Super Bowl shows or moments of political flesh-barring, Madonna sure is giving away a lot for free lately. Or was the nipple included in the cost of the ticket? And do Istanbul fans feel that they got what they paid for and so much more?

Were You At the Istanbul or Rome Show?

Have you seen Madonna live before? Post your thoughts and experiences below and we’ll share them on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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R. Kelly Leaves Fans Trapped In Disappointment After 75-Second Show

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This is no way to celebrate Mother’s Day. And I’m sure Tupac and Kanye wouldn’t do something like this.

As the Stool Pigeon reports, R. Kelly fans were deceived and extremely disappointed by the star’s 75 second concert during Mother’s Day weekend.

Basic admission for the event — billed as ‘An Intimate Night w/ R Kelly (Mothers Day Weekend)’ — was $30, but at the other end of the payscale on a graded ticketing system, VIP bottle service for eight people was offered to those willing to part with an eye-watering $950.

In return, fans were ‘treated’ to the sight of Kelly strolling about the stage in Austin, TX while chomping on a cigar at 12.43am, enjoying a brief spot of karaoke over the album version of his hit ‘Ignition’, and demanding that pretty ladies come join him in the VIP section, or else he would be “up out this bitch”.

Then, as Austin360 reports:

Kelly returned to the stage to explain that “he wasn’t contractually obligated to sing — so what he had done was a favor, of sorts — and that he was there to get drunk and if the crowd would chill out and let him do so he might come back out and do some more.”

Then, as FactMag.com reports:

At another point in the night, a promoter tried to reason with angry fans, claiming that Kelly had paid too many dues to be booed, and that at a similar event in Dallas, Kelly sung for half an hour because people showed him love.

Ticketing website Eventbrite, however, will be refunding tickets purchased for the event, because promoters for the show did not state that Kelly would be hosting rather than promoting.

 

Clearly R Kelly wasn’t trying to attempt the same world shortest concert like Jack White. And I’m surprised no fans tried to give R Kelly a hug when their emotional expectations weren’t met and their hopes were squashed.

In the end I feel sorry for R Kelly fans who continue to stick with him through things like this, court battles and a string of ho-hum albums.

Once again, this seems like another emotional reason for fans to rise up and start a complaints choir.

Do you ever feel like you’re trapped in a closet at a bad concert?

Were you at the R. Kelly show? Have you ever been to bait and switch concert?

Share your concert experiences 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.

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Listly Is A Cool Tool For Live Music Fans

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I got another cool tool to share with you that I discovered while I was at the Community Manager Unconference.

During my adventures I had the pleasure of meeting Nick Kellet co-founder of Listly. I told him about our community of live music fans here on Live Fix and after hearing about the story behind Listly I was excited to merge this tool with our other live music experiments.

I’ve been enjoying Listly these last couple months and I think it’s a great tool for live music fans for a few reasons.

Feeds Our Current Addictions

First, Listly enhances several of the things we love do to as music and concert fans: make lists, rank, share, catalog and categorize.

Empowers Us

Listly empowers us to socialize, evolve and experiment with list-making as it specifically relates to all the niche topics of the live concert experience.

And Listly makes it pretty easy to add to current lists and create your own. There’s even a gamification element that rewards top users with a point system.

More Meaningful, Contextual Concert Fan Storytelling

But what really gets me jazzed about using Listly is that, if used creatively and effectively, it can empower us to add more context and meaning to the story of how live music changes our lives forever.

Overall, it can be a great tool to rank, document and share our favorite venues, mobile apps, emotions, live albums and concert documentaries, and other supporting elements of concert fan storytelling.

Our First List: Top Chicago Venues

So to kick-start our experiment with Listly I’ve created a list (below) of all our favorite Chicago live music venues that I invite you to interact with right away.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more lists that include our favorite live music blogs, albums, concert fan communities and our world-wide music venue bucket list and more.

Go ahead and check out our list below and let me know what you think of Listly and how we can use it to explore and share our live concert experiences. When you make your own, go head and post a link to your list in the comments below.

And stay tuned for more as we invite Nick to talk more about Listly and live music on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

[listly id=”17V” theme=”light” layout=”full” numbered=”yes” image=”yes” items=”all”]

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The Switch: A Concert Live Stream That Matches Your Mood

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Tomorrow we’re excited to have the chance to continue several Live Fix explorations as we tune into “The Switch,” which according to the press info, is a YouTube musical live streaming experience where you can choose between two musical acts based on your mood at the time – energizing or relaxing.

The Switch kicked off in March with a live webcast of two secret shows featuring on-the-rise artists Theophilus London and Givers in Brooklyn, NYC  and April 23 8pm EST is show #2 featuring Childish Gambino and Other Lives who will be performing two secret shows from somewhere on the West Coast.

The Switch was created by YouTube and La Blogotheque, a French music production team known for taping bands playing in unusual settings. Over the past six years, La Blogotheque has filmed more than 300 acts, including Arcade Fire, Beirut, Phoenix, Cee-Lo, R.E.M., Andrew Bird, Bon Iver and Battles.

The Switch sounds pretty cool as it aims to give fans two options to match your mood while tuning in. And we’re looking forward to seeing how it turns out because, as noted below,  this virtual and emotional concert experiment touches on several previous Live Fix explorations.

Let us know what you think and stay tuned for more and we talk with the folks behind The Switch on future episode of Live Fix Radio.

 

 

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LCD Soundsystem’s “Shut Up And Play The Hits” Is A Concert Funeral?

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Yep, we love exploring concert movies that capture the essence of the live music experience. And we’re excited to share the news that LCD Soundsystem‘s Shut Up and Play the Hits will be arriving in theaters this summer.

James Murphy and company wanted to go out in the spirit of the Last Waltz.

And by looks of the trailer, LCD Soundsystem was seeing their final show at Madison Square Garden as a celebratory funeral between them and their fans.

That said, it’s interesting to consider this concert movie as a continuation of our exploration into how concert fans experience grief, loss and mourning during a live show.

But in this situation things are a bit different.

The loss is the ending of a band and not necessarily the loss of a life or a tragic event that happens at a show like the Sugarland tragedy.

And this show isn’t like our 9/11 experiment where fans gathered at a concert to collectively and communally mourn after a shared national tragedy.

And as they mention in the trailer, James Murphy and the band have complete control over the how their “funeral” goes, what songs get played and how longs it lasts.

Those elements of control have me wondering a lot, because celebration, grieving and mourning are central elements to traditional wakes and funerals, and it’s extremely fascinating to re-think having more emotional control of those rituals in the context of the live music experience.

Were You At the MSG show?

What’s your favorite LCD Soundsystem live music love story? What do you think about a final concert being compared to a funeral?

Share your concert experiences and thoughts 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.

For more information about the film before it’s release this summer visit www.shutupandplaythehits.com.

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Should Concert Fans Run Rock ‘N Roll Half-Marathons?

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I’m about to do something I’ve never done before. It’s kinda like running up 80 floors which is kinda like a band touring.

And because I’m constantly curious about the connection between live music and running, I’m going to attempt a new grueling physical and mental challenge and then see what happens during and at the end of 13.1 miles.

I’m going to run the Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicago Half-Marathon – my first half-marathon ever — and I’m excited that this challenge will allow me to explore live music in a new way.

For starters, I know I’ll be thinking about my favorite shows as I run by locations and venues where I’ve had some of my most memorable concert moments.

I’m also inspired by the since of community I’ve experienced as my family and friends get ready to run the race, and I’ll explain more valuable lessons I’ve learned in a moment.

Why Running Rocks My World

As I mentioned before with our blog writing and community management experiments, running has always played a big role in the creative fuel for Live Fix and other areas of my life.

Much of the reason why I enjoy running is because it gives me a chance to clear my mind and explore new creative thoughts as I hustle on down the road.

I also enjoy running because of the mental and physical challenge it presents. I don’t want to run at first but once I get going I often don’t want to stop (again, most of the time).

And towards the end of my runs I’m usually pushing myself much in the same way I push myself through the doubt and fear of the creative process when writing a blog post or a concert review.

And speaking of pushing ourselves beyond our limit and comfort zones, I’m remind how the challenges of running and writing are a lot like seeing 50 shows in 31 days or seeing 100 shows in 100 days.

That said, I’ve begun to see many similarities between running and the writing because, even though I enjoy both experiences immensely, both usually come down to a test of will, determination and endurance.

And as I get physically and psychologically stronger in running those strengths help to cope with the times of weakness in writing, and vice versa.

Thanks Mom

So as funny as it is, I actually have my mom to thank for planting this crazy idea of running a half-marathon in my head.

I should also tell you that she has never run a 5K before. But because the race will benefit cancer research for her sister, my mom decided to run it and actually challenge me to run it too.

And I accepted the challenge. Thanks mom, you rock!

Live Music and Long Distance Running Are Connected?

So now that my mom got me into the race, I’m looking forward to this experiment because this half-marathon will have live bands playing at each mile markers throughout the race.

I’ve never run a race with mini-concerts going on to motivate me and I’m looking forward to seeing what the scene will be like.

What Will Bubble Up In Our Minds During the Race?

How will this sensory-rich environment of live music at each mile marker impact everyone’s emotions and memories?

Will the course concerts trick my mind into not focusing on the physical pain and take me to a new level of psychological escape similar to what I experience when my mind forgets about the grind of life during a concert?

Will any artists be running this race to help building up their touring chops and cope with touring fatigue?

Will the combination of physical exertion and the emotional power of live music trigger emotions I didn’t know were buried down deep?

What I’ve Learned About Community Building

 

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The last thing that has me jazzed about the race is the strong sense of community that has been growing ever since I posted on Facebook that I was running it.

So far the experience has felt a lot like concert buddies going on road trip to see their favorite band or heading to a summer music festival.

For example, within a few moments of my Facebook post family members and friends have commented on the thread I initially started. And I’ve even heard from friends who I haven’t spoken to in a while and they have expressed an interest to run this crazy race too.

It’s been awesome to see everyone come together in this micro-community to share training tips, encouraging each other and even plan time around the race to hangout and enjoy the festive surroundings in downtown Chicago.

This half-marathon experiment has reinforced the truth that if you’re trying to build a community for concert fans, running, writing or Walgreens employees,  you must start small with a committed group and then strive to create a sense of belonging with those people.

And then you must encourage and empower your community to freely share their experiences at every step along the way.

It’s A Marathon Not A Sprint

Probably the biggest lesson I’ve been reminded about is that fact that building a community is a marathon not a sprint.

Building a community is a daily challenge that gradually builds momentum and there are psychological and sociological challenges at each mile marker.

You must take the time to closely listen and know what inspires your community. And when you figure that out, you should gradually nurture that inspiration with encouraging responses to community members, whether that’s sharing helpful links about training or swapping stories about a great concert you just saw.

And if you’re the community leader, you must also connect community members to each other and fuel the community with new topics and ideas.  You must recognize and reward those in your community and encourage them to evolve the conversations and start new ones.

I’ve seen all of this going on in our growing micro-community of aspiring half-marathoners and props to my older brother Joe for setting up the RunKeeper group so we can all stay connected and see how our runs are going.

If you’re looking for great reads on the important elements of community building that you can apply to any community, I encourage you to check out the book The Art of Community by Jono Bacon and weekly posts by Richard Millington. Both of those guys know lots about this stuff and their insights have fueled my inspiration for this half-marathon/live music community building experiment.

I’m sure as I continue to train for the race that I’ll discover even more about community building and the connection between our favorite concert experiences and running a half-marathon, and I’ll be sure to share those discoveries and experiences with you.

If you’ve have similar stories, I’d love to hear about your experiences too.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more as we look to connect with the bands, the organizers of the Rock N Roll Half Marathon and fellow concert fans to share stories on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

Until then, go ahead and post your thoughts, tips, experiences and comments below, and check out these handy half-marathon training guides that I’ve found helpful if it’s your first time too.

Tips & Guides

Sign up for the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon.

Jeff Galloway Half Marathon training guide

Runner’s World Half Marathon training guide

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