Thursday, April 23, 2009

Joshua James

The Ghost.
The God.
The Devil.

Hell, it nearly sounds cliche and almost trite. But if you've had a chance to see Joshua James and hear the background behind some of his ballads, you'd find they are true stories and not a vivid imagination captured by great songwriting. I've seen him three times now, all by accident. The last time, I watched his tiny frame belt echoes and drop jaws throughout the overwhelming and sold out Ellie Caulkins Opera House before Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova took stage. It was his brief but heart-aching intros to each song that really left an uncomfortable stain on your face when listening to his songs. Horrific deaths in his family. Family substance abuse problems. Friends losing fathers prematurely. A unique view of the holocaust from the view of a child.

From his site:
“I used to isolate myself in my parents basement, away from my five siblings, and devour records by Dylan, Marley and The Doors,” says James. These influences are clear in the simple beauty of his songs, deconstructed yet complicated. One could say his material deals in the contrast of absolutes: Love and Hate, Life and Death, Good and Evil, Pleasure and Pain. “It’s not all black and white, I do enjoy intricacy in my story telling,” states Joshua. “But leaving the gray area there for the audience to draw from often means more."

Joshua James - FM Radio

From his homebases in Lincoln, NE to Utah, Joshua James is on tour now supporting dates for Ani DiFranco, The Duhks and a slew with Rocco Deluca. Aside from his very well-received debut album, The Sun Is Always Brighter, James has also released Sing Songs, an EP of songs that didn't make the final cut for another project, available here from North Platte Records. I strongly suggest the entire first album and also taking a stroll to his MySpace and check out songs that are only available by recommended purchase, such as "Crash This Train," "Ribbon Bows," and "Baby Boy." All full of heartbroken whispers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pertinent songs for pertinent times:
Grey Room

A random post is what you get for random times. A pertinent song for pertinent situations. A rather somber and gray song for a sunny Colorado day and happy camper.

"Grey Room" by Damien Rice is one of my most coveted songs. The reasoning behind this songwriting, his voice, his temperament and the awaited crescendo building up to his plea of momentous words near the 4-minute mark. That clashing of symbols and Rice's realization at the end, erupt. Most of you that know Damien Rice (probably not personally), know he sings about some pretty damn troubling and disheartening situations and doesn't really have a bottle of sunshine in his catalog. You're most likely right. Well, at least with this song, he tried. Rice explains:
This song is about writing songs that are always down and it was ironic because I found myself in that moment where I was down and I was down about the fact that i was writing songs that are down so I wrote another down song...

Although it's one of my favorites, this song has come to my attention (unwarranted) this week by four different people, for two different reasons and in three different & unrelated outings. Ironic? Am I down? Judge as you are free to do. But to me, the lyrics near the end have an uplifting soaring roar to them and though this is another gray song, I think it has a great silver lining. At least to me...

Damien Rice - Grey Room

D. Rice
Grey Room

well i've been here before
sat on the floor in a grey grey room
where i stay in all day
i don't eat, but i play with this grey grey food
desole, if someone is prayin' then i might break out,
desole, even if i scream i can't scream that loud
i'm all alone again
crawling back home again
stuck by the phone again
well i've been here before
sat on a floor in a grey grey mood
where i stay up all night
and all that i write is a grey grey tune
so pray for me child, just for a while
that i might break out yeah
pray for me child
even a smile would do for now
'cause i'm all alone again
crawling back home again
stuck by the phone again
have i still got you to be my open door?
have i still got you to be my sandy shore?
have i still got you to cross my bridge in this storm?
have i still got you to keep me warm?
if i squeeze my grape, then i drink my wine
coz if i squeeze my grape, then i drink my wine
oh coz nothing is lost, it's just frozen in frost,
and it's opening time, there's no-one in line
but i've still got me to be your open door,
i've still got me to be your sandy shore
i've still got me to cross your bridge in this storm
and i've still got me to keep you warm
warmer than warm, yeah

Monday, April 20, 2009

Old Crow debuts a new video

I'd hesitate to call Old Crow Medicine Show a country band. Screw it, I wouldn't. But, last time I called something on this blog with a tinge of "newgrass" or non-traditional sounds accompanying traditional bluegrass as actual "bluegrass," I got an earful. Anywhoo...maybe Old Crow are scream-o hard rock since they use amps and hollar a lot on stage.

It's been out for some time, but the accompanying video for "Caroline" is now ready for your viewing pleasure

My comments? Eh. I LOVE this band. The most energy I've ever seen on stage was watching Old Crow deafen the audio engineers ears at Boulder Theater...twice. This video is just ok and though it IS for CMT viewers, I prefer the more rompin' stompin' version of OCMS that I have become drawn to. More along the lines of this

And it certainly isn't as Joe Cool as the laid-back-swagger video for their Dylan ballad which put them on the map

Ketch, Willie, Morgan, Critter, Kevin and Gill are on tour now supporting Dave Matthews for a few shows and also appearing with another Mountain Tempo favorite on others-Justin Townes Earle! Nope, they're not coming to Colorado either. FML.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rainy Day Songs - Me, Mariah & Sam

You wake up just after sunrise on an open weekend, sleepwalk yourself to your kitchen and grab the steaming cup of coffee or tea and head over to fogged and rain-pelted window to find out it's the quintessential stay-inside day. What song do you want played in the background at that moment?

Me First
For a bit, I was chewing the cud deciding if Damien Rice's "Grey Room" or Bon Iver's "Stacks" would accompany the somber and sighful mood that I would be in. I'm a full-blown optimistic guy and nothing suits me more than sunshine. So why do I gravitate to these angst-filled singer-songwriters basking in gloom? Not sure. But given a day like yesterday and today, days full of low gray clouds where the droplets are not quite sure whether to fall as snow, sleet or rain, all I want are these somber songs to match the beautiful frown outside. For my final answer, I'm choosing the painful hymn of the late Nick Drake. Specifically, his Cello Song.
Nick Drake - Cello Song

On we go to amazing friends that have a trusted knack in musicology...

Mariah Second
Sasha’s remix of Grandnational’s “Talk Amongst Yourselves” (Involver) --- this tune makes we want to get out into the rain and drive up to the mountains (while it plays on repeat in my car). - Mariah K.

Little explanation behind this and shows a completely different attitude when confronted with the elements of mother nature. BTW, I didn't require ANY explanation when asking them for their songs. It's easy to see how Mariah's song does the talking.

Samuel Third
He's been on here before and I'm giving my Samuel Wallstreet Francis Hays Miller even more accolades. His two songs and the brief commentary are a great way to absorb the lull of a frigid Friday.

Song 1
Miles Davis - So What - Kind of Blue

Kind Of Blue: to me, Kind Of Blue is more the birth of cool, than "the birth of cool" was. Miles grew up in east Saint Louis. Having lived in Saint Louis, I hear the fucking clouds that wont leave for 6 months over winter. I hear the industry dying in the decaying pavement downtown. I see the riverboats and their glacial movement down the Mississippi. In yet, when that first horn snaps in around the minute and half mark...damn. Like death makes way for life.

Quincy Jones: "That will always be my music, man. I play Kind of Blue every day - it's my orange juice. It still sounds like it was made yesterday."

Song 2
Radiohead - Planet Telex - The Bends
Thom Yorke complained that he felt he sounds like a refrigerator humming. written in London, the album sounds like it was conceived under water. Either rain drops or within waves. The guitar affects tremolo around your head in a manner any audiophile can appreciate. In fact, check your equalizer - is it optimized to appreciate the way Radiohead is taking its wet arms, its wet peacoat and wrapping it around your body. This song is a girl walking away, it's a job loss, it's a windshield wiper, it's goddamn trash washing out of the alleys, down he streets, out of you... - S. Miller


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lesley Kernochan and The Gospel of Calvin & Hobbes

My friend Keith took me to a small coffee shop show the other night to see a buddy of his on a rickety piano and a sub-par amp system equivalent to those at a high school talent show. I've talked about being jaded a bit and seeing typical big venue shows leave me frustrated and wondering where the showmanship and passion escaped on their rise in the industry. That reason alone is why I often dive into the local music scene to hopefully catch glimpses of performers like Lesley Kernochan. She is not for everyone and she'd probably not take offense that statement. You'd most definitely pass her on the street and in a line-up of would-be performers, she might even be the last one you'd guess to beat-box, roar the hymns of gospel, rise through elongated falsetto cries, and tickle the ivories while cracking jokes. She blindsided me when I watched this Sarah, Plain and Tall type approach the stage.

Lesley Kernochan - Bob Cash & Johnny Dylan

Comparisons are inevitable when trying to explain an artist that is not mainstream. Lesley Kernochan - think some of Lily Allen in a 1950's Betty Bop bar. Think Dar Williams with more sass. Maybe a Nellie McKay on the rising. Think Tori Amos in a burlesque lounge. Kernochan, a recent composer/singer/songwriter Boulderite transplant from Portland, where she received her degree in Music Composition, is...well...a wanted squirt in the eye from a grapefruit. Her music is sassy, fun, full of heartbreak and shots of daily ponderings. Her second album, The Pickle Jar, is available now from her own label, Maple Syrup Music.

Lesley Kernochan - Yes

Full of tracks that distinguish themselves apart from one another due to varying melodies, stories and instrumentation, The Pickle Jar, as Lesley puts it, is "a collection of songs about a few pickles I've found myself in, that turned out to be blessings." Humor yourself and dive in deeper to find out the footprints she has left by investigating her mini-life story available on her Myspace. After time in Portland and travels in South Africa to help the AIDS crisis, I'm glad I can spend a relaxing night in Boulder laughing and being torn by the lyrics and presence of Kernochan.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tip 3 of 3:
Here We Go Magic

Ah...this is a head's up kick to my ears courtesy of my co-worker Jason that sits just across the office from me. Now hear me taste in music differs greatly from those that work around me. They are fans of Hall & Oates, any indie band that hasn't been formed yet, 311, and Lyle Lovett. Not too bad. But I get the stereotype as the light-hearted hippie due to my general love of bluegrass and singer-songwriters. All too often Jason and my other co-workers bring my "perfect" song to me to no avail as I find I can't stand the whiny voice, the fake lyrics or the lackluster "uuumph" in the song. They all too often bring me the extreme of what I'm not. I mean, I love the singer-songwriter but there has to be that spark, that indie beat, that pizaaz to really catch my ear. Well, all that does lead up to this: A few days ago, Jason brought me another song I knew I was going to throw out. Within 4 seconds of him debuting the song, I was hooked. Completely hooked.

Take Paul Simon, a touch of what Vampire Weekend started and pepper in some Hot Chip, Animal Collective/Panda Bear and maybe some Sigur Ros acoustics.

Here We Go Magic - Only Pieces

Here We Go Magic is their name. The longing build-up, the mysterious yet simplistic lyrics, the muffled and metallic sound...they all build with a sense of sustained urgency that makes me want a final clash of fireworks...a huge crescendo. But it never comes and for the first time, I'm OK with the building anticipations they offer with no resting conclusion. I have yet see hear their whole catalog, but I have not found a song by Here We Go Magic that was average, ordinary or that didn't receive countless repeats on my speakers.

Here We Go Magic - Tunnel Vision

Here We Go Magic released their self-titled album over a month ago courtesy of Western Vinyl, but it's still damn hard to find the inside scoop on them. Who are they? Rather, who is he? Luke Temple, a folk/rock singer-songwriter and graduate of School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, who has songs on Grey's Anatomy and opened for Guster, now lends his name to this band who is set to open up for Grizzly Bear on a national tour. Temple is responsible for the recording process though he brings on some cohorts for live performances. And no thanks to them, they are NOT stopping in my neck of the woods this go-round. Go figure.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tip 2 of 3:
breaking news from Iglu & Hartly

Tip #2 comes courtesy of my bestie, Whitney...well, sort of. Iglu & Hartly are the first band I've seen grow from a far-fetched pipe dream to reality. I've seen the hurdles, I've seen their gigs with only a small handful of onlookers and I've seen band members come and go. Recently, I've also seen a fully produced video of them rocking out masses in Amsterdam, heard their song on MTV's The Hills and heard their voice after they signed with Universal Republic. When I had my first DJ slot fresh out of college, it was Whitney who interviewed them, made me listen to their demo and eventually had me be the first DJ to player their song on air. Thanks...self kudos.

Iglu & Hartly - In This City

The Tempo has posted on Jarvis Anderson, Sam Martin, Simon Katz & Co. before and I'm more than happy to do it again. Iglu & Hartly now find themselves permanently residing in California when not tramping on a world tour. You can currently catch them on tour on the west coast before they make a few stints in Ireland and Japan...yes, if you didn't know, MTV is over there too. When I tell friends about them, I try and define their tunes as hip hop inspired by 60's punk, the Ramones, the Clash and a lot of flippy floppies and sun burn. Their agency did a nice work with
Tom Petty meets The Pointer Sisters in a neon karaoke bar in Tokyo singing Tina Turner. The music is a sonic milkshake, a genre blending, culture-defying laser show. Synths, raps, explosive hooks, colorful bridges, sailboats, inspiration.

Iglu & Hartly are set to re-release And Then Boom on May 5th, this time under the supervision of Universal Republic. With hundreds of shows under their belt and tv licensing in full throttle, if you're not familiar with them yet, you just got your sneak peek of what's to come.

Iglu & Hartly - Day Glo

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tip 1 of 3:
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

My music guru, known by many as simply, "JK" (who just so happened to introduce me several years ago to my favorite song of all time), has come through again. This time, he dropped Brooklyn's Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson on my earholes.

Confusing listeners in a good way with his developed sound, poignant lyrics and timeless's odd to find out Robinson is only 24. His self-titled album was released nearly a full year ago, but timeliness or oversight doesn't phase this Mountain Tempo, especially when members of TV On The Radio and Grizz Bear accompanied Robinson it. MBAR on tour in now in the UK and I'll be damned if I miss him on his next go-around in my neck of the woods. Think a bit of Raphael Saadiq meets almost a humbled and drugged Conor Oberst...and then some Ritter maybe? Leading with the anticipated pulsing sounds of his lead track about his own funeral, "Buriedfed" takes a bit to gain traction but then erupts in an oddly composed disarray of clashing instruments and stellar songwriting.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed

And the video isn't too shabby either

Friday, April 10, 2009

I get to see THE BOSS tonight.

I can't sleep. It's nearly 3am and I feel like a little kid waiting to go to Disney World for my first time tomorrow. Embarrassed a little? Yeah. I know I'm spoiled. I work in the music industry and because of generous label reps, artists, managers, my friends at the venues combined with my love of music and job, I've seen hundreds upon hundreds of headliners, mid-level stars and emerging artists. And, most of this has been in the past 4 years. Most people I know have a list of THE ARTIST YOU HAVE TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE. The last one on my list is Bruce Springsteen. I mean, Led Zeppelin isn't THE Led Zeppelin anymore, U2 hasn't put out a real album in a decade, Cash passed before I entered music maturity and my chances of seeing Bob Dylan after the release of Freewheelin' is a few decades late...and I'm only 28. I don't even know who's next after tonight's performance. And I may pre-judging the show I have yet to see, but I'll call tonight a Happening.

I get to see THE Boss tonight.

I think I can blame my mentor back at KBCO who brought me into this beautiful music mess when I was a college intern. He unleashed Bruce on me and drove me to investigate why he was primarily one of the first songwriters, I mean true young-buck songwriters that wasn't afraid to blow the fucking amps, emerge as an American Icon and inspire so many at such a young age. I know I'm a younger Bruce fan and hell, I'm not even from the east coast. Although I've studied it and it's run a heavy course through my heart, my favorite song is not "Born To Run." (Video here) I can't empathize with someone back in '75 going through adolescent turmoils or breakthroughs as this song uppercuts you in the first round with the depth, passion and integrity only a young and roughneck Boss can deliver. I mean seriously, the composition and time spent putting THIS song together speaks volumes for Bruce's impeccable ability at perfection, production, storytelling. The making of just this song has filled many a documentary and web page. The making of the entire album will knock your boots off. But no, this isn't my favorite song and he's not even my favorite artist.

Why then am I so giddy to see such a show? Because he has ingrained his tunes into my soul. Because I am saturated and cognisant of the mark he's left on the history of the music industry as a whole...not just rock and roll. Because I understand what he means to so many other people. And forgive me if you think I'm exaggerating, but because of his iconic stature as the soul of the American lifestyle that Levi's has tried to grasp for oh so long. Because I want to see the man who inspired Peter Gabriel's life-changing movement with Bruce's "standing stretching every nerve." Because I want to partake in the droning "Bruuuuuuuce" that onlookers at the Super Bowl thought were "boooo's." And yes, I'm sad I won't be able to tell my friends and kids (someday, mind you) that I wasn't able to see Bruce with his full E-Street crew. My friends now probably don't even know who Danny Federici is. Most of my generation thinks Max Weinberg is Conan's drummer. Nils Lofgren, Scialfa, Van Zandt, Clemons...I want to see them all.

I do love bluegrass and because of that, my most played Bruce album is probably his tribute to Seeger. But the song I'm most excited to hear? To hear the full story and emotional circumstances involved would require you taking me out for a beer. But, I first heard this song when traveling outside of Amsterdam, staying with some Dutch family friends who brought me to a defunct concentration camp to see where my relatives had passed through before being shipped to Auschwitz. In addition, THEIR friend and her family were personally responsible for saving my German grandmother by hiding her behind a bookcase and feeding her their family's ration of bread during the Holocaust. Knowing that I was American, my host played Bruce over and over and over and over during this emotional trip...and then played the video below for me the moment we got back to his house. It had nothing specific to do with my grandmother, but the tracks were laid and the live release of this song hit me maybe the same way "Born To Run" hit so many back in the 70's. Because of the company I'll be with tonight, my fingers will be slightly crossed and my heart might skip a few beats if Bruce plays one of the very few songs to ever bring me to tears.

I get to see The Boss tonight.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Gregory Alan Isakov

So this is actually the blog post I've been waiting over 8 months to do. My friend and local emerging artist out of Boulder has seemingly reached that cusp in every aspiring artists career. Watching his rooted and humble demeanor stay consistent, the sounds and fan base of Gregory Alan Isakov have been anything but. After catching the ears of the syndicated radio program eTown, charming Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and opening up for countless of headliners, Gregory is now in prime position to impress the masses. And...the once unpolished but heart-strikingly ballad that has been my most played song on iTunes for the past 7 months has finally been recorded, mastered and is set for release. And yeah, Brandi Carlile is the gem providing the stunning backing vocals. Here is Gregory's latest-

Gregory Alan Isakov - That Moon Song

The Mtn Tempo has posted on the South African multi-instrumentalist before in case you need some catch-up on his previous tracks. But, Gregory Alan Isakov is now full swing on tour with Brandi Carlile AND is set to release his new album, This Empty Northern Hemisphere, on May 19. FINALLY!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Arcade Fire: They're up to good

I'm seeing them everywhere lately...except live. I missed their performance some time ago when they saturated Red Rocks. "Nice work self." So why have we been seeing The Arcade Fire everywhere lately?

The trailer for Where The Wild Things Are has been all over the web featuring original music by Arcade Fire. If the trailer is even 3% close to the actual movie, I'm going to be a happy boy.

Here's the original take of the song
The Arcade Fire - Wake Up

Miroir Noir is officially out and for sale. And...this week only, you can stream the entire video over at Pitchfork. Click here to stream it in it's entirety.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Via Toronto and some sad lounges, Emma-Lee

This tip comes courtesy of my radio-collegue turned rocker, Ms. Amy Miller of The Panic Years. Maybe a rejuvenation of the 60's bar era when you'd have those sexy women singing in lounges whilst draping themselves over the ash covered grand piano. Maybe the kind of down-tempo singer you'd get if you added mixtures of Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy, Sam Phillips and Leonna Naess. Emma-Lee comes to us from Toronto and with the angst-filled heartache, she also radiates a stripped soul. Though I've provided the title-track to Emma-Lee's album below, I think her most sensual and exposed track maybe caught on this simple video that makes you want a long drag and a martini.

Emma-Lee just released Never Just A Dream courtesy of Bumstead/Universal. Not only armed with the voice that she facetiously proclaims sounds like a red velvet cupcake, Emma-Lee has also spent her time composing her songwriting depth, which are clearly evident in the album. And how old is this circa-50's heiress? Only 25. Yikes.

Emma-Lee - Never Just A Dream

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Oh No" - Take 2

Ah...another overlook by The Mountain Tempo. A few moons back I posted on a new obsession, Kaiser Cartel. One of my favorite songs (pun intended) of the year was their recording of "Oh No." Not until yesterday afternoon did I find out that this was a cover. And no, I'm not taking anything away from Benjamin and Courtney, as they cover the song beautifully and back it up with a whole album of stellar tracks.

And...they had a damn nice video to accompany their voices and raw version:

But, "Oh No" was actually written by Tracy Thielen, a singer-songwriter who lost his life due to a heroin overdose in 2006. I now know there are numerous covers of this song and I'll stand by KaiserCartel as my favorite. Shivaree is responsible for me diving a bit deeper into the song after hearing Ambrosia Parsley's voice carry that song a bit deeper back in 1999.

Shivaree - Oh, No

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Musicology 300: The cost of ticket prices

***Before you read this, please KNOW that I don't intend to be all-knowing and don't want to get pinned for libel. This is my soapbox and I'll present some ideas for you to consider. Some ideas are parallels based on facts, some are only meant to provoke further thoughts, and some may be solely personal opinions.***


I have been a booker for nationally touring bands. I have worked with promoters and venues both large and small, and know the basic (if there is such a thing) run-down for ticket prices vs. venue takes vs. promoter takes vs. a performers paycheck. Being involved in another side of the biz and watching politics play out can turn your stomach, as it does mine quite often. It's business though. Don't believe me?Keep in mind that Disney On Ice, The Wiggles, and Hannah Montana...they're businesses, not just performers aimed to make you smile.

It was three weeks ago and I bought a concert ticket to the Bluebird Theater in Denver for $10. Why did my bill come $19? Nearly another 100% markup in fees after the initial cost. I also bought a Bruce Springsteen ticket for over $100. This time, I paid only $25 (hey genius, that's 25% in extra fees). Why? Again, no two concerts you may go to have the exact same payment agreement between the several parties possibly involved. But let's take a look at a few scenarios as to where your money may be going when watching The Jonas Brothers rock your soul (God forbid).

The possible players in the game or combinations thereof:
The performer (band members/artists, manager, label, business team)
The Promoter (think Live Nation, AEG Live or maybe an in-house person that works for the venue)
The Venue (Staples Center, Fillmore, Moe's the bar around the corner)
The Ticket seller (Ticketmaster, IronHorse, Live Nation, venue doorman)

-First, the easy scenario-
Scenario 1: You go down the street, enter a 21+ pub and pay a $10 cover to hear your local jam band cover Phish's "Bouncing Around The Room." The venue holds 200 patrons. If this show sells out, someone is going to have to distribute $2000 in door sales. Pending the agreement between the booker/promoter, the band and the venue, the money can be split several different ways. Sometimes, the band will take ALL of the door money, the full $2000. The bar owner may love this as the band can be happy and sell out his bar/venue for the night and the bar owner can take home all bar sales. 200 people x 2 drinks each = nearly $2000 for the small bar owner. Out of the $2000 the band takes home, maybe 3%-10% will go back to the original booker who landed them the gig. The remaining amount in the band's pocket still has to cover their manager's fee, gas, hotel, travel, etc. Hmmm. Other times, their may be an incentive for the band to round up people to come if the bar owner doesn't think they can sell the place out. Maybe this time the bar owner tells the band they can have a guarantee of $500 vs. the till (till = bar sales). Meaning, the band gets their $500 even if three people show up - OR - they get the total bar sales if it is over the $500 mark. This scenario would probably assume that the bar owner has control over ticket/door sales, right? Or maybe the owner gives them door sales vs till. Why would the bar/venue owner choose to do one of these scenarios? Well, when it's a guarantee/door sales vs. till, it seems that the weight of driving fans into the venue shifts between the owner/promoter/band/ticket price, right?

Ok, that's a lot to think about. Let's get to the big players like Elton John, U2, Celin Dion, Bruce, Miley Cyrus and thei big promoters like AEG Live and Live Nation.

-Second, the rough scenario-Again, this is just an example of what MAY OR MAY NOT take place on a given concert performance deal given the parties and combinations involved.
Scenario 2: (actual concert stats courtesy of Billboard, issue: March 7, 2009) Elton John performs at Caesars Palace for 10 shows. Promoter: AEG Live/Concerts West. 8 of the 10 shows sell out. The capacity of the venue is 37,538. Tickets range in price at three levels: $250/$175/$100. The GROSS income of those 10 shows (8 sellouts) is $5,365,772. 10 days, $5 Million = good business plan...maybe.

OK, Ok. You let's JUST SAY you bought your ticket for $100 and let's say that you bought it from Ticketmaster who charged you another $25 in convenience charges. Not too "convenient" huh? How is this huge sum split up? Maybe I have no clue. But let's roll with my lack of brain...

ACDC - Money Talks

A/typically, the promoter (AEG Live) will enter the agreement with a 90/10 breakdown with the artist and venue. This common industry practice tells us that 90% of the box-office gross goes directly to the artist and their team. The other 10% comes back to the promoter (AEG or Live Nation or whomever). Ok, ok, that's cool...$500k for the promoter and $4.5+ Million for Elton John for a tough 10 nights of performances. Now what? Well, there are lots of practices that can take place here. Often, it is Live Nation or AEG Live that has to take the big gamble or monetary swing on whether the show is a success (pulls in enough $$$). Huh? Well, what if a huge snowstorm hits? What if the band leader gets caught selling cocaine a few days before the show and no one shows up in protest? Enter insurance fees that the promoter often pays. The promoter also helps dictate ticket prices. They know how popular the band is and how deep our pockets/love is. They also are the ones that choose and rent the venue, security, and personnel for the show. Sometimes, and yes, they're sneaky - promoters own their own venues (Fillmore/Live Nation). The promoters often front all fees wtih any given concert which even include advertising the show via radio, print, etc. So...just so you don't HATE promoters, they are damn important and have to be on their A-game in order to pull a successful show off. Plus, the artists NEED them too.

You see, promoters have a lot of weight and front a hell of a lot of cash to make a show. They need to re-coup this money. How? Sometimes, the promoter may enter into the agreement with the artist saying that they'll retain a certain percentage of all band t-shirts sold. AEG Live or Live Nation may also tell the arena/venue they'd like '__%' of all food and beverage sales. Hell, AEG Live or Live Nation MAY tell the venue they'd even like a percentage of the parking fees associated with the venue. In fact, promoters make most of their dough off of getting the masses through the door and banking on the fact that they/I/we buy food, merchandise, beer and parking. Where does the venue make their money? Well, on the percentage of the food/beer/parking they chose to keep AND their intial price that the promoter pays them to rent their establishment for the event.

Where does Ticketmaster and their convenient backrub of surplus charges fit in? Well, Ticketmaster can take care of all the ticket sales and present it to the promoter and tour manager nicely...with a huge check too. Ticketmaster has to make some money too here folks. They'll add a nice convenience backrub charge of $25/ticket. We already know the band will take 90% of each ticket sold and the promoter will take the last 10% of FACE value. Why didn't Live Nation or AEG Live sell the tickets and not add a surcharge/convenience fee? Well, that's another topic altogether which is changing right now...Ticketmaster and Live Nation are in a pending merger. But, hold your horses. Ticketmaster will keep part of that $25 convenience fee for their pocket and keeping track of all ticket inventory and the monetary transactions. The other part of the convenience fee goes right back to the promoter as a way of saying thanks for letting us handle the transactions for your event.

Ok, and again, just to stay NOT count these as absolute facts. What I've explained are practiced in combinations with several external factors and parties involved in each performance transaction. And...who the hell am I anyways...just a lonely blog writer. We DO know this: The Band needs a good promoter/booker and manager to get the right crowd in. And yes, we need the promoter and (oh God, shoot me) Ticketmaster to get into our beloved shows.

Is that enough?

Ok, one more thought. Back in the day, Live Nation (the promoter) was owned by Clear Channel, who owns thousands of radio stations. As we said, Live Nation also owns their own venues (so do other promoters, mind you). Do you think any political elbows rubbed closely or lines were crossed when a HUGE band let Live Nation/Clear Channel promote their show, dictate the arena and maybe, just maybe only let certain radio stations sponsor the show and receive in-studio promotional band performances?
Talk amongst yourselves.