Archive for January, 2010

A DECADE of BURNING MAN

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

An accomplishment to say the least that spans the past decade, Contributing Photographer “Dirty Santa” has put together a photo collection of his favorite works from the BURNING MAN Festival.  A true artist, I am proud to know and work alongside such a dedicated and fresh figure of the modern music community.

As I raise my glass, I toast this round to you “Dirty Santa!”  You are a legend to those around you; to me , you’re simply a special friend.  May many years of contributing to the world of music and art be ahead of you.

- Rashon A. Massey

A DECADE of BURNING MAN

A Photography Collection By Andrew “Dirty Santa” Wyatt

Live Nation, Ticketmaster Merge

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Live Nation, Ticketmaster merge after approval

By Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES – Concert promoter Live Nation and ticket-seller Ticketmaster consummated their merger on Monday after the U.S. Justice Department approved it with conditions meant to lower ticket prices for consumers.

Shares in both companies rallied by about 15 percent in trading Monday, showing that investors approved of how the Obama administration handled its first big merger with its appointee Christine Varney as assistant attorney general.

Regulators required Ticketmaster to license its ticketing software to a competitor and sell a subsidiary that handles tens of millions of tickets a year.

That is meant to strengthen the companies that will compete for ticketing contracts and concert promotion work with Live Nation Entertainment Inc., the new company formed by the merger of Live Nation Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.

“Generally when you see robust competition, you see prices coming down,” Varney told reporters. “This is the right result.”

Consumer groups, ticket resellers and some politicians had expressed concerns that the combined company would control too much of the concert experience. Varney said the original proposal for the merger would have been “anticompetitive.”

Both companies agreed to the conditions, but a federal court in Washington still has to approve it. Canadian regulators and 17 state attorneys general also signed on to the deal.

The combined company will handle all aspects of the concert business, including promoting them, selling tickets, beer and parking, putting out albums and managing an artist roster that includes U2, Madonna, Jay-Z and the Eagles. Its operations span more than 30 countries. The companies said music fans will benefit through lower ticket prices because the merged company can earn money in ways that separate companies could not.

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation and the merged company, said the merger creates “a more diversified company with a great selling platform for artists and a stronger financial profile that will drive improved shareholder value over the long term.”

Under the Justice Department rules, Ticketmaster must license its software for five years to Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc., which owns the Staples Center and other venues. It was also directed to sell subsidiary Paciolan to Comcast-Spectator, a subsidiary of Comcast Corp.

But consumers might not notice the difference right away, partly because the merger agreement preserves long-term exclusive ticketing contracts with venues.

AEG and Comcast-Spectacor could take years to effectively take ticketing deals away from Ticketmaster, Gabelli & Co. analyst Brett Harriss said. Only then would ticket fees start to come down, Harriss said.

Varney said about 20 percent of Ticketmaster’s deals with venues will expire in 2010. Previously the vast majority of Ticketmaster clients renewed their deals upon expiration.

Some vocal opponents continued their attack. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said the ruling did not address the resale market that led to consumers paying inflated prices for a Bruce Springsteen concert last February.

It also did not affect the vertical integration the companies proposed — although Varney said her department would monitor the companies for 10 years to prevent anticompetitive bundling of services.

Don Vaccaro, chief executive of ticket resale site TicketNetwork, said having three strong players was better than just one, but it still left small ticket retailers at a disadvantage, especially for VIP seating packages that artists sometimes release through their concert promoters.

“They created a lot of little monopolies on tickets at venues,” Vaccaro said. “It could have gone further.”

Under the deal, the merged entity will be under a 10-year court order prohibiting it from retaliating against venues that choose to sign ticket-selling contracts with competitors. It also must allow venues that sign deals elsewhere to take consumer ticketing data with them.

Live Nation, which is based in Los Angeles, and Ticketmaster, which has headquarters nearby in West Hollywood, have said the merger will streamline their operations, allowing them to save $40 million a year. It reversed a schism that happened in 2009, when Live Nation let its ticketing deal with Ticketmaster expire and instead sold tickets to its own venues with the help of German company CTS Eventim AG.

The merger closed on Monday, with Ticketmaster stockholders receiving about 1.474 Live Nation shares for every Ticketmaster share they own. Ticketmaster shares stopped trading at the end of the day.

Ticketmaster shares rose $2.10, or 15.8 percent, to close at $15.40 while Live Nation shares closed up $1.35, or 14.7 percent, at $10.51. The merged company now has a market capitalization of about $889 million.

Both Comcast-Spectacor and AEG hailed the ruling as an opportunity to expand their businesses.

Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers and two arenas, said it would add Paciolan’s 200 ticketing accounts and complement its capabilities as a venue manager, food and beverage seller and seller of venue-naming rights.

AEG Chief Executive Timothy Leiweke said his company has a commitment from Ticketmaster to run ticket-selling operations under the brands of AEG and its clients starting immediately if AEG wants, and running for five years. He said AEG will “aggressively explore” alternative ticketing platforms in the coming years. AEG can choose to keep Ticketmaster’s technology or develop a separate system by itself or with partners.

ROAD to BONNAROO

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
Road to Bonnaroo Returns for 2010 Round
32 Bands to Compete for 4 Festival Slots
The Road to Bonnaroo runs through 2010, picking up where its inaugural year left off, with one more slot up for grabs. The contest, sponsored by BMI, Mercy Lounge, Yuengling, Camping World, and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, will feature 32 bands with Nashville ties vying for four slots at Bonnaroo 2010, slated for June 10-13, in Manchester, Tennessee. The Road to Bonnaroo will take place over four designated nights of BMI’s free 8 off 8th showcase, with eight bands performing each night. Venue partner Mercy Lounge will host the live action litmus tests, slated for February 22, March 22, April 19 and May 17.
To select each evening’s top contender, an industry panel comprising local music journalists, bloggers, and 8 off 8th hosts will contribute one half of the verdict, while fan-voting through onsite ballots will determine the other half.
The 32 finalists for the 2010 Road to Bonnaroo competition are:

AutoVaughn http://autovaughn.com/
Born Empty http://www.myspace.com/bornempty
Brenn http://brennmusic.com/
Caitlin Rose http://www.myspace.com/caitlinrosesongs
Cassino www.myspace.com/cassinoband
Cheer Up Charlie Daniels http://www.myspace.com/cheerupcharliedaniels
Cortney Tidwell http://feverqueen.com
Delta Saints http://www.myspace.com/thedeltasaints
Dozen Dimes
Glossary http://www.glossary.us/
Hillbilly Casino www.thehillbillycasino.com
How I Became the Bomb http://www.howibecamethebomb.com/
Heartbeater http://www.myspace.com/beatyourheartup
Kyle Andrews http://www.myspace.com/kyleandrews
Leslie www.myspace.com/leslierock
Majestico http://www.myspace.com/majesticomusic
Mikky Ekko http://www.myspace.com/mikkyekko
Modoc http://www.myspace.com/modoc

Moon Taxi http://ridethemoontaxi.com/
My Tyger http://www.myspace.com/mytygermusic
Nobility http://www.myspace.com/thenobility
Non-Commissioned Officers http://www.myspace.com/thenoncommissionedofficers

Pico vs. Island Trees http://picomusic.com

Space Capone http://www.myspace.com/spacecapone
Tesla Rossa http://www.myspace.com/teslarossa
The Privates http://www.myspace.com/theprivates
The Silver Seas www.thesilverseas.net
The Effects http://www.myspace.com/theeffects
The Kicks http://www.myspace.com/thekicks
Turbo Fruits http://www.myspace.com/turbofruits

The Features, the Protomen, and Heypenny claimed last year’s three slots. Ultimately, in addition to promoting the town’s next crop of fresh faces, The Road to Bonnaroo competition uniquely celebrates the city’s homegrown and transplanted indie sounds—and thrusts the freshest faces, ready for their close-ups, out of the roost.
About Bonnaroo
The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a four-day, multi-stage camping festival held on a beautiful 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee every June. Bonnaroo brings together some of the best performers in rock and roll, along with dozens of artists in complementary styles such as jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica, and just about any contemporary music you can think of. In addition to dozens of epic performances, the festival’s 100-acre entertainment village buzzes around the clock with attractions and activities including a classic arcade, on-site cinema, silent disco, comedy club, theater performers, a beer festival, and a music technology village. For its peaceful vibe, near-flawless logistics, and unrivaled entertainment options, Rolling Stone magazine named this revolutionary entertainment experience one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll.
www.bonnaroo.com
About 8 off 8th
BMI proudly presents “8 off 8th,” the free weekly showcase held 9 p.m. every Monday at Nashville music venue Mercy Lounge (1 Cannery Row, off 8th Avenue South). Hosted by a rotating lineup of music community impresarios, each night features eight local (and sometimes nationally touring) artists and serves as ground zero for Nashville’s bourgeoning indie rock scene. Whether it’s launching fledging acts fresh out of the garage or showcasing the latest buzz bands, 8 off 8th’s rapid-fire three-song sets satisfy audiences chasing the next big thing.
www.bmi.com

That Toga Band

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

That Toga Band

Air Play

Contributing Writer : Garret K. Woodward

It’s hard to be a somewhat unknown band in the melodic oasis of Burlington, Vermont.

It’s especially hard when you already possess a raw aptitude for composition paired with a seemingly endless potential for improvisation.

Lurking in the shadows of the Queen City, That Toga Band is a unique experience one might come across at a keg party, a balcony on School Street amid a quite Tuesday evening, during a quick meal at Manhattan Pizza or stirring up more than just a cappuccino at a downtown coffeehouse.

“The sound is based on tone, listening and sonic clarity,” said bass guitarist Thomas Pearo. “We do not try to blow audiences away with a thousand notes a second. Instead, we believe that for every moment there is a perfect note that belongs in that moment. We strive to recognize these notes and let the universe dictate the sonic direction we take.”

That Toga Band

Within the nine-instrumental tracks on Air Play (a tenth emerges simply of a garbage truck picking up trash, the eleventh of an on-air radio interview), the attitude is subtle and inviting. Pearo draws comparison to the likes of Kaki King or Bill Frisell. Guitarist Tyler George-Minetti exhibits a dreary blues approach similar to Steve Kimock, while percussionist Anthony Kareckas provides the timing and patience of a seasoned jazz drummer.

“Our sound is intended to be very powerful and dynamic, full of breath, rhythm and harmony,” Pearo said. “Due to the fact that I play bass and rhythm guitar at the same time, our sound has the ability to change from a jazz trio to a power rock trio to a fusion quartet in a moments notice.”

And yet, after the initial listen, one starts to find themselves amused by the character and personality each soundscape holds, intrigued to hit the replay button once more.

Like two balloons tied to a park bench, Pearo and George-Minetti drift through the album, continuously playing cat and mouse while the stable foundation of Kareckas offers the listener a seat to sit, enjoy and immerse.

What results is a performance of life, stripped down to barebones. It’s about quality versus quantity, as they clearly harness the former.

That Toga Band is a group of ambient rockstars who, instead of tearing up hotel rooms, tear through record stores in search of gems from Dan Hicks or the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Instead of pursuing femme fatales, they engage in conversation with cute wallflowers behind thick-rimmed glasses.

“There are so many people out there who are scared of the term love,” said Pearo. “I want to show people that thru music, love can be shared in a way that is not experienced everyday. We strive to heal the sick with our music, to make people dance, laugh, listen and cry. This is what you can experience with That Toga Band, if you want to.”

Key Tracks:

“Bleedin’ from the Brain”, “Opening Up”, “Adventures of Toga and the Squid”

www.myspace.com/thattogaband

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is!

Contributing Writer : Garret K. Woodward

It’s so funky you can smell it.

Running with the baton handed to them by the late James Brown, the eight-piece “garage soul” outfit (from Austin, Texas) bursts out of the speakers like a shotgun blast. Their utter assault on honky-tonk blues, R&B and soul makes panties drop and bloody brawls ensue. Flagship melody “Sugarfoot” is quite possibly one the catchiest pieces of music ever to come across the airwaves. Led by the charmingly devilish Black Joe Lewis, the octet is clearly educated by the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and Lightning Hopkins.

Yet, the thing most striking about this entity is the mere fact of the youthful exuberance involved in the project. These 20-somethings and early 30s playboys have raised the bar in an often difficult genre to interpret. The effort comes off with such ease and finesse one can only suspect success and adoration for this ensemble of beautifully chaotic funk.