by Dan Bolles
Happy St. Patrick's Day, Solid State! In honor of this most ridiculous of fake holidays, I'm writing this entire post in an annoyingly green font. And no, I'm not drunk. Yet.
This was a pretty quiet weekend for yous truly. Aside from Thursday night's Moses Atwood show at The Skinny Pancake — which was incredible — I made a point of staying in, getting lots of rest and experiencing South By Southwest vicariously through Paste magazine's online coverage. Here me now and believe me later: next year, I'm going.
Within four hours of each other last Friday, My Morning Jacket, Del The Funky Homosapien, Spoon, Yo La Tengo, Jay Reatard, Bon Iver and Mark Kozalek all played shows in various locations around Austin. And that was just Friday. The keynote speaker of the day? Lou Reed at — drum roll, please — 10:30 in the morning. Does anyone else think this one probably got a late start?
I discovered some other interesting tidbits while geeking out. For example, Tom Waits is touring this summer. I would kill everyone reading this post for but one ticket to any of these shows. OK, maybe not everyone. But two or three of you anyway. I'll even take standing room. When the tour dates are officially announced, watch your back, Solid State.
In other news, Weezer is planning to release its sixth album later this Spring. This of course begs the question: why?
Weezer is one of my all-time favorite bands. I firmly believe that Pinkerton is one of the greatest albums ever recorded and defy anyone to prove otherwise. But frankly, Rivers Cuomo hasn't written a good song in, like, 10 years. I'll admit, The Green Album had its moments. But everything after that, including the gag-inducing Maladroit, has been an affront to the delicate sensibilities of wuss-rocking nerds everywhere. That said, I'll still probably buy the album, 'cuz I'm a sucker. And a wuss. And kind of a closet nerd.
Finally, here's a site guaranteed to waste more of your time than Scramble on Facebook — or I suppose, Solid State (rimshot!). It's called Songkick and it might just usher in the next generation of web-geekery. The premise is basically that the site functions as one-stop shopping for music fans to keep tabs on their favorite bands. You can subscribe to feeds and receive updates whenever your favorite artist does anything. Want to know what Colin Meloy had for lunch? Sign up and find out.
OK, it's not that comprehensive. It does, however, let you know when major artists are swinging through your area. I'm guessing they haven't invested much energy in places like Burlington yet, because all they have for upcoming VT shows are: 311 at Memorial Auditorium (yawn), ZZ Top at The Champlain Valley Fair (I take it The Moody Blues were busy?) and — are you sitting down? — Toby muthafuckin' Keith! I'm working on getting an interview as we speak. No really, I am.
But back to wasting time. The real draw is the site's "Battle Of The Bands" feature which allows you to pit virtually any artists you can think of — provided they have some degree of online presence — against each other to see who is more successful/generating more buzz, either via Amazon sales, blog mentions or MySpace plays and visits. Want to see how Grace Potter stacks up against Vampire Weekend? (hint: not well) You can do it.
I believe it was about a month ago that I suggested MySpace plays are becoming more relevant than chart success in the music biz. Nailed that one!
Before we part ways for the day, I'm pretty sure I promised a podcast debut for last weekend. Um, yeah, about that . . .
I'm still working on it. I'm not what you would call "technically savvy." And even though podcasting is super easy, I'm still working on mine. It's a-comin' though. And it's gonna be good. I promise.
Top O' the evening, folks!