All posts tagged concert

  • The Vine live review: Roger Waters ‘The Wall Live’ in Brisbane, February 2012

    A live review for The Vine. The full review appears below.

    Roger Waters – ‘The Wall’ Live
    Brisbane Entertainment Centre
    Wednesday 1 February 2012

    If rock music is, at its heart, a mad combination of theatre, escapism and expression, then The Wall Live must be the warped apex of what rock music was designed for. It has to be said that this is an absurd concept: a band playing the entirety of an album released 32 years ago, while a 12-metre-high white wall is constructed between musicians and audience. It is the product of a brilliant imagination and a breathtaking commitment to realising an absurd concept, night after night, in a series of far-flung countries over the last 18 months. To think that one man envisioned all of this, notebook in hand, is incredible. The logistics of this tour and stage coordination alone is enough to make my head spin.

    Tonight marks the 125th time that this show has been performed since its debut in September 2010. It is a spectacle; an event. Something to get dressed up for; in your best Pink Floyd t-shirt, if the majority of the crowd can be used as a measure. Shortly before the show starts, when everyone’s settled in their seats, a disembodied voice instructs us to turn off the flash on our cameras, as “all you’ll see is white bricks” in the captured image. And that it’ll mess with their projections. A lonely horn plays over the PA in a darkened room. It feels like misdirection. We’re looking around, into the abyss, wondering what’s going to happen.

    Then: the band hit the first chord of ‘In The Flesh?’, pink fireworks launch from the stage into the ceiling, and Roger Waters emerges with his arms held aloft like a prize fighter, soaking in the applause while his band casually work through the track. A stagehand places a thick black trenchcoat upon his shoulders, he dons black sunglasses, and says into the microphone: “So you thought you might like to go to the show? / To feel the warm thrill of confusion, that space cadet glow?” By the end of the song, rows of sparks are cutting across the top and bottom sections of the stage, seemingly showering the band in a hail of white-hot fury; flag-hoisting Nazi look-alikes are being hoisted skywards on a mechanical lift; and a fucking airplane descends from the ceiling, somewhere above the sound desk, and knocks over part of the wall while flames lick its exterior. It is the most jaw-droppingly elaborate concert introduction I’ve seen – and I saw Kanye West last week. Someone behind me jokes, “We might as well go home now.”

    Waters cuts a distinctive figure on stage. Clad in all-black, wearing white sneakers and luminiscent silver hair; but for the bass regularly held in his hands, he’s pure cat burglar. He is the archetypal bassist/frontman combo, perhaps the best we’ll ever see [Waters vs McCartney? – Ed]. And all of this belongs to him. It’s difficult to avoid discussing economics when it comes to this show. We’ve all paid stupid amounts of money to be here — albeit happily. Though he’s doing three shows at this particular venue, The Wall Live is a once-off proposition.

    So here we are: in Waters’ world for two hours and change, including an intermission. All eyes upon a 68 year-old showman who is, clearly, in his element. This entire exercise is a business venture, yes; a very profitable one, as it were. But: this man doesn’t have to do this any more — he probably hasn’t for a very long time. Yet he endures, touring this absurd concept throughout the world, because he loves it. There can be no other explanation. And we love him for it, because… among many other reasons, at which other rock show in the world do you get to witness a plane crashing through a wall?

    It is a wholly absorbing spectacle; at times, so much so that one wishes it to never end. There is a consistent narrative built into proceedings; they’re playing The Wall, of course, but much of the imagery and projections are taken from the film version. The wall gradually fills the stage over the first hour. By the halfway point, the animations and graphics being displayed are so mesmerising that it becomes a source of annoyance that the wall is incomplete, as we can’t see the whole thing. Build the damn thing quicker! Sixteen children emerge for the ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ medley, lending credence to the song’s timeless refrain. An enormous blow-up marionette ‘headmaster’ dances wickedly on the left of stage, wielding a cane, red eyes glowing eerily. Waters breaks the fourth wall (geddit?) a few songs in with the traditional “Hello Brisbane!” greeting. I kinda wish he didn’t, and kept in strict performance mode, at least until the intermission.

    ‘Comfortably Numb’, after the mid-set break – played before a completed wall – is something else. During the chorus, a spotlight is shone upon a singer atop the wall who reprises David Gilmour’s vocals; then, to his left, another spotlight is struck upon a guitarist reprising the same man’s solos. When Waters isn’t singing, he’s pantomiming so goddamn hard that even the nosebleed seats can’t misinterpret his gesticulations: hand-to-brow for “A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon”, hand to mouth for “Your lips move, but I can’t hear what you’re saying”, and – funniest of all – an index finger pointed downwards for “I cannot put my finger on it now”. Yet more evidence of a man in his element, loving every second of the attention. And then, the song’s closing guitar solo: the wall dissolves into an animated rainbow of falling bricks, while the guitarist wails away, faithfully recreating Gilmour’s finest moment. This could well be the most ridiculous moment of the show; one man shredding atop a 12-metre wall, with 13,000 pairs of eyes on him.

    The band, for all their talent, are total wallflowers. They’re great, but faceless throughout the show – though he does introduce them one-by-one at the end, after the wall’s been knocked down. (An incredible sight in itself.) Their comparative anonymity is probably exactly how Roger wanted it. And clearly, what Roger wants, Roger gets. And we love him for it.

    For the full review, visit The Vine.

  • The Vine live review: ‘Foo Fighters at Brisbane Riverstage’, March 2011

    A live review for The Vine. Excerpt below.

    Foo Fighters – Queensland Disaster Relief Benefit
    Riverstage, Brisbane
    Sunday 27 March 2011

    Behind the Riverstage, at the edge of the City Botanic Gardens, the Brisbane River silently ebbs in the night. As ferries pass by, their flashing beacons reflect off the body of water that snakes though the city. A few months earlier, that river rose too close for comfort; for a week in mid-January 2011, Brisbane effectively came to a standstill while its inhabitants rallied first to escape the water, then to salvage what was left in its dreadful wake. It was a scary, surreal thing to live through. Even now, the topic is never far from conversations shared between both friends and strangers. Owing to the city’s one degree of separation, every Brisbanite was either directly affected by the flood, or knows someone that was. Repairing what was lost will take more time and money than can be realistically measured. Still, in the immediate aftermath of what went on in this town and others throughout the state of Queensland, the Premier set up a fund for donations, whose resources will be allocated toward those who lost possessions, homes, or worse.

    Unsurprisingly, a spate of flood benefit shows were held at live music venues across the state, and throughout the country. A couple of weeks ago, this – the largest single natural disaster benefit event since Melbourne’s Sound Relief in 2009 – was announced: American rock act Foo Fighters were to top a bill that included Melbourne stalwarts You Am I, adored Blue Mountains indie pop act Cloud Control, and a local act to be hand-picked by Foo frontman Dave Grohl. (Apparently, he fancied a storming rock quartet named Giants Of Science.) At $99 a head, 9,000-odd tickets to the event disappeared within minutes. Donating to victims of natural disasters seems to be way more fun if the package deal includes a rock show.

    Once inside, the Foos – who performed in New Zealand last week under similar circumstances, in support of those affected by the Christchurch earthquake – offer us a couple more deal-sweeteners at the merch desk: t-shirts ($40) and posters ($30), both designed and printed exclusively for this show. All proceeds go toward the Premier’s flood appeal. The limited run includes 350 posters hand-numbered by the artist, whose design includes the five band members’ faces framed around an outline of a Queensland branded with the Foo Fighters’ logo; underneath sits the Brisbane skyline. (Interestingly, the drawings barely resemble their real-life counterparts.) At my request, a guy behind the merch desk checks some paperwork and tells me that 1,783 shirts were printed for this show. Since they’re doing a roaring trade all night, it’s likely that they’ll have very few left by the end of the night.

    For the full review – and photos by Elleni Toumpas (who also took the above photo – visit The Vine.

  • The Vine live review: ‘Tool at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre’, January 2011

    A live review for The Vine. Excerpt below.

    Brisbane Entertainment Centre
    Monday 24 January 2011

    First, a confession: I am guilty of taking Tool too seriously. Throughout my adolescence, they were my one and only; my idea of modern music’s apex. I took the ride, I swallowed the pill. I bought the shirts. I’ve listened to Tool’s music more than that of any other band. Theirs was the first proper live show I saw, in 2002, aged 14. It blew my tiny mind.

    So it’s with a continuous sense of melancholy that I look upon tonight’s proceedings, and with fresh eyes and broader musical experiences, realise that there’s not a whole lot about Tool that’s remarkable. Having bought into their idea of reality – the anti-image, the mystique, the overwrought psychoanalytical component of it all – so heavily in my formative years, to step back into their world is to question past allegiances. Theirs is a musical rabbit hole deeper than most bands are able to conceive, let alone dig; sift through the smoke and smug, though, and you’re left with a handful of unwieldy hard rock songs that mean a lot to a lot of people.

    The band play ten songs in nearly two hours, beginning with the last track from 1996’s Aenima and ending with the same album’s first track. Timothy Leary’s“Think for yourself, question authority” spiel resonates around the room at the beginning of ‘Third Eye’, a 15 minute-long trek through some of Tool’s weightiest subject matter, and heaviest musicianship. It’s intended to be an eye-opening beginning, no doubt, and it succeeds: yellow lights flash into the audience during the song’s chorus-of-sorts (“In / Out”, sings Maynard Keenan, over and over), while the screens behind the band swirl with violent colour and movement. It is the longest, and probably most difficult song in their repertoire, comprising many different suites which require complete attention from each player. They nail it, though, and thus set the bar high for the set’s remainder. To their credit, nothing they play tonight is met with anything less than their best, and when they’re in lockstep – as in the thunderous midsection of ‘Jambi’ – they’re pretty much untouchable. Adam Jones’ talkbox guitar solo in this song is one of their most inspired musical decisions. It takes me back to the first time I heard it, having bought the album – 10,000 Days – at a midnight launch in 2006. (Remember when people used to line up to buy music? Jesus.)

    For the full review, visit The Vine.

    I am mainly posting this review because of the amazing comments attached to that article. Please click the above link to read all of them; 30+, at time of publishing this blog. I got this amazing hatemail from a Tool fan in a private message on The Vine, which I just have to share with you verbatim. Thanks to ‘DR-HAZE666’ for the feedback.


    Your review is a Joke my friend….. Good for a laugh, and an exceptional insight to your intelligence & taste in music. But, i guess thats why your a journalist & not a musician. AND THANK GOD FOR THAT!!!

    WHITE NOISE”- For future reference,white noise is the sound an old analog T.V makes when turning it to a channel that has not been tuned in to a particular frequency. You know, like continuously moving sand paper, “SSSSHSHHHHHHHHHH” What u heard was 3 “Access Virus” synth’s, in unison. Being utilised to create a trance like,state of concsiousness, & show casing new CGI art, created by Adam Jones. Leaving the band to have a well earned 5minute breather. Also, adjustments to Danny’s kit were done, snare changes etc, whilst this was happening. And tracks ‘ Jimmy’ & ‘H’ (2 tracks played @ Aenima tour) are well beyond 5 minutes in there duration. Which is gives us another insight to your attention span. But hey, each to there own. I was stoked to hear them play tracks like right in two, & intension, as they haven’t played these tunes in previous tours. And intension did not have ANY sequenced parts at all. THEY PLAY EVERYTHING LIVE!!! Stop with the sweeping assumptions, and do some research you fool!!!

    You just saw the smartest, most innovative rock band of this generation, on the biggest stage & light production they’ve brought out here for any previous tour, and you missed it completely. Congratulations bro!!! You may be only a freelance journalist, but you certainly have the ‘BULLSHITTING’ gift of a professional journalist. And yr another reason why bands such as TOOL, & majority of the rest world, detest the media, and the uneducated opinion’s spread to the “TINY MINDS” of the general public.

    So let me get this right…Your a TOOL nerd that has no appreciation for the composition,musicality & musicianship of “SCHISM”. Your high point of the gig was when Justin wallowed a slightly out of tune vocal part, over the chorus of a song, thats originally by “Peach”. A song that consists of 2, maybe 3 chords and a chorus riff, & travels at a tempo of around 60-BPM. And whilst Adam Jones varied the intro notes of ‘Lateralus’, & into an extended version, that proceeded to a world class drum solo, that is virtually impossible to replicate by almost every other drummer on planet earth, YOU FELT NOTHING??? YOU FELT NOTHING???? WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU GET INTO BRO????

    No wonder you had a feeling of melancholy. What you experienced was something similar to say, a 3 year old child, sitting in on a university chemistry lecture.Your in the wrong class buddy!!! The “WOLFMOTHER” workshop is being held down the road, next door to the generic,banality,regurgitation workshop. Put your pen down, and do the world a favour….  kill yourself!!!

    Kind regards.


    Elsewhere: a conversation with Tool frontman, Maynard James Keenan.

  • The Vine festival review: ‘Big Day Out Gold Coast’, January 2011

    A festival review for The Vine. Excerpt below.

    Big Day Out 2011
    Gold Coast Parklands
    Sunday 23 January 2011

    It’s with no small amount of disappointment that the time we should have spent watching Gold Coast indie punk duo Bleeding Knees Club open the Boiler Room, and New Zealand electro-rock act The Naked and Famous open the Converse Essential Stage, is instead spent sitting on a bus. We’re just one vehicle amongst thousands caught in a tedious traffic jam caused by a two-car accident somewhere between Brisbane and the Gold Coast Parklands; call it a downside of Queensland’s reliance upon two- and three-lane thoroughfares between major cities. (I do get to hear the latter band’s final chorus in ‘Young Blood’ ring out from a distance, though, for what it’s worth.)

    Brisbane five-piece Blonde On Blonde are playing fairly by-the-numbers blues-rock on the Hot Produce stage when we do arrive at noon, but they’re interesting enough to avoid  sounding too formulaic. Put it down to frontman Jack Bratt, who charismatically lords over the crowd – which barely passes triple figures – like they’re headlining the festival. Ongoing sound problems threaten to crush whatever momentum and kudos they gain, but it’s a solid cover of the ace Queens Of The Stone Age tune ‘Regular John’ that wins me over. Doesn’t matter that the bass amp is emitting a low whine instead of what the bassist is actually playing. Bratt then closes the set by lashing his guitar into the stage in frustration.

    Brisbane local Sampology mixes up a storm under the shade of the Boiler Room. His adept turntable skills are usually augmented by cleverly-edited videos of famous films, but they’re curiously absent today. Instead, cameramen film his fuzzy mop and sleight-of-hand; a couple of times he glances over his shoulder at the screen, sees himself, and looks momentarily flustered. His mixing and musical taste is impeccable; his set pacing, not so much. While the first 25 minutes are wall-to-wall with killer mash-ups – Outkast’s ‘B.O.B.’ rhymes laid over Sleigh Bells’ ‘Infinity Guitars’ is my fave; I swear he throws in the theme from the ABC TV kids show Ship To Shore for a few bars, too – there’s a definite drop-off as he approaches the end of his set. It’s great to watch Sampology in action, though. The crowd’s with him from the outset, and it appears he’s building a decent fanbase.

    From the shelter of giant tents, to absorbing the sun’s unrelenting heat; weather-wise, it’s as near to a perfect day that this region has experienced in some months. As Airbourne thrash about in front of 24 stacked Marshall amps on the Blue Stage – I’m serious, I counted – I watch the Motorola motocross exhibit from up in the pavilion, and think about where else in the world I could be watching three riders backflip across a ten-metre gap while shit Aussie pub rock plays in the background. From this distance, all I can see is the shirtless Joel O’Keefe’s leg stomping to the beat, while the band plays the same handful of power chords in different combinations. The crowd paying attention to the band isn’t particularly impressive; when Lupe Fiasco begins on the Orange Stage, the numbers triple. Except that Lupe’s not happy with the sound, or the band, or something, and directs them all to stop. With his back to the crowd, he stands for several minutes while his entourage attempt to fix – or at least ascertain – the problem. He’s not having it; eventually, he walks over to his DJ’s table, rips out an expensive-looking piece of equipment, throws it to the stage floor, and walks off. A stagehand replaces it, and incredibly, Lupe returns to stage, throws it to the floor again, and disappears. Then the ten-nine-eight-etc countdown begins again, the band strikes up, the MC returns, and the song is played in full. It’s a very entertaining spectacle to eat a steak sandwich to. ‘The Instrumental’ from Food & Liquor is played within the first few songs, before I relocate to the Green Stage.

    For the full review, visit The Vine. Above photo by Justin Edwards.

  • Junior ‘Issues’ story: ‘Concert ticket scalping in Australia’, October 2010

    Junior is a new street press started by the folks behind Scene Magazine here in Brisbane. 115,000 copies are distributed monthly throughout QLD, NSW and VIC.

    I was commissioned to write a feature for their first issue on the topic of concert ticket scalping. Click the image below for a closer look, or read the article text underneath.

    Issues: To Scalp Or Not To Scalp?

    No discussion associated with live music is as emotionally-charged as ticket scalping. Junior spoke to several key players within the live music industry to gauge their opinions on the issue.

    “It’s a difficult issue, as in some ways it is a free economy and the laws of supply and demand apply,” begins Chugg Entertainment managing director, Matthew Lazarus-Hall, whose company is currently touring acts like Gorillaz and Rufus Wainwright. “The greater challenge is: would the general public accept dynamic pricing from the start? Do people really care that someone paid more or less than the person they’re sitting beside?”

    Lazarus-Hall refers to the practice of changing prices at regular intervals – every few minutes, hours or days – based on actual consumer demand. Introducing dynamic pricing would mean that the quality of a seat directly correlates to the ticket price. In real world terms, it’d mean that those sitting closest to the stage opt to pay more, while those poor souls stuck in the nosebleed section would likely pay substantially less.

    This differs from the existing systems offered by Ticketek and Ticketmaster, wherein a flat rate is applied to all seats within particular sections, regardless of their distance from the stage. For example, ticket holders Row AA in section 42 of the Brisbane Entertainment Centre pay the same as those in row ZZ, despite the spatial difference.

    “There are about 20 different price types on a plane trip from Sydney to Melbourne,” Lazarus-Hall continues. “Same destination, same experience, and people do not care. Whereas at concerts, people are far more emotional and there’s a perception that the person sitting next to you should pay the same – except when scalping is involved.

    “Our preference is that scalping didn’t happen, as the artist misses out on the revenue. We do the best we can [to avoid scalping], but we do not need more legislation,” he concludes.

    National ticketing company Moshtix – who provide service for a wide range of music events, like Splendour In The Grass – welcomed a June 2010 Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC) review into ticket scalping by conducting their own survey, which garnered responses from around 750 Australian gig-goers. Over half of respondents (54%) had purchased a ticket through an onseller; around a third (35%) had paid more than the market price.

    According to Adam McArthur, Moshtix general manager, there’s simply no need for scalping. “We’re against it, because we’ve found that, with the use of some technology tools, you can eradicate scalping without penalising the original ticket purchaser.” These tools include limiting paper ticket delivery by issuing tickets electronically; collecting the names and birthdates of attendees and verifying these details at the point of entry; and a resale facility, which allows ticket holders who can no longer attend events to securely return their ticket to the market.

    No such measures have been adopted by Australia’s two biggest ticketing companies, Ticketek and Ticketmaster.

    “If they’re not being pushed to do it, then why bother?” asks McArthur. “Both Ticketek and Ticketmaster haven’t been challenged in that large arena market for some time. They just keep offering the same services, because they don’t need to change.” Despite these frustrations, he disagrees with the notion of Government intervention. “Legislation is really difficult to enforce in this industry, so the best thing the Government could do is put some broad guidelines in place.” McArthur notes secure ticket delivery and resale facilities as his top two concerns.

    “The government question is hard,” admits the man behind Andrew McManus Presents, whose company is presenting forthcoming tours from Brian Wilson and Guns N’ Roses. For him, it’s more about “the need to make people aware of the risks of buying a scalped ticket, rather than trying to stop scalping.” McManus does point out, however, that he’s against the act of scalping for profit. “On a personal level, it’s unfair for those who line up, wait for hours and miss out on tickets due to some loser buying 50 and selling them on eBay for three times the price, just because he knows the fans will buy it. We put on shows for the fans, not for scalpers to make a buck.”

    Andrew McManus Presents always set a per-transaction ticket limit for their shows in an attempt to curb scalping. The ticket limit “varies from show to show, but is always in place. We also monitor eBay and other similar auction sites,” the promoter says. “Anyone found selling our tickets for profit runs the risk of being reported and having their listing removed, or even having their tickets cancelled. I don’t think sites like eBay should intervene on their own, but if a promoter tells them to take something down, they should. And for the most part, they’re pretty good at doing that for you.”

    “We do get the odd request from venue owners and promoters, but it’s very rare,” admits eBay Australia‘s Head Of Corporate Communications, Daniel Feiler. “Generally though, unless it’s legislated, we don’t remove the tickets. In Australia, there are laws in Victoria and Queensland around resale of certain types of tickets.”

    At present, the only Victorian event impacted is the AFL Grand Final, to which tickets cannot be sold above their face value. In Queensland, it’s unlawful to sell tickets for events held at eight venues – including the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and Suncorp Stadium – for above 10% of their face value.

    “If someone does sell a ticket that’s above 10% for an event where the legislation applies, it’s up to the Queensland Police,” says Feiler. “If they want information about either the buyer or seller of that particular trade, then we’ll provide them with the registration details of those people. Then it’s up to them to choose to make an arrest or issue a fine.”

    Feiler points out that, for a “blockbuster” event held at Suncorp Stadium – which holds around 52,000 people – typically, only a few hundred will end up on eBay.

    “That’s the story that people don’t necessarily hear about,” he says. “There’s an assumption that just because the tickets are being sold on eBay, they’re being sold above face value. Our experience has always been that if you put the tickets in the hands of genuine fans, they’re unlikely to sell them, as they desperately want to go to an event. It really comes down to the promoter, and whether they want to put the systems in place to make sure that genuine fans get tickets first. We don’t see it as eBay’s role to fix up an issue that may or may not be created by poor original distribution in the primary market.”

    Enough philosophising about this issue. Junior went straight to the source, and spoke with a pair of ticket resellers (or scalpers, depending on whether you consider it to be a pejorative term): one who operates on eBay, and one who doesn’t.

    Stuart Hamilton runs a full-time ticketing business under several eBay usernames , including Chilli Entertainment, though eBay accounts for only “a small part” of his customers; most of his business comes from corporate clients. At the time of writing, Hamilton has over 100 ‘buy it now or make an offer’ listings for events which range from concerts like U2, The Wiggles and Iron Maiden, to non-music events like the AFL Grand Final, The Footy Show and Robin Williams. Is the business profitable?

    “Yes and no. At the end of the day, I cover the over heads and make a good wage similar to a middle manager’s wage at any major company,” says Hamilton, who started the four-year old business after leaving his role as senior sales manager. His decision came at a cost: “I often do 10 hours a day on the computer, doing the shit that needs to be done. It’s high stress and high risk: you can lose thousands on a concert if you get it wrong. The trick to this game is to know when to cut your losses, quick. To be honest, I wonder if it’s all worth it at times, and I do have my eye open to new opportunities away from reselling.

    “Sometimes we get a big premium for an outstanding located seat,” he continues. “These are usually purchased by a wealthy person who just wants the best. But we don’t get many of the best tickets – maybe four or six per concert if we’re lucky – so we have to make the most of the ‘big hits’, as it’s not always roses.”

    To illustrate, he points to his tickets to Powderfinger in Perth, which he’s currently selling for half price ($49 each), thereby losing about $70 a ticket. “With 30 of them, that hurts,” he admits. Some of his customers are happy to pay $60-$120 more for a good ticket simply because they “don’t have the time to go through all the stress and headaches of purchasing from Ticketek, whose internet systems often crash during a big-event sale.”

    Hamilton seems content with his role as reseller. “We provide a good service for those who want convenience of purchase, and we’ll often get a better ticket than they could get themselves anyway. If it’s through a safe marketplace like eBay, 99% of the time, no-one will get ripped off. Let the fans have a choice: they don’t have to buy off a reseller, but they then have to make sure they make the effort to get their tickets early.”

    Several independent ticket brokers operate outside of the eBay realm, three of whom were publicly dissed by Suncorp Stadium general manager Alan Graham on in mid-September: Red Circle,, and Simon Williams, manager of the latter website, was none too pleased by being tagged by Graham as an “unscrupulous operator”.

    “We’re not a fake website,” he tells Junior. “We source and supply tickets to hundreds of clients every year, and fulfil our obligations every time. We do not rip anyone off.”

    At time of writing, Ticket Finders’ prices for access to the ‘sold out’ 8 December U2 concert in Brisbane range from $175 (general admission) to $950 (‘Red Zone’ area); face value for these tickets were $99 and $350, respectively. Their web form allows customers to request up to 50 tickets per section.

    “Call it scalping if you want, but ticket broking has been around as long as there’s been tickets for events. We operate in a free market based on capitalist ideals. What’s the difference between buying and selling houses and cars, and pieces of paper?” Williams asks. “I think it’s hysterical that people get so worked up about it. Of course, a ticket’s got more of an emotional attachment to it.”

    “We provide a service: people can’t find a ticket, then we’ll find it. We pay a premium ourselves to find it, and we charge a premium on top of that. It’s not any different to people buying and selling cars or houses, or any commodity. It’s not like we’re selling drugs or weapons.”

    For more information on Junior, visit their website – which, at the time of publishing this blog entry, is still under construction.

  • Dan Deacon Live: Improvisation and Acceptance


    I saw a remarkable show this weekend.

    Melbourne’s Mistletone Records held a label showcase called Summer Tones across Australian venues. 

    The Brisbane show at The Zoo comprised Mistletone artists The Ruby Suns, Lawrence Arabia, High Places, Beaches and Dan Deacon [pictured right].

    Deacon’s headlining performance was remarkable because he got the audience to do ridiculous things.

    At one point, hundreds formed a human spiral by running around The Zoo’s central staircase.

    Then there was a mass hands-behind-back dance-off.

    Then there was a human tunnel that went downstairs and spanned the backstage area.

    Each of these ridiculous, hilarious activities were performed under the guise of acceptance.

    In 2005’s Blink, Malcolm Gladwell discusses the structure of spontaneity that characterises successful improvisational comedy groups.

    One of the most important of the rules that make improv possible, for example, is the idea of agreement, the notion that a very simple way to create a story – or humor – is to have characters accept everything that happens to them.

    […] As  Keith Johnstone, one of the founders of improv theater, writes: “[…] In life, most of us are highly skilled at suppressing action. All the improvisational teacher has to do is reverse this skill and he creates very ‘gifted’ improvisers. Bad improvisers black action, often with a high degree of skill. Good improvisers develop action.” (p 114-115)

    dan_deacon_liveAudience acceptance – the willingness to accept the performer’s wild, physical suggestions – is the difference between the average, static, one-way musical performance, and a memorable show that you’ll tell all your friends about.

    Part orator, part evangelist, part electronic composer: the manner in which Deacon successfully fuses music and theatre is brilliant. As a performer, he is entirely convincing: how else would you get 200 people to chase each other around a staircase?

    In a Rave Magazine interview, Deacon states his preference for booking smaller venues. This is presumably because acceptance and social proof – wherein people rely on the actions of others in unfamiliar social contexts – become more difficult to influence as the size of the crowd increases.

    “It’s a rare occasion [when Deacon’s crowd-pumping antics don’t work], but it depends on the audience,” he continues. “The audience is there to have a good time and enjoy themselves. If not, their life sucks.” 
    (can’t find the article online – it’s on page 20 of Rave Magazine issue #880)


    Of course, Deacon’s highly interactive, personal approach to live performances can’t work for every artist or band.

    Nor should it. It wouldn’t be remarkable if everyone did it. Instead, it’d be boring.

    The same way that a purple cow only sticks out because the other cows aren’t purple.

    There’s an excellent Citypaper article here that further discusses Deacon’s live show and how its outlandish nature – which lends itself to being shared online through photo and video – attracts what writer Rjyan Kidwell terms ‘voyeurs’ . Excerpt:

    “As long as the crowds don’t become too rowdy or violent, I’m excited for my audience to grow,” he said. It sounds clear to me that Deacon has big ideas about what can happen when large groups of people get together in one room, but that he expects the audience to trust and commit completely to his leadership if something transcendent is to be achieved. [Citypaper]