Tagged: live

FIRST GIG SINCE FEBRUARY – AND WOW, WAS IT WORTH IT!

First gig since Monsters Of Rock Cruise in February. Jesper Binzer, D-A-D‘s frontman, doing his solo thing with his band at Karosserifabrikken in Helsingor in Denmark.

Man, that was like finding water in Sahara after having walked for miles being thirsty without a drop of water in sight!

It was the perfect way to kick our gig-arses back into gear – Jesper Binzer is one of those artists that is 200% genuine and so living-and-breathing rock’n’roll that you could throw him in someone’s back yard and he would turn it into a party. You simply can’t go wrong with an artist like that. He’s stuck to his guns for decades so I for one forgot that we were at a “Corona-gig”.

It certainly doesn’t suck that he’s also got guitar-wiz Soren Andersen (Glenn Hughes, Mike Tramp e.g) by his side up there, who oozes Rock Star with his guitar-hero moves and strutty attitude.
Kudos also to the light-tech who did a stunning job making the small club feel like Madison Square Garden with the mighty light effects. Even the sound this evening was good – and we were in the front where it usually doesn’t sound that good. So – it was a top-notch gig in every aspect, for a tiny, intimate, seated audience of 85 people, to meet the government live-event restrictions.

It was different, but you know what – everywhere I’ve been in the world does something different. You don’t think much of it, you just follow the crowd, cause at the end of the day, you get your reward – a kick-ass concert. And that’s what you came for, no matter what they ask of you.

Sanitize my hands before entering? No problemo, consider it done!
Sit on a chair that’s separated from others? Hallelujah, at least I don’t have to have a stranger’s elbow poking my ribs. It was great.

Chair arrangement

I’d also like to mention that the people working at Karosserifabrikken were true music enthusiasts, organizing these gigs even though they operate at a loss. But the show must go on.
We were so well received, with smiles, optimism, and a genuine love for what they do. I went and got drinks at the bar a few times even though I wasn’t really thirsty, but for the sake of supporting the cause.
We’re all in this together.

Right after we came back to the hotel, we bought tickets for Mike Tramp at the same place. Let’s keep this ball rolling!
Here’s from last night – the starting point back to LIFE!

Starkers in Ioannina? (Gus G & Mats Levén acoustic)

So I made it to Ioannina, Greece – finally. God knows it wasn’t easy getting here. For whatever reason, there are no direct flights from Copenhagen to any of these places that Mats and Gus have been playing on this acoustic tour. It took all day to get to a place in Europe, which would have taken maybe 3 hours tops if there had been a direct flight.

I had to change flights 3 times and finally made it to what mostly resembled a parking lot – Ioannina airport. I’m not kidding, the tiny plane could barely move on that piece of “airport”. ;)

Lovely.

But – as always, these adventures are worth the trouble. :) I’m sitting at the rock club Irida right now, after having listened to the very stripped down sound check. And I have to say, there is no way something like this can go wrong!

Mats Levén has such a strong, powerful and steady voice, he doesn’t miss a note – it’s just pure joy listening to him sing. THAT, accompanied by Gus G, whose guitar is an extension of himself – he and his guitar are as ONE. Whatever he plays is always perfect. Those two together is like squeezing out the essence of what is great and presenting it in its most pure shape and form.

[Sound check:]

After the sound check, the gentlemen went back to the hotel to get some rest (or their beauty sleep!) but I’m not one to sleep NOW, or I’ll just get drowsy later. So here I am. Me and my dear laptop. Show in about 3 hours. This place is just way cooler than my boring hotel, so I’m hanging out here watching metal videos! Live-report soon!

YouTube is your friend, not your enemy

“We are against YouTube. We don’t like it.”

Those words were uttered by a musician a while ago, and if there had been more time, I would have loved to discuss that further.

Every successful business spends a lot of time and money on understanding their customers. A band or an artist is most definitely a business – and a tough one to be in too. You need to understand the mentality of your customers, i.e the fans.

Unfortunately, many artists seem to be stuck in the 80’s and the 80’s way of thinking. It’s 2013 – the minute you choose to get your ass up on a stage, you will end up on YouTube – if you’re lucky. Even back in the hayday of the glorious movie stars in the 50’s and 60’s they knew that ALL publicity was GOOD publicity.  

You’ve got a crowd of a few hundred or a few thousand people with cellphones and built-in cams or little compact cameras with HD-video, in front of you. What’s the smartest thing to do? Thinking of it as a threat or using it to your own benefit? There is an old saying that goes – If you can’t beat them – Join them. 

Every smart artist nowadays will do the latter. Even those who were initially against YouTube have now realized that it’s a powerful marketing-tool. If you’re not on YouTube – you simply don’t exist.

The more videos a band has on that thing, the more popular they will seem, because nobody’s gonna waste time and effort filming and sharing a boring, uninteresting band. It’s a compliment that someone has taken time from their concert-experience, to share it with others.

Cause unlike records, a live-experience can’t be copied. You can’t distribute and share the feeling and the buzz of being in a crowd, that true live-experience that people pay tons of money for. The ONE thing that artists today actually CAN make money from, if they know how to do it properly.

So, a fan-filmed YouTube-video should be looked at as a PR-video for the NEXT show a band is gonna do. I’ve had people commenting or e-mailing on my videos, saying that the show I filmed looked so awesome that they’ve decided to go see the band when they’re playing in their town.

Being the one uploading live-vids, I’m not making ANY benefit from it whatsoever. I’ve not made as much as a penny doing that. But the bands – as much as they may be bitching about it (some of them) HAVE.

Most of them are probably even totally unaware of the two or three extra people that bought a ticket to their next show, based on a live clip they saw on YouTube. But those three people may be the ones telling THEIR friends about the kickass band they saw last night! That’s the way it works.

Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P) has always been against cameras at his shows. But a few years ago, at a press-conference at Sweden Rock Festival, he had to admit that there’s no point trying to fight it. Instead, he had chosen to subscribe to the Grateful Dead-way of thinking.

Now THERE’s an interesting band to take a look at from a marketing point of view.

There is too much to say about how they’ve profited BIG TIME on allowing fans to participate in the live-experience of the band. I suggest you Google it, it’s pretty interesting actually.

Grateful Dead were early pioneers of “how to let fans have your music for free and still make a profit”. They even let fans plug right into their soundboards.

To learn more – go check this out: http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Lessons-Grateful-Dead-Business/dp/0470900520

What are some of the marketing lessons that businesses can learn from The Grateful Dead?
Brian: The fundamental assumption in almost every band’s business model was that they were going to make their money on album sales. The Grateful Dead rejected that assumption. Their fundamental business model was based on making money from the concerts.

Because of that change, there was a cascade of decisions that fell from that. For instance, each concert was completely unique night-after-night, so there was a strong incentive to see them for several nights in a row – this ultimately led to fans following them around the country.

In addition, they allowed their fans to make tapes of the concerts and freely spread them to their fansthe more concerts they played, the more tapes there were, the more people were exposed to the music, the more people paid for concert tickets.

David: The Grateful Dead let their audience define the Grateful Dead experience. Concerts were a happening, a destination where all 20,000 or more audience members were actually part of the experience.

Making fans an equal partner in a mutual journey, the Grateful Dead teaches us that our community defines who we are. In an era of instant communications on Twitter, blogs and the like, we learn that companies cannot force a mindset on their customers.

Not that I’m a big fan of the Grateful Dead, but they definitely knew what they were doing.

Going back to the musician who was saying that he didn’t like YouTube because he had no control over what was being distributed and he couldn’t edit it and such… That’s all just an ego-thing. I understand it, I don’t like people taking pics of me where I look goddamn awful, uploading it to their Facebooks and Instagrams. I have no control over that either. It’s a pain in the ass. But I’m not an artist who has chosen to be looked at/listened to.

If the bands think of YouTube as a threat because they have no control, I don’t see why they don’t simply TAKE control?!

Unless they give people an ALTERNATIVE, people will go to the “unofficial” material, cause there’s nothing else to choose from.

Why not bring someone on tour who’s good at filming and editing – who they can “control” – open a YouTube-channel called XXX On Tour 2013 – watch it here! And put good quality videos up there regularly?

Maybe even take a small fee for letting people download these good quality clips each day? I for one would prefer that anytime, to the crappy iPhone-videos with horrible audio that people upload on YouTube.

I’m far from a pro, but I feel that the least I can do for a band and their fans, is to provide videos with decent audio. At least as decent as you can get with the size and type of cameras you’re allowed to use without getting into trouble with security.

GRASPOP festival did a great thing last year – filming every day, then uploading it within 24 hours – great quality, multi-cam footage! Who’s gonna want to watch something that’s not as good, when there’s the real deal?!

My point is – instead of being uncomfortable with the evolution in social media, USE it wisely and let it work for you. I don’t see the point bitching about something when you’re not providing an alternative.

Being in a band today means you’re up against tough competition. The more you’re seen and heard, the more likely that you’re going to survive – it’s ALL about keeping your name and reputation alive.

YouTube is a big part of that.

Message to bands: Be creative and proactive – YouTube is your friend, not your enemy! :)

You wanted the best – you got STEEL PANTHER!

I had an absolutely perfect day here in Manchester, UK, yesterday. Arrived around 10 in the morning and had the whole day to enjoy the sunshine and the many happenings, markets and fairs down in the city center.

There was music everywhere, everything from karaoke (a little girl was singing, I remember her having a wonderful voice – hopefully a future star!) acrobats, dancers, street art and walking soda cups. Anything you could imagine. There was BBQ’ing and it smelled so good, food from everywhere, cajun, indian, traditional… And home made cupcakes. Too bad I’m on a low carb diet, or I would have tried a few of those, they looked delicious.

My feet and my back were killing me after the hours of walking, I just went back to the hotel for 10 minutes to get some rest, then walked off to O2, Apollo. There was already a line, 3,5 hours before doors even opened.

What I don’t like about O2 though, is that so called “priority guests”-line. People who BUY their way in, they get in before everybody else and can choose their spots. So all the other people who have been standing there all day freezing their asses off, getting tired just as much as anyone else, gets to stare at somebody’s back instead.

I ended up behind two teenage girls who were giggling and talking the WHOLE time, except for when they were updating their Facebook-statuses of course, or texting…

Anyway, the hours spent out there in the cold were still worth it. At least as soon as the opening act Falling Red got off the stage. The difference between Steel Panther and bands like Falling Red is that at least Steel Panther is doing it as a JOKE, as a parody of what the glam and sleaze era was all about.

Falling Red IS the kind of band that they are joking about. When they started shouting about who in the audience was a sex addict or a drug/alcohol addict, as if it was something cool to scream a “yes” to that bullshit, I just thought “please get off the fucking stage you beehived Motley Crue wannabe losers”…

If they meant it as a joke as well, it just wasn’t made the right way, come on, it’s not the 80’s anymore.

But if I erase those 30 minutes of the show out of my head (believe me, it won’t take long) and move on to the Steel Panther show… 

Steel Panther is – hands down – the BEST live band there is, anywhere, right now. They take ALL the elements that makes a great show, mix them all together and put a label on it that says STEEL PANTHER. Absolutely fucking AMAZING.

You get great music, played by extremely talented musicians (a fact that tends to be overlooked because of the parody label) you get four guys who are working their asses off on stage with their poses and their moves, oh, and they’re hot too. 

There’s the 80’s outfits, the smoke, lasers, confetti…! It’s like Christmas and New Year’s all on one. And on top of all that, the icing on the cake – the jokes. You get to laugh too. There is no better entertainment package anywhere right now. They are doing this so right, and they’re leading their crowd into a mass psychosis pretty much.. :))

Chicks go to their shows, PLANNING to show their tits. One of them had painted something on her boobs last night, and tried everything to get noticed by the “titty cam” – and was the happiest girl in the world when she got up on stage and could lift up her home-made shirt “look everyone, I’ve got boobies!”. Well it’s just bizarre sometimes to watch the whole spectacle. 

The only downside is that when you’ve seen Steel Panther a few times, some of the jokes tend to get a bit…old. :) That’s just because you’ve heard them before so it’s more like “yeah yeah, Michael is 65 years old and had a hip replacement and takes Viagra – gotcha”.

Other than that – I love this band. I will definitely travel again to see them, because it’s the one band where you simply can’t go wrong – you’re guaranteed to have a great time!

Thanks – again – Steel Panther!

[Photos here: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror]

[More VIDEOS here: http://lita77777.posterous.com/community-asian-fat-tiger-woods-or-something ]

Not so Electric… Boys

Electric Boys were playing at KB (KulturBolaget) in Malmö Friday night. I expected the place to be jam-packed, cause it was Friday, people just got their money, and most of all, Electric Boys has always been one of the absolutely best live-bands in the country.

Singer, guitarist and songwriter Conny Bloom joined Hanoi Rocks in 2004 and was a member of the band until 2009. That same year, Electric Boys reunited and is now back making cool music together and rocking crowds from north to south. 

I’ve followed the band from day one, pretty much. My personal memories include a cookie-war backstage at KB many years ago when the club was situated in another part of town.

Just as we had turned their dressing room into a cookie-crumble mess and stomped the cookies into the carpet, the OWNER of the club walked in (oh, f***k…).
It’s one thing that the BAND does that, but I was supposed to be this respectable reporter from one of the the main newspapers in the country, Kvällsposten, back then. I’ll never forget the look on the guy’s face when he saw the mess – and then spotted me, being in the midst of throwing one of those damn cookies at the drummer. I guess that’s what’s called “being caught in the act”.

Another time, also at former KB, the band invited me to come and sing their song “Electrified” with them later that evening. We decided this during the interview, and the reason why it even came up was because I showed up at the interview with my bag full of microphones and cables cause I came straight from my own band-rehearsal.

Anyhoo – I was nervous as hell so I spent most of my evening in the bar, “calming my nerves” as it were…. I ended up being in the ladies room barfing, just when they announced “Electrified“. Very classy indeed.
And as if that wasn’t enough, I went straight to the front row, still feeling like crap, and fell asleep with my head resting on one of the stage monitors – during their show…! You know you’re pretty hammered when you manage to sleep with your ear in a monitor – especially during an Electric Boys gig. 
I’ll never forget that. Blame it on my youth! :-) Thank god I don’t do that sort of stuff anymore.

The point is – I saw these guys everywhere during the early 90’s, they have always been a very active touring band, playing everywhere, anywhere, always setting the bar very high. To this day, every time I hear their name, I know that they’re going to kick ass.

But for whatever reason, March 23rd, 2012, wasn’t the best day in Electric Boys’ history. I guess that by any OTHER band’s standards, it would have been good. But with Electric Boys, you expect so much more, because they actually ARE “electric” when they go onstage.

Friday night must have been a pretty bad day for the band for whatever reason. I heard rumors about Conny being sick, which could explain a thing or two. They played well – except for one part when drummer Niclas Sigevall lost a beat, but he quickly got back on track after having three band-mates looking at him with faces that pretty much said: “WTF??”.

The only thing that was lacking, was that main, most important ingredient – the “magic spark” – that extra energy that separates a great band from a good band.
Electric Boys have spoiled us over the years. We got used to them being the band that would simply turn any dull old place into the party central of the year. Friday night was an exception.

Whatever the reason was, I’m not holding it against them.
Anyone can have a bad day. If it’s only once every 20 years, that’s cool by me. :-) 

More photos on Facebook: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
 

[Great party song, good performance, but not quite up to Electric Boys-standards.
It’s entirely my fault though that it’s hard to tell by this video as the only sound my camera is picking up is the guitar monitor. :)]