Train Fans Are Derailing The Band

by Noiz 12. February 2015 19:23

Train Fans Are Derailing The Band

If you like catchy melodies and clever lyrics you’re probably a Train fan.

If you think Pat Monahan looks like a Greek God you’re probably a Train fan.

If you’re white, in your thirties or forties, and you’ve purchased wine from somewhere other than a grocery store, you’re probably a Train fan.

If you’ve dressed up like a mermaid and attended a Train concert you’re not only a fan but you’re the type of fan the band needs more of.

This summer, Train is departing on a 42-date tour of North America.  Named after the band’s seventh studio album, “Picasso at the Wheel Summer Tour” begins May 21 at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Marysville, California (near Sacramento) and ends July 25 at the beautiful Gorge Amphitheatre in Quincy, Washington (between Seattle and Spokane).

Highlights of Train’s itinerary include a May 23rd concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, a May 29th gig at the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, a June 20th performance at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, and a July 3rd show at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.

Also on board are The Fray and Matt Nathanson. 

The band wants you to do more than buy Train tickets and show up shortly before they take the stage.  They want you to arrive early.  

Before the concert begins there will be tailgating, a deejay, prize giveaways, and the recording of “Patcast,” Monahan’s weekly podcast.  Train’s lead singer will show up “periodically” throughout the tour.  It would be nice if Monahan showed up to every taping before every concert.  Yes, it’s a huge commitment, but it is his podcast and they are his fans.

Those arriving early can also enter a mermaid costume contest and possibly win a chance to join the band onstage.  The mermaid contest is inspired by the band’s 2012 single, “Mermaid.”   I imagine that in order to even be in the running you’ll have to be an out-of-shape hirsute man or a drop-dead gorgeous chick.

The mermaid contest is a great idea.  It’s certainly better than any contest the band could have made out their songs “Bruises,” “Son of a Prison Guard,” or “You Can Finally Meet My Mom.”

Participation in the contest is what Train needs more from their fans.  Well, maybe not more costume contests but certainly more of that kind of spirit.

Without a doubt, Train is one of the greatest bands to come out of the 1990s.  They’ve sold more than 10 million records, charted five albums inside the Billboard top ten, placed eight singles inside the Top 40, captured three Grammy Awards, and played to packed houses all over the world.

Their songs are easy to sing, easy to move to, and relatable.

Furthermore, Train is great live.  They have tons of charisma, their friendly, and have a great sense of humor.

Train released their first album in 1998.  If you look at other bands that debuted in the 1990s, Train either surpasses them or holds their own.  Yet, Train generally finds themselves looking up at groups like Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Wilco, No Doubt, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, and The Black Eyed Peas.

Part of the reason why Train is the redheaded stepchild of rock is they didn’t ride the wave of teen-friendly subgenres like grunge, punk, alternative country, or hip hop.  The band’s egalitarian alt-rock vibe has created a huge and ardent fan base of thoroughly causal fans.

You won’t find many Train supporters on Twitter or Facebook writing disparaging remarks about the sexuality of Blink-182, Smashing Pumpkins, or some other band (not that I’m encouraging such a thing).

While Foo Fighters get choice gigs on cool late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live, Train is booked on programs like LIVE with Kelly and Michael, TODAY, The View, and Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld (which airs on Fox News).

The Black Eyed Peas and No Doubt have performed at the Super Bowl halftime show.  Train performed at the 2013 Pro Bowl.

Weezer fans won’t fight you if you disrespect Rivers Cuomo, but they will refuse to drive you to Anthropology in their Audi A3s.

Pearl Jam fans remain thick as thieves even though the band put them through hell while fighting Ticketmaster.  During that ridiculous stance, PJ fans had to endure concerts in cow pastures and Elk Lodges.

Broadway made a musical out of a Green Day album and their fans flocked to see it.  It was basically two hours of equity actors doing nothing but twitching and scowling like punk rock singers but it was enough to win a couple of Tonys.

Fans of Dave Matthews Band follow the group around North America so intently that they forget to shower.  Train fans can’t do that since they have to work the next day.

Train doesn’t need better songs or more dynamism in their live shows.  They don’t even need more fans.  They just need their current fans to be more vocal and spirited.

Train fans need to use the internet’s anonymity to tear down the band’s competitors.  Train fans need to get a few Drops of Jupiter tattoos.  Train fans need to invent some cute nickname for themselves (Trainers? Soul Sisters and Soul Misters? [I’m just spit balling here]).

Train fans need to put down the wine and chocolates (the band has their own line of both products), forget they’re mature members of civilized society, and start doing some obnoxious fanboy/fangirl stuff to promote their favorite band. 

A milquetoast fan base is the only thing separating Train from the other great bands of nineties. 

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Paramore Has A Problem And Her Name Is Hayley Williams

by Noiz 9. February 2015 17:50

Paramore Has A Problem And Her Name Is Hayley Williams

Don’t call it a tour.

It is a tour, but just don’t call it that.

Paramore’s lead singer, Hayley Williams, is calling each of the band’s upcoming tour stops “little event(s)” or “celebration(s).” 

Whatever Paramore wants to call it, it begins April 27 in Augusta, Georgia at the William B. Bell Auditorium.  It ends 16 performances later on May 25 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon.

"It feels right to bring the Self-Titled era to a close...  So we've decided to do one last little run with it. Smaller shows, beautiful theaters... and we're not calling it a tour, by the way.  Each night will be a little event, or ... a celebration." — Paramore, via a statement

The 17-date non-tour is being dubbed “Paramore: Writing The Future.”  It will have everyone’s favorite power pop trio performing “an intimate evening of music.”

To warm up audiences, Paramore is bringing along alternative rockers Copeland. 

Besides ending the “Self-Titled era” (their fourth studio album was self-titled and dropped in 2013), there’s another reason why Paramore is visiting small venues like the Wang Theatre in Boston (capacity 3,500), the Beacon Theatre in New York City (2,894), and the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles (3,401). 

One of the largest venues on the band’s “it’s not a tour” itinerary is the Rosemont Theatre.  The facility is located in Rosemont, just northwest of Chicago, and seats around 4,400.  Paramore plays the Rosemont on May 3.

The band’s last outing, “The Self-Titled Tour,” spanned from mid-February 2013 to August of 2014.  The 2013 portion of that trek was the 132nd bestselling tour of North America.

Domestically, each Paramore tour-stop (more than 50) had an average gross of about $157,000.

To put that in perspective, U2 played Madison Square Garden on May 21, 2005 (the last time they played that venue).  That concert grossed $1.9 million.  When Paramore played there in 2013 they grossed just over $450,000.

On Oct. 30, 2013, Paramore played a gig at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.  There were less than 2,000 people in attendance.  That was just six months after they celebrated a number one album!  They also played to less than capacity crowds in Dallas, Austin, Uncasville, and Nashville.

If I’m allowed to be cynical, the “intimate venues,” which is industry speak for “small,” has less to do with celebrating the end of the era and more to do with staying in the black.

Even so, Paramore will get a post-Grammy bump to help fill those intimate venues.

Bump comes not from winning their very first Grammy Award but from the ire it caused.

On the Facebook page belonging to heavy metal band Trapt (I’ve never heard of them either), the members posted a message derailing Paramore’s victory…

"The fact that Paramore won an award for Best Rock Song… shows you that there is a conspiracy going around to destroy the essence of what rock music is all about."

Trapt has never won, nor have they ever been nominated for, a Grammy. 

Trapt is fairly irrelevant but their snarky comments got some much needed press for both groups.

Paramore is not ruining rock and roll. 

They’re not ruining directly through their music nor are they ruining it indirectly through the NARAS’ (the people behind the Grammy Awards) awful classification system—remember they once gave Jethro Tull an award for “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental.”

Paramore’s problem is simple.  It is, and always has been, Hayley Williams.

The music industry has changed a lot in the past few decades and it has certainly changed a lot since 2005, the year Paramore released their first album.  Even so, the industry is still dependent on the media when it comes to categorizing its artists.

Paramore, because of Hayley Williams, is hard to categorize.

She’s too bright and perky to be Amy Lee and too loud and hard to be [insert name of young female singer who is popular this week].  Williams is a tweener. 

Williams looks like she should be singing Katy Perry songs but she fronts a band that sounds like Fall Out Boy.

Don’t get me wrong.  Hayley Williams is awesome.  She’s an amazing singer and songwriter but the media doesn’t know how to deal with her, and by extension, her band.

Now, you and I, who love music, and will spend the time to get to know a band, have no problem with Paramore or any other tweener.  The media, on the other hand, needs to describe an artist quickly and in as few words as possible.  Paramore throws them for a loop.

That’s why Paramore struggles to sell concert tickets.  They’re smack dab in the middle of the masculinity and femininity scale.  They’re too soft for most guys and not “girl power” enough for most gals.

Of course, you should forget all about musical “classifications” and just go see Paramore in concert.  They’re a fun band that sounds great live.  Who cares about all that other stuff?


Slipknot Will Tour Unmasked When This Happens

by Noiz 7. February 2015 09:28

Slipknot Will Tour Unmasked When This Happens

Slipknot will tour unmasked when… wait for it… wait for it… hell freezes over.

To put it another way, Slipknot will tour without their masks when they’re booked to perform the Super Bowl halftime show.

The octet will tour mask-less when American Idol has “Slipknot Week.”

Slipknot will tour sans disguises when The Smiths reunite.  Now that’s forever!

In a recent interview, Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor said:

“No.  I don't think you'll ever see a Slipknot 'unmasked' tour.  Everybody asks me that, and it's such a part of what we do, and it helps us really embrace the music that we make.  I couldn't see that happening.”

Bands say a lot of things that they later recant.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility that in the future, Slipknot will tour and will do so without their masks. 

Despite that possibility, I still don’t think we’ll ever see a bare-faced Skipknot on the concert stage. Their masks are such a big part of who they are as a band.

You’ll get to see that for yourself this summer when Slipknot launches a 27-date trek of North America.  “Summer’s Last Stand” begins July 24 at the Cruzan Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Their sojourn concludes Sept. 5 at the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, Texas.

Look for Slipknot concerts at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York; at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado; and at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Texas.

On Aug. 4, Slipknot visits Mansfield, Massachusetts for a gig at the Xfinity Center.

The band is touring to support their fifth studio album, .5: The Gray Chapter.  The opus dropped in October of 2014 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.

Joining Slipknot on the road will be Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine, and Motionless in White.

Masks are as much a part of Slipknot as reinventing her image is a part of Madonna.

Detractors view the masks as gimmicks, something that irks Taylor to no end…

“…And to everyone who thinks that [the masks are] just a gimmick, live in it and you tell me it's a gimmick, you sh**heads.”

I think the masks are a gimmick but I don’t think gimmicks are necessarily a bad thing.  Every popular artist that wishes to sell albums and concert tickets has a gimmick. 

Even not having a gimmick is a gimmick.

Most gimmicks are positive, interesting, or at the very least, innocuous. 

You want to know a bad gimmick? 

For their upcoming tour, U2 is booking a multiple of at least two shows in each city they visit.  Then they are programming each of those two concerts differently to try and entice fans to buy tickets to both nights.  Now that’s a gimmick and it’s far worse than any mask.

For the most part, gimmicks help sell the fantasy.  That’s right, besides live and recorded music, artists also sell fantasies. 

For some artists, the fantasy is just playing great music.  For others, it’s much more.  Beyoncé sells the fantasy of being a fierce diva.  Jimmy Buffett sells the fantasy of wasting away in Margaritaville.  Jason Aldean sells the fantasy of living the cowboy outlaw life.

Musicians may not transport us to worlds that are as far away as the ones in the movies, but they take us to different addresses nonetheless.

In Slipknot’s case, they take us to a fantasy world that’s scary but real; that’s gloomy but optimistic.  We are encouraged to bang our heads and dive off stages.  Slipknot shows us chaos.  We all need a little chaos in our lives every once in a while.

The masks play a huge part in Slipknot being Slipknot.  That’s why they can’t take them off.  They can grow and mature.  They can experiment with different sounds (which they do) but they can’t ditch the disguises.  That would be like Lady Gaga ditching the extravagant outfits or Kanye West ditching his huge ego.

The masks aren’t just meant to sell Slipknot tickets and garner page visits for music Web sites.  The masks hide the wearers’ identity while also revealing something about them.  That’s why they’re a legitimate gimmick.

If the musicians of Slipknot want to tour sans their usual masquerades that’s fine, but they better use a different name on the marquee.

A Slipknot tour without the masks wouldn’t be a Slipknot tour.

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Kevin Hart And Craig Ferguson Who Should You See Live

by Noiz 2. February 2015 16:31

Kevin Hart And Craig Ferguson Who Should You See Live

They are not only two of the biggest names in comedy; they are also two major celebrities.

This year, when they’re not making movies or televisions shows, Kevin Hart and Craig Ferguson will be on the stage making people laugh.

Independently of one another, Hart and Ferguson are both embarking on comedy treks in 2015.

Kevin Hart’s tour is called “What Now.”

Craig Ferguson has dubbed his outing the “Hot and Grumpy Tour.”

If you can only see one of these comedians this year who should it be?

The answer is Kevin Hart.

As things stand now, the two tours don’t intersect.  Hart’s next date isn’t until late March while the last gig on Ferguson’s docket is March 14.

While they have a few broad geographical areas in common the only city they are both scheduled to visit is Las Vegas.

Hart will play the big room at the Mandalay Bay on May 24.

Ferguson is booked at The Cosmopolitan on March 13.

Obviously, there’s nothing stopping you from seeing them both—in fact, you should see them both.  They are not only insanely hilarious but seeing them live will give you bragging rights.  Decades down the road, you can boast to your grandkids that you saw Kevin Hart and Craig Ferguson live and in their prime.

Unfortunately, schedules, budgets, and life get in the way.  That means for many of us, we have to make a choice; we have to select one comic or other.

In picking between Hart and Ferguson, you have to go with Hart (that’s assuming one or the other gentleman isn’t already your favorite entertainer).  Hart is a bona fide movie star and the most successful stand-up comedian of his generation. 

If you HAVE to pick one, you have to pick Hart.

Kevin Hart is Eddie Murphy.  Craig Ferguson is David Lettermen.  Hart is Saturday Night Live.  Ferguson is Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Hart has appeared in dozens of films including Think Like a Man, Ride Along, Top Five, and Think Like a Man Too.  Hart’s two stand-up comedy concert films—Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain—are the genres fourth and eighth highest grossing releases of all-time.

Ferguson hosted The Late Late Show from 2005 to 2014.  While he was host, he led the program to its highest ratings (the franchise started in 1995 with Tom Snyder).  Ferguson starred in The Drew Carey Show and currently hosts the Celebrity Name Game.  He’s also written two successful books.

As far as their stand-up acts go, Hart has a more universal appeal.  He’s relatable, hip, and energetic.
Ferguson is likable too but eccentric, irreverent, and inventive. 

Hart is more of a traditional comic whereas Ferguson is more of a storyteller.  Still, Hart will tell a story and at times Ferguson can sound like a typical stand-up comedian. 

Despite Ferguson’s television background he does work blue.  Hart does too.

To further contrast the two comedians, Hart is very short—he’s five feet, two inches.  Ferguson is nearly a foot taller—he’s six feet, one and half inches.

If aliens landed on Earth and wanted to know what a stand-up comedian is like, you’ll take them to see a Kevin Hart show.  If you’re looking for an evening of laughs, but want something different, you’ll get Craig Ferguson tickets.

Besides being funny, the two men have another thing in common.  They are both extremely hard workers. 

Hart has four movies coming out in 2015 and 2016. 

Ferguson may have stepped away from “The Late Late Show” but he has signed a deal with Lionsgate Television to produce scripted and unscripted television series.  Although tabled for the time, Ferguson is looking to launch a nationally syndicated talk show.

With their busy schedules don’t expect Hart and Ferguson to come to your neck of the woods on a regularly basis.  Definitely seize the opportunity to see either one of these funny men live.  Both are in their prime and both have interests away from the stage.

In the future, Hart and Ferguson will be performing less, not more. 

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