Thursday, November 12, 2009

rock shows

i remember very clearly the day that fm 94/9 launched - i was doing afternoons on one of its rival stations, 91X, and i sat in our program director's office listening to fm 94/9 thinking, basically, "oh shit." the station sounded great, was doing what i felt we should have been doing, and they were aiming their production right at 91X. it was brutal and i was bummed.

fast forward a few years later, and here i am, thanking my lucky stars every day that i actually get to be on fm 94/9. it's everything i thought it could be, and like a million times more. and the station knows how to throw a good party. there were some lean years while i was at 91X and we put on a few shows that made us DJs cringe when we had to promote them on the air: crazytown headlining the holiday show, anyone? staind headlining X-fest? ouch. so to get to work for a station that puts together shows that just thrill me and make me feel proud to be a part of them: it is truly awesome.

it's funny, though. i'm not sure what our listeners think, but i get the feeling people think we just pick and choose whichever bands we want, and that's who plays our shows. if only. there is SO much politicking that goes on between record labels and management and the stations trying to get bands for their shows, it can get really ugly. a LOT of "we'll give you THIS if you give us THAT" and "you can't have this band because the other stations in your town have been playing them too, and it might piss them off" and "sure, you can have them, but they want $130,000.00 to play, so if you get them, your listeners will be thrilled about the band and will HATE you for having to charge $60.00 a ticket just to cover costs." i am not a programmer so thankfully i do not have to do any of the dirty work, as far as booking bands goes, but from what i've seen, it is rarely easy and rarely a clean, happy little exchange. some stations hire outside promoters to do the dirty work for them, so they then are able to land bigger bands than, say, if they were paying for it and booking it all themselves, but then they make less money on the show too. at least that's my understanding of it. my point is, putting together a great lineup takes TONS of work and haggling and money and stuff, and i wish more of our listeners understood how hard it is to pull off a rad lineup when you are booking the shows on your own.

but i digress. i was happy about the lineup for the fm 94/9 7th anniversary bashes: night one was black joe lewis & the honeybears, cage the elephant, and jet, and night two was switchfoot doing an all ages show to kick off their tour in their hometown on the eve of their new cd's release. not bad! we sold out both nights pretty quickly, which is always cool, and the fm 94/9 house band started practicing at a warehouse in mira mesa a couple nights a week. halloran picked the songs, we learned them, and it was on.

so the night of the first show, saturday november 7th, hal told us to get to 4th and b at 5 to soundcheck. i was running late and panicking, left f at home with j in a rush, racing downtown as fast as i could, scrambling to find parking so i could get inside. but as i walked into the back doors, i saw tommy on his phone and hal chatting with matt from cage the elephant. i set my keyboard down and said hi and then? hal told me the neither CTE nor BJL & the honeybears had soundchecked yet. all of that rushing for nothing. doors didn't open until 7pm, so we had a lot of time to kill. but it was all good - tommy, amanda and i walked around the corner and had beers at the local, and walked back to 4th and b just in time to see our gear being loaded on to the stage. the band started at 7:30 - my keyboard wasn't even plugged in until halfway through the first song, and we know now that half the mics weren't working. we still had a blast - matt from bad credit, aaron from scarlet symphony, and jake najor from all kinds of crazy bands were awesome and made it so much fun. timmy pyles killed it on vocals, as did owen and garett, who, i might add, is my boss. not a bad gig, playing in a band where your boss is screaming out ramones and iggy and the stooges songs! dallas was cracking me up and ron fountenberry, matt from transfer and steve from the styletones made us look like professionals, so that ruled. it was, over all, pretty awesome.

(photos by dustin singler)

the rest of the night was kinda a blur - j got to be there this year, which was awesome, and we drank beers and ate phil's BBQ upstairs and really, just hung out with friends new & old. we were blown away by cage the elephant's performance. later, i learned that their bus driver that had been driving them for two months had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital right before they went onstage. still, they pulled it off. i can only imagine how hard that must have been. we left when jet started, and that was that.

night two was fun also - i met timmy and owen at the east county performing arts center around 5 and we walked to go get dinner and drinks, then headed backstage and hung out in the green room with halloran, O, the switchfoot guys, and a few local band guys & their girlfriends. after the new archaic played, owen and i went and grabbed seats and checked out the switchfoot set, and those guys? they owned it. they are so humble and kind and GOOD at what they do - i wish them nothing but the best.

so the shows went well, but i'm glad it's over. up next: the fm 94/9 holiday hootenanny. spoon, phoenix, manchester orchestra, white rabbits, & vampire weekend, with some extra cool stuff that we haven't announced yet too. talk about a lineup i can be proud of! i can't wait.

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