The New Ticketmaster Presale Scam

Over the past few months, and particularly the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a new trend among new bands releasing albums and pitching them via Ticketmaster. It began as a bonus for buying tickets. As if the band appreciated you attending their show so much that they’d treat you to their new album free of charge.

Then… the “Verified Fan Presale”. Here’s the pitch for that… “Hey, here is a presale password for our show, specifically for our fans.” Except there is no restriction to prove fandom, so anyone can get in on it. But it continues, “If you buy our new album, we will make sure you get the best tickets, first come.” Okay, now I’m listening. Except scalpers will happily pay the $10 dollar fee for a new album for an opportunity to make hundreds of dollars for the best tickets.

Next problem. I don’t know if it is Ticketmaster, or the venue, but somewhere along the line the message seems to be, put the worst tickets up first, fans will suck them up because they think that’s all that is left and they actually are fans, so they will be mad, but still click purchase. Then when the regular on-sale comes, put up whatever is left. The worst tickets in the building are sold to “verified fans” like me, and unless you have hours to spend waiting for the best tickets to pop up, you are stuck with whatever they so graciously offer.

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I do not have proof of this, only my fairly extensive experience in concert ticket buying, but over the past few days, I have spent approximately three hours trying to buy Queens of the Stone Age tickets for the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis. Consistently, without fail I’ve seen the cycle over and over. Only mezzanine, only single tickets, release better seats. Only mezz, only singles, release better seats. Shortly after the image above, I scored tickets in row F in the Orchestra. Does it look like those were tickets that were available five minutes earlier?

My point being, presales are about as effective at getting the best tickets to your fans as shooting a t-shirt cannon in a crowded square at one person. Bands beware. Fans also beware the “Verified Fan Presale”. If you normally just listen to your music on Spotify, keep on doing it. Spotify presales actually seem to be more legitimate fan presales anyway.

 

Best Week of New Music This Year

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So, this week is really incredible. On top of long anticipated releases from Lorde, Royal Blood, Fleet Foxes and Portugal. the Man; we also had new singles from some unsuspecting parties. The four I’ve chosen to feature were Queens of the Stone Age, The Killers, Shania Twain and George Ezra.

Melodrama is perhaps as close to a perfect pop record as we will get in 2017. It should win awards. Lorde is 20-years-old. Let that sink in… 20. Hasn’t she been around for like… 5 years? Yeah. She has. Moving past that, Jack Antonoff of Fun./Bleachers/Steel Train guided this record lyrically and musically, and Lorde couldn’t have picked a better partner. “The Louvre” is silly, light and perfectly sums up the feel of the album. “But we’re the greatest, they’ll hang us in the Louvre. Down the back, but who cares—still the Louvre.” The album also has it’s more dramatic moments, like any good house party. “Liability” is a still-teenager coming to grips with her stardom. “The truth is I am a toy that people enjoy, ’til all of the tricks don’t work anymore and then they are bored of me.”

How Did We Get So Dark? is the second album from British rock revivalists Royal Blood.  They’ve opened for the Foo Fighters, sold out tours in support of their first album, and will open for Queens of the Stone Age in America throughout the Fall. Given their short but excellent track record it’s no surprise that they’ve delivered another banger of an album. It does have a few shortcomings in that some of the tracks feel somewhat generic. “Hook, Line & Sinker” is the band at their heaviest, but also catchiest. Every riff sounds like it comes straight from the same desert as the band they’ll open for in the Fall.

Crack-Up – The first time I witnessed Fleet Foxes was opening for Death Cab for Cutie in 2008, just a few short months after the release of their first album. Bandleader Robin Pecknold looked fresh and awed by the beautiful venue surrounding him, The Fox Theatre in St. Louis (it is stunning). Fleet Foxes have always been a dense listen that takes a long time to grasp, and that’s how I feel about this album as well. It sounds like Fleet Foxes, it’s beautiful and Pecknold still has a feel for folk, but this album feels less Americana and more global, worldly. I hope he is still as fascinated by the world around him as he was in 2008. It sounds like he is.

Lastly, Woodstock by Portugal. the Man. The first words you hear after the album starts is, “No fake presidents.” It might be the first alternative rock album of the resistance to President Donald Trump. Their first single, “Feel It Still” got the band attacked by Alex Jones, which is pretty much like receiving a liberal gold-medal. It has also been at the top of the charts longer than any other song this year. Oddly, they are already mid-way through a year-long tour in support (or anticipation) of the album, with more dates coming in the Fall. “Noise Pollution” might be the song that takes the band furthest from their comfort zone, but works well to end the album. It features frequent contributor, Zoe Manville, as well as Mary Elizabeth Winstead of Scott Pilgrim fame, and more recently the latest season of Fargo, speaking French… so that’s cool, which this band seems to exude.

Now, for the song I’m most excited about this week, “The Way You Used to Do” by Queens of the Stone Age. If this is an indication of their new album, Villains, we are in for a change in direction like the band has never seen. Mark Ronson produced the new album and it shines though. Speaking with Zane Lowe of Apple Beats 1 Radio, Josh Homme shared this on the decision to work with Ronson, ““I think one of the reasons was to act like a talisman as a reminder of listening to ‘Uptown Funk’. It’s very tight and vacuous. It sounds fucking great.”

Shania Twain returns! “Life’s About to Get Good” is a great summer song. Twain certainly hasn’t removed herself from paying attention to today’s music scene. The album is more pop than country, but it does features instrumentation you’d normally hear in country music. There is some sort of… mandolin (perhaps) incorporated in an electronic way. Anyways, you’ll be hearing this one if you listen to pretty much any station that doesn’t purely handle rock.

“The Man” sounds like it could have come off the Killers 2008 album, Day & Age. It has the potential or perhaps a bit stronger than “Human” or “Spaceman” off that album. It features a swagger similar to Aloe Blacc’s song of the same title. This song could very well push the band back into pop culture in a way that they haven’t seen in some time.

George Ezra hasn’t found the same fame as others that came out around the same time as his first album. The first time I heard “Blame it on Me” and “Budapest” I thought Ezra would easily be as popular as Hozier. That didn’t pan out as Hozier topped music festival lineups by the end of his album cycle while Ezra still remains mid to low on posters. I still feel Ezra has that potential, and this new single, “Don’t Matter Now” feels like a good start. The horns separate this from his previous work and compliment it well.

 

 

 

 

Update 2009

Just wanted to stop in and let you all know how quickly things are moving for me right now. As you can see on the side I have several shows coming up, as well as an interview with a member of Seether sometime before the end of the month. I will also be writing concert reviews for consequenceofsound.net which is an absolutely amazing music site that kepps track of every major music festival as well as occasionally doing concert reviews, music reviews and news. I am very excited about this, and hope things only continue to grow from there! SO check back for upcoming show reviews and pictures!

edit: thought I would add that I have also recently added Tyler Rendleman’s interview with Rise Against guitarist Zach Blair, up on the reviews tab at the top!

Top 25 Songs of the Year

Albums of the Year

So out of pure boredom, and not that anyone cares, but here’s my skewed and offbase opinion on what was not good, but great in the last 12 months.

25.  To Build A Mountain – The Matches – If you don’t listen to this band you should check them out, not only are they great musicians/artists, but they actual are this good live, if not better.

24. Spaceman – The Killers – Wasn’t a fan of this album in general, but this song brings possibly the nuttiest musician to date cough cough, Brandon Flowers, cough cough, to the the forefront of what he should keep doing!

23. Echoplex – Nine Inch Nails – Not only was this song released absolutely free of charge as a thank you from Trent, it’s also better than almost all the music that came out this year. So let’s go over that again, 1. FREE! 2. Amazing!

22. Great Expectations – The Gaslight Anthem – Springsteen meets Rise Against. I look forward to watching this band taking off.

21. The Kelly Affair- Be Your Own Pet – It’s truely saddening to see a band with legitimate skills and talent disband, while so many awful bands manage to stick around. However, I am pleased that they managed to push out a great record with this powerful, party song.

20. Beautiful – 10 Years – This is one alternative band that may forever get stuck around bands like Seether, Breaking Benjamin, and the like, and there’s noting wrong with that, but they deserve to break out of that mold, and this song is a great example.

19. Come All You Weary – Thrice – Oddly enough in going through so many genre’s Thrice seem their most at home without one. I personally love lead singer Dustin Kensrue’s acoustic material, so that combined with the rest of the band made this song great.

18. Why Do You Let Me Stay Here – She & Him – I would gladly take Zooey off her shelf any day, and M. Ward adds his own touch to make for a great combination of her candy cane sweet vocals and his musical genius.

17. Love is Noise – The Verve – It’s awkward sounding, and don’t give up too soon. Richard Ashcroft kicks in to show that he is still one of the best vocalists out of the British Invasion of the 90s’.

16. Carolina Drama – The Raconteurs – Drama is the key word here, Jack White could sing about anything and make it interesting, but this southern murder tale is sweet listening.

15. Gamma Ray – Beck – This song sounds like it jumped off a melting Antarctic beach party.

14. The Day That Never Come – Metallica – This song is epic Metallica, that’s never a bad thing.

13. Better – Guns N’ Roses – This album was not worth the wait, but this song highlights that Axl still has the vocal ability to make a song cuts to the core of something that I can’t quite figure out.

12. I’ve Seen Enough – Cold War Kids – The new album from this SoCo band is a much denser listen, but absolutely worth it, and this one starts off slow but quickly kicks in with the bands quirky take on blues and indie music.

11. Northern Downpour – Panic at the Disco – Beatles meet Fall Out Boy, makes for an intriguing sound, and one that I can’t stop listening to.

10.  Mykonos – Fleet Foxes- Gorgeous synchronized vocal’s make this band unique, and really act as a musical instrument over the guitar part.

9. Love Lockdown – Kanye West – Best drum part of the year by anyone, though i’m not all that into rap, this song is irresistably depressing.

8. Lost! – Coldplay – I couldn’t help it, I wanted to, but I just can’t this song has one of the best beats of the year by an alternative band.

7. Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon – Not the most deep song lyrically, but sometimes things need to be said simply, and with a great simple guitar part, this song is all about straightforward rocking, in and out of bed.

6. Kids – MGMT – Best new band, easily. This song, like all of their other songs are completely different than anything anyone else is trying to do right now.

5.Pork and Beans – Weezer – Classic Weezer, with nonsensical lyrics about standing against the norm and kicking ass while doing it.

4.Goliath – The Mars Volta – Thomas Pridgen, the Mars Volta’s new drummer, impressed me, possibly, more than any other musician this year.

3. G.L.O.W. – Smashing Pumpkins – Billy Corgan is back and taking no prisoners. New bassist Ginger Reyes kicks in with a bass solo that shakes the floors of what you thought the Pumpkins were becoming, and simply destroys it.

2. Strange Times – Black Keys – Foot pounding catchy, this song, and album made my year. It is one of the most powerful songs of the year musically.

1. Grapefire Vines – Death Cab For Cutie – This track is absolutely beautiful, melodic, and you can’t help but get sucked in to the lyrics. The fact that the song end’s with a incomplete thought makes it all the better and more appropriate for a song about California fires.

Update 12.08.08

I just added The Smashing Pumpkins review as well as the Mudvayne review to the concert review page, that is the officail version that was printed in the paper, as well as Tyler Rendleman’s review of the Rise Against show which is a great read as well.

No shows really coming up in the near future, but I wil be sure to update as soon as their are, as well as some cd review over the school break.