Inman Park Parade 2012

No comments


My wife has periodically been an arts exhibitor at this annual festival, which, as much as any, is a celebration of the diversity that exists in the City of Atlanta, “diverse” being a naturally occurring cross section beyond Human Resources definitions or political agendas.   This year, we visited the festival without the business preoccupation.   

inman1

Atlanta’s firs planned suburb, Inman Park features ample homes of architectural interest (emphasis on Victorian), which leads to an annual Tour of Homes conducted at the same time.  Below is the rear of “The Trolley Barn,” designed in 1880 during which the area was planned and developed, which marked the end of the trolley line from Atlanta.  

inman1a

The neighborhood fell into decline for decades, during which older homes were demolished and the area was zoned for commercial expansion.  At least one commercial building contributes a sense of humor.  Residential revitalization has been ongoing for over 30 years.

inman4

Aside from the Tour of Homes, the Inman Park Festival includes arts, music, food, other “buy/sell” vendors, and a parade.

inman5a

Most artists do NOT appreciate photos being taken of their work.  Inspiration is one thing, but copying is another, and artists are often distrustful of some who are paid to export fresh ideas to foreign countries for mass production.   Others, like Mike Snowden, have no problem with photos.  Just ask the vendor.

inman2

In addition to artists who create and numerous resellers who buy imports and resell, there are also a good number of vendors who find eclectic oldies and offer them for sale.

inman5

Street musicians were surprisingly sparse.

inman6

Although the festival booths spread out in the area, this is the main street, shot literally minutes before the parade began. 

inman7

The parade includes a colorful band of residents, but otherwise it’s a mystery.  Marching bands and dance groups, of course.  Politicians?  Unfortunately.  “Colorful” pretty much encompasses everything else.  This year’s stars were, in my opinion, Elvis and the digs at The Secret Service’s extracurricular activities.

It’s a very well attended event.  Note:  Due to limited parking and horrendous traffic afterwards, this is one of those occasions where Marta is actually worth the hassle, as there is a station at one end of the festival.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Live Nation VIP vs. The Not-So-Good Seats

5 comments


Yes, I have frustration with ticket service fees. As I’ve mentioned before, they aren’t “just” profit for the ticketing agency.  Slices of the pie go to the venue, the producer, and even the artist, and Ticketmaster (or whoever) takes the blame for the disproportionate scalping involved (example, last week’s $25 Drive-By Truckers tickets, with $10 Ticketmaster fee).

I’ve also had suspicions about particular seats in local venues that just happen to always be in the possession of certain ticket resellers – i.e., scalpers that work from a corporate office (or a home) rather than on the street outside the venue.  These would be the primo seats in the first few rows, whether close to the stage or in balcony.  It’s just “curious” how the same seat numbers seem to be sold by these benevolent ticket re-sellers regardless of the show.  

But, as I have come to believe, the networking of tickets between sellers, published reports, and a conversation with a scalper, their paid army of ticket buyers is on the phone at the same time I am, when the sales open.  The very many vs. the one...

And, there’s the pre-sale business, either through American Express, VISA, “fan clubs” of the bands, etc.  

It’s the latter of these that Live Nation VIP seems to be targeting.  Why should “fan clubs” – or whatever corporate entity plays along with the artist to vend that for them – take the profit for “seats guaranteed to be in the first 15 rows?”  Especially given that Live Nation has first control of the tickets?

Well, of course LN should take the profit.  So, their VIP program offers the same junk (guitar picks, “exclusive” T-shirts, tour programs, blah blah) while pocketing a couple multiples of the face value price.

So, let’s take for example, RUSH, who just announced a 2012 tour and will be headed my way in the fall.  Live Nation is offering a ticket + junk, for $275-$300, at the venues where tickets are already being sold.    Interestingly, AlpharRush 2012etta’s Nov. 1st stop is not yet for sale – even through a special pre-sale by Citi as best I can tell, but that isn’t stopping at least one scalper from publishing their prices in advance, by section.

[scroll down] on the link above.   Let’s see, the first 15 rows, would be the orchestra section, presumably rows A-0.  In that the rows are NOT guaranteed to be in the center, we’ll assume it’s in a block (rather safely, I think) to one side.   Prices vary from $209 to over $500, some with specific rows already designated.  

Rows A-0 are themselves interesting, especially given the venue’s recent trend towards removing the seats in that section for a larger general admission area (more bodies in the venue).  Hmm.  What does this mean?  Well, the scalper apparently has inside knowledge of the seating arrangement, and an arrangement of other sorts that tickets in defined areas will be available to them.  I don’t know that for a fact – they could be relying on past data and the likelihood of tickets being available through various other scalpers.

A visit to Rush’s website indicates, very strangely, that the Alpharetta venue, against type for all others, isn’t even a Live Nation event.  Very strange.   They actually specifically state that their VIP service is available at Lakewood Amphitheater, Chastain, and The Tabernacle.   But, where there are profits, there is a way. 

Now, IF I were enough of a fan to shell out cash for the close view...  the LN VIP offer is actually attractive.   I have no likelihood of entering the on-line lottery for a decent seat, and if I’m overpaying, their prices are actually better than the one scalper listed, and, of course, I get a stash of junk.   I’d especially like it if my “exclusive T-shirt” had special fan language to set me apart, like “I paid $300 for a ticket and got this cool shirt for free!”

Well, there you have the future for venues with assigned venues.  You’re not just competing against the scalpers, you’re competing against the ticket agency who controls the flow of goods.

“Say, what’s that about The Tabernacle?  That’s usually a General Admission venue!”

Right, like my insanely loud Drive-By Truckers show last weekend.  I arrived early enough to get front row seats on the first balcony... only, the first three rows of the center two sections were “Reserved” – with Live Nation staff as standing police.   So, given the remaining seats, I opted for aisle seats on the third row, adjacent to the reserved section (But otherwise the head count said I was there in time for front row further to the side). 

IMG_6027

Well, who are they reserved for?  Friends of the band?   Callers on a radio show for free tickets?  Fan Club members?  It’s a bunch of seats... so I asked.  “They’re for our VIP customers, but many of these seats are still available.  Just call this phone number now and you can upgrade to these.”   Pfft.  “How much?”  Reply: “I don’t know. You’d have to call the number.” 

Not.

As it turned out, enough “VIPs” showed up to fill the front row and a couple other seats, and the people who sat behind the reserved sections were ushered to the lower rows shortly before the Truckers took the stage. 

So, what’s the moral of the story?    Call the instant when a ticket sale begins, or arrive early to get the best seat, and you’re screwed.   Some combination of the artist, venue, venue manager (I can’t help but wonder), producer, scalper, or official venue ticket seller rebranded as scalper takes more profit. 

Supply vs. demand...  I get it.  But I also get that I’m enjoying concert Blu-rays more and more, for $15.99 plus tax.  And lesser known artists in the lesser known places can sound really good.

5 comments :

Post a Comment

Drive-by Truckers – Live at the Tabernacle 2012

1 comment


Megafaun, a Durham, NC based folk-rock group, opened the evening.   I’m not familiar with their songs, but as openers, go, they were a solid choice.  Though some songs were fairly straightforward, they appear ready to move into jam band territory, which might suit them well.  On the other hand, it’s almost as if they seek to find zones where discord takes over, so that when they pull out of it they sound that much the better.

IMG_6062

It was a night that reflected on the recent passing of The Band’s drummer/singer Levon Helm.  Megafaun covered “I Shall Be Released,” and did a fine job of it.  Their drummer even has more than a passing resemblance.  When the lights went down for the Truckers, the house sound switched to a Helm song in its entirety before the band took the stage.  Helm would later have a dedication during “Uncle Frank,” as well as a fuller tribute in the encore with both bands covering “The Weight,” taking vocal turns on the stanzas.  The passing is a loss to music for those in the know, but it added a nice change of pace to the evening.

And what an evening it was.  The sound was simply hellacious.  Not hellaciously good, but that of tormenting demons.  Megafaun was enjoyably loud.   Crisp guitars, bass, drums, vocals.  Good!

The Truckers cranked it up a notch (or three) too many.  I’ve been to DBT shows before.  I know loud, and I can deal with it.  I know that given a few songs, my brain will sort out the aural mess and will make what was seemingly “not ideal” into an enjoyable concert experience.    I’m also a realist on what concert sound is (per many audience recordings via bootlegs) and what it can be (from attending quite a number of venues). 

This was unnecessarily bad.

IMG_6067

The venue itself is loud.  The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne mentioned during their last stop that they’ve played all over the world, and The Tabernacle is “the f***ing loudest.”  But he was talking about the crowd noise directed towards the band.

After the initial assault did not diminish, and either my brain or the sound board operator was proving not to make it better, I became fully convinced that Mike Cooley’s mic was blown.  Seriously.  To the point that I thought a techie would come out and replace it.   No, apparently the sound was properly set at “Max.”  While Hood’s voice sounded somewhat better... this was apparently the way they wanted to be heard.   And that isn’t fair, because I’ve sat in near identical seats (off center, first balcony, three rows back) and had very enjoyable (loud) sound.  Looking around, I wasn’t alone.

My son and and his friends would later comment, when they could understand what I was saying during the drive home, that they could only make out some of the words.  I had the advantage of knowing the songs, and I could barely follow along.  Add in The Tabernacle’s pedestrian lighting system, and hell no, I ain’t happy.

Which is a shame.  DBT’s performance was awesome, particularly as the evening wore on.  The band covered a generous 7 song helping from “Southern Rock Opera” and three each from “Decoration Day” and “The Dirty South.”  That’s their best stuff, and there was a lot of it.   Add in four songs from their older recordings, and that, interestingly, leaves only 1 song each from their last four albums.  I’m wondering (and hoping) if the emphasis on their best stuff isn’t just playing to “crowd favorites” but a recognition that they need to write more of them.  Probably not, as they bring 80 or so songs from which they choose to play each night.

Highlights included whenever leader Patterson Hood interacts with the audience – such as intros to “Box of Spiders” or “The Southern Thing” as well as whenever he talks in the moment, such as to an attendee who was outed when he threw a cup in the audience.  Hood remains the heart and soul of the band, and this being my third DBT show, he always seems to be having a genuinely good time.   In the other two shows (2005 and 2010), the band used to pass around a jug presumably filled with whiskey.  The jug is smaller, the liquid is clear, and it doesn’t get passed around anymore.  I guess they’re maturing.

IMG_6136

Musically, “Puttin’ People on the Moon” was strong, “Let There Be Rock” pushed the crowd into fist pumping territory, and “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy” was a raucous, guitar wailing rendition.  At 2.5+ hours, I thought that would have been the last song, but they continued with SROs “end of the road” classics, with each member leaving the stage while leaving their instruments sounding loudly, a tradition when they close with “Angels and Fuselage.” 

IMG_6165

As bassist Shonna Tucker left the band, current touring bassist Matt Patton took stage right, leaving singer/guitarist Mike Cooley near the center. Cooley’s always been content on the wings, but it was good to see him share the role of center stage rocker, with all the adulation that comes with it. It seems right.

IMG_6083

Otherwise, the star of the show was John Neff, an unassuming side-man who happens to play lead guitar.  Cooley and Patterson can bash it out, which fits many of their songs, but whether soloing, playing slide, or pedal steel, Neff is the one who makes it all sound better.

IMG_6178

Below, near the end of the concert, perhaps the front row fans are getting a better capture of whichever dimension Hood’s arm is entering.

IMG_6196

This guy didn’t make it.   I think the people who were in the missing seats left to search for medical attention for their ears.  I’ve tacked on a few interior shots of The Tabernacle after the Set-list below.  If you go, it’s an interesting place to explore.  Aside from the art, it also has the highest bar to patron ratio in Atlanta.

IMG_6205

Setlist

The Buford Stick
Where the Devil Don’t Stay
The Southern Thing
Gravity’s Gone
Sinkhole
Uncle Frank
Buttholeville / State Trooper (Springsteen)
72 (This Highway’s Mean)
My Sweet Annette
Women Without Whiskey
The Living Bubba
Cartoon Gold
Box of Spiders
Three Dimes Down
Puttin’ People on the Moon

Encore:

The Weight (w/ Megafaun)
Get Downtown
Let There Be Rock
Zip City
Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
Shut Up and Get on the Plane
Angels and Fuselage

Photos from within The Tabernacle, previously a church.

IMG_6030

 

IMG_6031a

IMG_6033

IMG_6034a

1 comment :

Post a Comment