Live Review: The OEA Showcase; AMAs; U2’s Under a Blood Red Sky tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 1:04 pm November 24, 2008

The OEA showcase Friday night looked like it was another success. Despite the cold and wind — making the trek from one end of Maple St. to the other brutal — the sidewalks were crowded with music fans bouncing between venues. The most crowded show I saw was probably Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies at Mick’s or maybe The Song Remains the Same at the tiny Barley St. If I had to put my money on one act to clean up at the OEA’s this year, it would be on Hoshaw, who might have the best turnaround story of the year. The most surprising set for me was Skypiper, who closed out The Waiting Room (introduced by OEA prez Matt Oberst, the man who sired The Conor). Their music wasn’t terribly innovative – sort of an indie pop take on Wilco – but it was well played. And though it was the first time I saw the band on stage, their songs seemed familiar in a good way. Other acts I caught Friday night – Lucas Kellison, Confidentials, Mass Quantities and Midwest Dilemma (I didn’t get started until 10). I assume I’ll be receiving the final OEA ballot in the mail in the next few weeks, which will be followed by the awards show itself Jan. 8 at The Holland Center.

Speaking of award shows, I’m watching the AMA’s as I write this. Teresa said you know you’re getting old when you don’t recognize most of the musicians on the red carpet. Actually, I think the anonymity of these “stars” has more to do with the shift in the music industry over the past decade, essentially taking the boy band trend to the next level — thank you American Idol and High School Musical. One of the announcers said this year’s AMA’s had the youngest performers in the history of the show. Few if any wrote the material they were performing. In the old days just 10 years ago most “popular” music could still be of some interest to people outside of the 14-18 female demographic. Not anymore. Apparently that demo is the only ones left buying CDs (except, of course, for old fucks and mullets who make it into Wal Mart for the latest legacy acts like AC/DC and Metallica). They’ve even managed to marginalize the term “rock” — Chris Brown, for example, won “best rock/pop male vocal.” After he left the stage along came Scott Weiland who wasn’t just drunk, he was barely able to introduce Pink without passing out. That’s when I changed it to the football game. I think today’s current crop of pop stars, all under 18, are talented performers. They just don’t have anything relevant to sing about, and apparently none of their fans cares. Then again, the guys in Journey and Styx weren’t exactly poets, either.

A final sidenote: Teresa asked why there wasn’t an indie music award show. I told her most of the nominees probably couldn’t afford to travel to the show or would be too busy trying to eke out a living on the road. That, and the fact that it would likely have the lowest rating of any award show in history (if you take into account how poorly indie music sells in comparison to the AMA acts, who consider any album that moves fewer than 100k units an enormous failure).

It’s Rock Movie Night tonight at The Waiting Room, and tonight’s movie is special — U2’s Under a Blood Red Sky — a film that I remember seeing on MTV back in the ’80s. Shot at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater on June 5, 1983, it captures U2 at their career zenith, shortly after the release of War. The movie has been released for the first time on DVD and includes five previously unreleased live cuts, a director’s commentary, digitally re-graded pictures and a 5.1 mix. As part of the night’s festivities, TWR will be giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday’s Me2 show. It’s free and starts at 8.

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