Why hasn’t tonight’s Beach House show sold out? Black Lips tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 5:46 pm April 5, 2010

Here’s a random thought about tonight’s Beach House show… During that meeting with MAHA Festival organizer Mike App (read about it here), we tossed around ideas for bands to play this year’s festival. I told him that the nature of indie music (which, as you know, I cover) is that it’s not terribly popular. You and I might think that indie bands are the cat’s pajamas, but the great unwashed masses don’t give two shits about them, especially since they’re not heard on the radio. So the idea that an indie festival loaded with College Music Journal (CMJ) bands could sell out Lewis and Clark Landing (with its capacity of between 5k and 6k, according to App), seems far-fetched.

Case in point, Beach House has had the No. 1 album on the CMJ charts for weeks, only recently giving up the top spot. It’s one of the most popular indie albums so far this year. And as of right now, tonight’s Beach House show at The Waiting Room, priced at a mere $10 (now $12 DOS), has yet to sell out. Surprising?

Let’s look at the March 24 CMJ top 10 Radio Chart:

GORILLAZ Plastic Beach
HOT CHIP One Life Stand
YEASAYER ODD Blood
JOANNA NEWSOM Have One On Me
BROKEN BELLS Broken Bells
BEACH HOUSE Teen Dream
SPOON Transference
LOCAL NATIVES Gorilla Manor
LIARS Sisterworld
VAMPIRE WEEKEND Contra

Spoon is probably the biggest band on that list (and is the headliner for MAHA ’10), but their new album is still below Beach House. Spoon would quickly sell out TWR and Slowdown, and so would Vampire Weekend, but how about Yeasayer? They’re coming to TWR April 24 and that show also hasn’t sold out yet. Of the rest of the list, Gorillaz, Broken Bells and maybe Hot Chip would sell out TWR or Slowdown… eventually. I would have said that Beach House was the sure quick sell out, and I would have been wrong (as per usual). So why hasn’t that show sold out?

Phoenix’s last album only recently fell off the top-20. That band just played Slowdown last September (it didn’t sell out until a couple weeks before the show). Now Phoenix is coming back, this time to play the Stir Cove concert series along with a handful of dinosaur acts. Would they have been a good addition to MAHA? Probably, but I think they would draw, at the most, maybe fewer than 1,000 people.

Alright, so how does Pitchfork Music Fest in Chicago do it? Look at the headliners: Pavement, LCD Soundsystem and Modest Mouse. The festival isn’t until July, and the $90 3-day passes have already sold out. It’s kind of a head scratcher. Of those three bands, only Pavement seems like a bulls-eye winner. While LCD Soundsystem is nothing less than awesome, I don’t know how it would do in Omaha. Modest Mouse has sold out Sokol Aud in the past, but hasn’t released an album in awhile (I assume they must have something coming up or else Pitchfork wouldn’t bother with them). It all boils down to the fact that 1) it’s Chicago, 2) the headliners, and 3) the undercard, which in this case includes Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Broken Social Scene. Incidentally, none of those Pitchfork headliners are in the CMJ top 20.

Anyway…So tonight is Beach House at The Waiting Room. Tix are still available for $12. Opening is Bachelorette (another good band). Show starts at 9.

Also tonight (which you could argue is the reason why Beach House hasn’t sold out, but which I would argue is a different crowd), Black Lips play at Slowdown Jr. (that’s right, the front room) with Box Elders and Brimstone Howl. $12 (also still not sold out), 9 p.m.

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