Listen Up / January 2012

Who to see and what to hear in January.

by Todd Coder

Bela Blue

We have officially embarked upon another year. 2011 brought with it unforgettable ups and downs. What are the most intriguing moments from 2011? I have plenty of thoughts, both personally and professionally, so for this month’s column, I decided to write about what I consider to be a few of the most notable happenings over the last year. If you disagree or think I have missed something, respond online or email me your thoughts and opinions. Here goes…

The Death of Amy Winehouse – Leaving the earth at much too early of an age, Amy Winehouse passed away in 2011. Her music was inspired, gritty and emotional, just as she was. She never reached her true potential, and it’s sad to think what she might have accomplished if given more time. This was truly a tragedy and a loss for us all.

Kings of Leon U.S. Tour Canceled– Last August, the tension and emotions associated with being one of the world’s hottest rock & roll bands finally came to a head. The Nashville-based band of brothers, Kings of Leon, broke up after one embarrassing episode after another. After lead singer Caleb Followill abruptly left the stage early during a concert performance for 15,000 people in Dallas, Texas, those associated with the act determined it was time to call a halt, at least for now. 2012 could be an interesting year for the band if they can pull it together.

Hangout Music Festival sells out in its second year – The Gulf Shores festival sold out its allotment of tickets in only its second year. More than 35,000 attended the event that featured Paul Simon, Foo Fighters, The Black Keys and My Morning Jacket. The first year of the festival was marred by the BP oil spill that occurred just weeks prior to the festival on April 20, 2010. Ticket sales were obviously affected by this disaster, but the festival organizers still decided to sign on for a second year. Two weeks prior to the opening of the festival gates in 2011, the event was sold out. Recent reports document that a $30 million economic impact was felt along the Gulf Coast during the weekend of the festival; a full week prior to the start of the tourist season. This year’s Hangout Festival will take place once again on the beach, in Gulf Shores on the third weekend of May 2012.

Coachella adds a second weekend – Mega-festival Coachella announced in the spring of 2011 that the 2012 event would feature two consecutive weekends with identical line-ups. Shows are set for April 13-15 and April 20-22, 2012 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif. Organizers of the festival promise the “same lineup, same art, same place, different people” in 2012. This new concept has its supporters and undoubtedly, has its detractors. I eagerly look forward to seeing how all of this shakes down.

old 97s

The Reopening of the Georgia Theatre – The doors to one of the most storied and recognizable live music venues re-opened in 2011 with a triumphant and glorious return. On Monday, Aug. 1, more than two years after an early morning fire decimated the 122-year old venue, the Georgia Theatre began its official two-week re-opening celebration in Athens, Ga. The road was a long and testing one, but those at the helm persevered and turned the dreams of many into a single reality. The venue is once again one of the most popular in the Southeast.

REM Split – Founded in Athens over 31 years ago, one of the biggest names in music called it quits earlier this year. “As lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band,” the band said in a statement on their official website. “We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished.” Members of the band contend that the split is on good and solid terms, so I suspect we’ll see a reunion tour in the not -too-distant future.

The Grammy Nominations – The 2012 Grammy nominations were filled with the usual pop and radio-friendly superstars. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of nominations received by artists sometimes off the mainstream radar. Acts like Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Foster the People, and the Civil Wars we’re are all up for awards. Bon Iver was nominated for four Grammys, including Record of the Year, and that tells me that the industry might be catching on to what most of us have known for a years: you have to look deeper than your Top 40 radio station for some of today’s best work. I take this as a good sign.

ricky skaggs

The Year in Music – Quite a lot to choose from in 2011…My Morning Jacket’s Circuital, Ryan Adams’ Ashes and Fire, The Black Keys’ El Camino, The Head and the Heart’s self-titled effort, Dawes’ Nothing is Wrong, Wilco’s The Whole Love, and Bon Iver’s self-titled release; just to name a few. There were plenty of other releases that positively peppered the musical landscape of the recording industry, but the aforementioned were a few of my favorites from 2011. •

Todd Coder is the Director of Music Account Development at TicketBiscuit.  He is also the talent buyer at WorkPlay Theatre and for The Hangout Music Festival.



Jan 12 Bela Fleck Alys | Stephens Center |

Shelby Lynne

Jan 15  Gordon Lightfoot | Alabama Theatre |

Jan 20. Old 97s | WorkPlay Theatre |

Jan 21. .Ricky Skaggs | Alys Stephens Center |

Jan 23 Shelby Lynne | WorkPlay |

Jan 24 . Donna the Buffalo | WorkPlay |

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