Listen Up / October 2011

Who to see and What to Hear in October

by Todd Coder

Death Cap for Cutie

The recent stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair has brought into the spotlight concerns that all of us as concert and event promoters have feared for years. The number one priority for us, as event producers, is the safety of the festival goers, artists and festival staff. I have never personally known  safety to be compromised in any circumstance, but that is not to say that certain safety issues might be easy to overlook at times. This may not have been the case in Indiana, but attention to detail, when it comes to the security of an event, must be adhered to, no matter the size or scope of the occasion.

The investigation and discovery of exactly what happened last August is ongoing and will continue for some time. The list of those responsible is not likely to be a short one and there are even more lives at stake now, as that process continues. Legal ramifications, from fines to jail time, could await those that will ultimately be held accountable.

As horrific as this incident was, more devastating episodes of this nature are possible. There are hundreds of outdoor events held each year. All of these are subject to severe weather and an emergency plan must be in place, well before something happens.  Additionally, thorough and professional safety inspections must be done to ensure the wellbeing of everyone associated with the event.

We have already seen, maybe by coincidence, an increase of precautionary efforts displayed by concert promoters and artists over the last few months. Severe weather now seems to be on everyone’s radar, no pun intended, and this is the way that it needs to be. Costs associated with producing an event obviously increase when greater lengths are taken to ensure that all bases are covered, but I think that we can all agree that this is something that we have to focus on, at every event from this point forward.

Now let’s take a look at what’s happening this month at a music venue near you

Blitzen Trapper

Death Cab for Cutie

Forming in 1997, Death Cab for Cutie has maintained a loyal fan base throughout the duration of their existence.  While their popularity is usually limited to “theatre” size venues, their popularity is much larger. Touring in support of their most recent release, Codes and Keys, the band returns to Birmingham for a show at the Alabama Theatre early this month.

Alabama Theatre, Thursday, October 6

The Civil Wars

It has been quite a whirlwind for Joy Williams and John Paul White since their chance meeting just a few years ago. Their chemistry in writing and performing was obvious from the start and it took very little time for their critical acclaim to translate into a massive fan base across the country.

The band’s debut album, Barton Hollow, debuted at #12 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on iTunes’ overall Albums Chart. Additionally, the Civil Wars were featured as one of VH1’s artist “You Oughta Know” and the music video for Barton Hollow spent its share of time on VH1’s “Top 20 Countdown.” While Birmingham is considered a “home away from home,” the last time the duo visited they sold out three consecutive shows at the WorkPlay Theatre. This time through, they graduate up to the much larger Alabama Theatre. If you don’t have your tickets yet, then it’s probably too late.

Alabama Theatre, Friday, October 7

Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper’s music went through various genres with each of their records, bouncing from indie folk to art rock to experimental folk before settling into a rich, dusty brand of Neil Young-inspired alt country. The band formed in 2000 in Portland, Oregon, with songwriter Eric Earley leading a lineup that also included Erik Menteer (guitar, keyboard), Brian Adrian Koch (drums, vocals), Michael Van Pelt (bass), Drew Laughery (keyboard), and Marty Marquis (keyboard, vocals). Blitzen Trapper  consistently  gain notoriety as their relentless touring schedule continues to introduce new fans to their music. Their latest effort, American Goldwing, was recently released and has received critical  praise. Expect to hear much of the new record at the bottletree later this month.

the bottletree

Sunday, October 16

Brett Dennen

According to his website, Brett Dennen’s music career, for all intents and purposes, started back in 2002 at the encouragement of friend and future manager, Leslie Merical. She encouraged him to pursue music seriously and made sure he wasn’t slowed by the challenges that new artists face. Inspired by the good in his lyrics, and the reaction to his songs, Merical convinced promoters to give him a chance, despite his inexperience. She connected with his fans at every show and made them feel like they were part of something wonderful while guiding him along the path most artists have to travel alone.  Dennen’s music is catchy, poppy and it’s popular. When he released his fourth release, Loverboy, earlier this year, he grew his fan base further. I expect this to be a natural progression for Dennen’s career as he has maintained the “slow and steady” growth pace that few artists’ have the ability to enjoy.

WorkPlay, Thursday, October 20

Perpetual Groove

Perpetual Groove

Perpetual Groove is a staple in our market, playing once or twice a year at WorkPlay Theatre. However, this month’s show is special. The guys take the stage at WorkPlay for the first time on Halloween and bring with them “PERPle Rain Halloween.” They always sellout their shows at WorkPlay and rest assured, this one will sellout quickly. Get your tickets now and see what the guys have in their bag of tricks╔or treats.


Monday, October 31

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.

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