Listen Up / March 2011

Will Hoge

Who to see and what to hear in March.

by Todd Coder

Pollstar Live is a yearly conference held in Los Angeles that is completely focused on the concert industry and its members. Every February, hundreds of industry players converge at LA Live for two days of panel discussions, cocktails and schmoozing. While the structured portion of the convention is a bit remedial and at times, less than stimulating (think Music Business 101), the organic happenings around the conference are what make it a must attend event. Agents, promoters and representatives from all relevant aspects of the industry are involved and if your mission is to continue to grow your relationships with these individuals, then you have to go to Pollstar Live. As I hear every year through the course of the conference, “it is all about the hang.” And this year was certainly no different.

I landed in Los Angeles on the Friday of the conference and made it to the hotel as the first wave of panel discussions began.  The key is to catch 15 to 20 minutes of the discussions to investigate the panelists and the flow of the discussion. If a certain discussion isn’t for you, then there are options aplenty, many going on concurrently with one another. While it is amusing to wander from room to room and in and out of discussions, I spent most of my time visiting with colleagues.

Once the first night of the conference wrapped up, it was time to make way to Hollywood. An industry reception, followed by a visit to the Hotel Café and a private show with the Foo Fighters was a grand way to close out the night. The second day was more of the same but with a larger focus on meetings and personal conversations about the industry. This event is an opportunity for attendees to meet face to face with the people they work with on a year round basis.  That is incredibly valuable in our industry and Pollstar Live is the catalyst for many deals that take place long after the conference is complete.  A lot gets done during that two day period and it is always an enjoyable trip. Now, let’s shift gears and take a look at what’s happening here this month…

Schoolhouse Rock – This year’s 6th Annual Schoolhouse Rock will be at B&A Warehouse on Friday, March 4 from 7 to 11 p.m. $30 ticket price includes live music from Teenage Daddy, heavy hors d’oeuvres, live and silent auction and drink tickets. Last year the event raised $100,000 for Cornerstone Schools of Alabama.

Cornerstone Schools of Alabama is a non-profit private school with a mission to provide Birmingham’s urban children a Christ-centered environment of excellence in learning, character development, fine arts and service to the community. Friday, March 4 – B&A Warehouse. For more information and to purchase tickets please contact Sarah Pikal at 205.591.7600 ext. 8 or [email protected]

Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook Off – The Exceptional Foundation will host its 7th Annual Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, March 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of The Exceptional Foundation. The Chili Cook-Off is an outdoor, family friendly event which benefits The Exceptional Foundation’s programs. The cost is $10 in advance; $15 at the gate, and children 12 and under are free.  Ticket price includes live entertainment by Rick Carter & The League of Legendary Artists, sampling of chili cooked by 80 teams, and entertainment for kids.  Hot dogs, ice cream, beverages and more will also be sold.

The Exceptional Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization which strives to meet the social and recreational needs of the mentally and/or physically challenged population of the greater Birmingham area. The Exceptional Foundation receives referrals from schools, providing services for the school-age exceptional population during after school and summer hours. More critically, The Foundation fills the gap for exceptional people who reach age 21 and can no longer find opportunities for social interaction within the school system. The Foundation ensures that participants are able to take field trips, compete in sports, and socialize and meet new people in supportive settings.

For more information, visit

The Exceptional Foundation, Saturday, March 6

Will Hoge –Will Hoge returns to WorkPlay later this month for his first full band Birmingham performance in over a year. From “Will Hoge has made a career of writing and singing powerful songs about life’s cruel and dark turns. Not long ago, he fell victim to one such turn. As Hoge rode his scooter home from the studio, he was struck by an oncoming van that had veered into his lane. There were no skid marks. Launched off his bike, Hoge ended up bloodied, broken-boned, temporarily blinded, and near death.”

Will traveled a long, dark road that probably none of us can imagine. He persevered, defied the odds and worked incredibly hard to get to where he is today.  It’s an amazing story of an incredible songwriter and performer. I have been a fan of Will’s music for years and have recently had the pleasure of getting to know him. He is unquestionably one of the good guys and simply put, he’s an amazing artist. I still believe that it’s just a matter of time until all of the big breaks in Will Hoge’s life are positive ones.

WorkPlay Theatre – Saturday, March 12

Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age – A massive Rock & Roll show will take place later this month at WorkPlay. Queens of the Stone Age will celebrate the March re-release of its expanded, re-mastered self-titled debut with a limited run of North American shows. These one-time only events will feature the band playing the entire first album plus additional material from that same early Queens era, as well as nightly surprises. Customers who buy tickets will have the opportunity to pre-order the reissue and will receive an instant digital download of the record with their pre-orders—nearly a month out from the record’s commercial release. QOTSA will take the first record tour to Europe in May, with additional US and Canada dates to be added in June.

WorkPlay Soundstage – Saturday, March 19

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