“Bringing me down” – a lil’ promoter rant

“Like a rat in a cage
Pulling minimum wage
Nuremberg, I Love You
But you’re bringing me down”
LCD SS or summink

I’m a bit angry at myself for being down. I could blame it on the weather turning cold and grey so quickly, or I could blame it on my period, but that’s not it, although I usually get more of a postmenstrual depression than a premenstrual one. Too much information? Sorry. Well, that’s not the subject anyway, no, at the moment I’m culturally depressed.

I still try to believe that if you put up a show or a party it doesn’t have to be 80% about promotion and trying to convince people that your shows and parties are the best ever, about forcefeeding it to them. I hate having to have discussions about the ‘wheres’ and ‘ifs’ of putting up posters and spreading flyers in our and other venues. Especially if two days later friends of mine get abused yet again by club stereo security staff for politely asking if they could put some flyers there. I also hate hearing about other venues working their connections to get more ways of promotion cause it makes me feel like ‘OMG we have to do something to get more attention too elso no one will come to our shows anymore’. Tsk, as if. Should we really have to pay money to get a show ‘presentation’ on the radio? Or is the other option better: banners and promo people of a radio station hunting down our guests at a concert? Promotion sucks. I wish it would cool down again to informing people. I don’t want to feel like having to sell something to them. I want to be a promoter no advertising agency.

I also hate being forced into competition. The Musikverein, the concert group I work for, is neither a commercial venue nor a municipal institution. I’m in this for a passion about music and creativity and about working in a community of likeminded and openminded people. I’m willing to work my ass off for that but I’m not willing to prostitute myself. Sadly sometimes it starts feeling like you need to.

Should it really be about having the best connections if you want to get your shit into a paper? Shouldn’t it rather be about the artists? About journalists being happy that exciting artists come to town and not about ‘oh yes, I owe this promoter something so I’ll plug his event’? Guestlists and promo copies and advertising killed music journalism. I’ll sign that in blood. Music journalists lost any sense for the value of music, for the fun of discovering new and interesting artists instead of lazily leaning back on staples of half-listened promo copies of artists and labels that have to whore themselves to get a review. Or have to advertise in said mag to get a review. Pathetic. I’m glad that there’s the whole wide world of music blogs out there where people get excited about music again.

And while I’m at it: Another thing that I despise about live shows is regularity. So there’s a band playing at your venue every Sunday for the same price? Hey, cool concept, do you also have those cards like at the pizza places, so that if I come ten times, I get in for free on the eleventh show? And do you have a happy hour too? Oh, I don’t mind who’s playing as long as it’s cheap and doesn’t disturb me.
Mass instead of class. Well, I rather want to be surprised and I want each and every single show or party to be a special exciting event I’m looking forward to.The overwhelming mediocrity of most of the bands that are playing here is killing me. And for which reasons! If I hear that a classy hiphop show like Mr. Lif and The Perceptionists aren’t going to get a show in this town cause there aren’t enough people who would pay 13 Euros for that package then I think there’s something deeply going wrong. I’d happily save somewhere else and pay that for an act that blows me away instead of paying 5 Euro for the next boring but mildly hyped crap that’s forgotten in a year anyway, or for the xth old school hardcore act that keeps the cosy hc community spirit alive within all its middle-class-pit&politically-active-cause-it-feels-so-adventurous-until-they-finish-studying-and-get-into-the-‘real’-life-white-boy-safetyness. But this kind of nostalgic repetition and reviving is something for another rant.Where was I … ? Ah, do people really prefer the mass instead of class approach? Is music not worth anything anymore? I hate hearing people say “I never would pay more than 8 Euro for a show”. It’s killing a certain type of culture. Of course all the sociocultural promoters here try to keep prices as low as possible but usually the money made at the door isn’t enough and if you get some at all subsidies ain’t what they used to be and personally I reject sponsorship with big companies that try to suck up the passion that comes with underground events to big up their product.

I’m ranting, ain’t I? That’s good. Much better than the resignation I had been stuck in lately. I’ll rant on later. Promised. I’ve tasted blood. I’ll also put up pictures of some shows and might even write some show reviews too. But for now I’ll leave this blog with recommending a show to you that should be really fine but could be overlooked as it has been a kind of last minute booking:
ANTELOPE (ex-SUPERSYSTEM, Dischord, Washington DC) play in Würzburg on Tuesday, 23rd of october.
For more info on the band: www.myspace.com/ant3lop3
For more info on the show: www.myspace.com/xyeahx

PS.: Jens Lekman’s ‘Night Falls Over Kortedala’ album is fluffy sweet pop goodness. Beautiful.

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