Tag Archives: The Killers

TV vs Radio: The Era of Fan Conventions

Lately, I’ve seen more posts from friends meeting various celebrities at conventions than I have seen of friends meeting Duran Duran. Not that it’s a problem, I’ve just taken notice.

I thought it was funny a few years back (actually it was probably four years ago now) when Amanda posted that the President of the United States was easier to meet than Duran Duran.  I suppose that for her, that’s probably true, but it’s still kind of weird when you think about it. And yet, she’s met Barack Obama twice. She’s campaigning again, and I’m honestly a bit curious about who she might meet this time!

But, getting back to conventions, I’ve seen pictures from friends meeting everyone from the lead actors in Supernatural to Superman. These conventions aren’t necessarily “new” (I remember conventions for fans of LOST for instance, and I think Trekkie conventions have been around for decades), but they certainly have experienced an upsurge in popularity in the past few years.

I don’t doubt that some people are very interested in discussing canon or the meta involved with a particular TV show.  They go to conventions to listen to the panels in the same way that I adore sitting down with other Duranies and really getting into the nitty-gritty discussion of an album. I also believe access—as in access to the celebrities—must be a driving force behind attendance. Those photo ops sell out quickly, from what I’ve read.

It is also clear why Hollywood, and the TV industry in particular (but not SOLELY TV by any means) encourages participation in these conventions. It is the same reason why shows like Scandal and again, Supernatural, and even Sherlock, encourage their stars to use Twitter or other social media to reach out.  I’ve been followed by some of the celebrities from my favorite shows, and that’s always a thrill.

What truly fascinates me though, is how some of the one-time most ardent Duran Duran fans I knew, have now migrated out of our immediate fandom and into TV show fandom. They use conventions in the same way that I use concerts. They are an escape, a reason to meet up with friends—and by the looks of it, they’re a blast.

The conventions look like a lot of fun, and I think they must be a way to add another dimension to the fandom experience. Getting a photo with a favorite. Hearing the celebrity(ies) of choice speak on a panel. None of that would  work well if fans were getting the vibe that these stars didn’t want to do those things. Whether that’s the acting thing coming into play or it is because these celebrities understand that without public support they’ve got nothing—I do not know, but I find it fascinating all the same.

In music though, it is supremely different. For example, to my knowledge the music industry doesn’t seem to have conventions like this that are open to the public. I mean, one could site NAMM (North America Music Merchants) as being a convention where music celebrities tend to gather or appear—but unless you’re in the biz or know somebody—you’re not getting in.

There are a few other conventions that are truly just festivals in disguise. For example there is an alternative music festival in Los Angeles where tribute bands perform, but it really isn’t a convention in the same sense as say, Comic-con. There are cruises and things, but most bands aren’t willing to be captive for their audience for multiple days at a time….and I can’t blame them.

In much of the music industry, there’s a genuine effort to maintain mystique whether we’re talking Duran Duran or Paul McCartney. They are on the stage, we are off.  That platform they perform on is their pedestal, and nary between the two shall meet. I believe the thinking may be that separation creates demand. Perhaps it does. But I have to wonder why having celebrities reach out in other areas—like movies and television—works so well?  Why is music so different?

I’ve read a lot about fans over the past few years. We can definitely be an overwhelming crowd. Words like “crazy”, “obsessive”, “manic”, and even “sex-starved”, and of course “groupie”, all get applied rather liberally—but those words seem to be spread equally across all fandoms with no consideration for what type of fans we’re talking about.  So is it really all that different to be a fan of the TV show Sherlock, a fan of Robert Downey Jr.,  or a fan of The Killers? Does one have more potential for obsession than the others?

As you might guess, I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know what drives someone away from concerts for their favorite band to instead drop cash to go to a convention like Wizard Con, but I see a lot of fans doing it. I don’t really know if bands or artists like Duran Duran could use similar ideas to cultivate a more loyal following.  I just know what I see—a lot of one time multi-ticket buyers have stopped going to concerts in favor of supporting their favorite TV actors and shows through conventions and other opportunities.  There might just be something to it.

 

-R

 

 

 

Look For the Girl With the Sun In Her Eyes and She’s Gone

They are pretty much dropping like flies at this point, aren’t they?  I have to admit that each morning as I open my laptop, I’m almost nervous to see what the news might be…which idol, legend, favorite, etc, has left us.  January has not been kind to the music lover this year. Yesterday afternoon, it was announced that Glenn Frey, founding member of The Eagles, had passed away. I don’t know how popular The Eagles were in other countries, but for me – they were one of the quintessential California bands of the 1970s. I grew up listening to them on the radio, whether I knew it or not at the time.

At heart, I am a rock and roll girl. While it’s certainly true that Duran Duran has left an indelible mark on my soul and I love 80s New Wave with a passion that continues to burn bright a few decades later, it is also true that I adore a great classic-rock guitar. (is this really a surprise to anyone?)

Some of my friends had parents that listened to The Beatles, whereas my parents were fans of Elvis, in a pretty big way.  My mom likes to say that The Beatles came too late for her in the same way that I say New Kids on the Block were too late for me…so I get it. (Although I am a pretty big fan of The Beatles, oddly) Before I came along, my parents were also big fans of The Beach Boys (hence my name). I don’t know how that fits into the whole “rock” scenario – but we all have our departures. For instance, I love Duran Duran, but can also be known to blast Styx (anything but Mr. Roboto) from time to time. It happens. I make no apologies, but I’m getting away from myself. The point being, I was groomed on rock and roll (and a little bit of the blues, I guess…which is both bizarre…and fitting at the same time.)

When the news came out about Glenn Frey yesterday, I started thinking about all of the songs I knew of his. There are too many to list, yet again – just as I noticed with Bowie – I really didn’t take stock in many of them until after he was gone. It’s the case where I recognize his music, I don’t typically change the radio if they happen to come on, but I also didn’t seek him out, and I didn’t ever stop to think of just how many of his songs I really knew. I think in a lot of ways we take these legends for granted. We don’t ever consider that one day they might not be here, until they’re just not…and this month, well, that’s happening on a near daily basis, isn’t it?

I was in the car this morning, considering what I might write about this morning, and Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners came on the radio. This is one of those songs that I almost never turn off. If it comes on – whether it’s the radio or my iPhone – I don’t skip it or change the station. I love the song. It’s ridiculous, but it always reminds me of school dances in junior high. You’d think that memory alone would be enough to force my hand, but no. They’re good memories, albeit awkward ones. Then I started thinking about other songs that I always allow to play through, and decided to create a list when I got home. I’m going to share mine here – trying to go for at least 25, but we’ll see. The caveat: NO Duran Duran, and they have to be songs that whenever they play – you let it play through. I have a ton of songs that I adore (in fact, most of my favorite songs are this way), but I have to be in the right mood to hear them.

These songs, for the most part, aren’t even favorites (with the exception of the few classical ones I’ve mentioned – those are definite life long favorites of mine). My list could be WAY longer than 25, and I didn’t include nearly as many new wave songs as I would have first thought. I just sat down and just started writing the first ones that came to mind, coming up with 25 in an incredibly short amount of time, and they are in no particular order, and like I said – I could have added so many more. I was surprised. Makes me wonder why I haven’t ever done this before.

I encourage you to do the same and post it!  I wonder how many out of our lists will be from musicians we consider to be legends?

The Wall………………………………………………….Michael Jackson

Mr. Brightside…………………………………………The Killers

Mad World………………………………………………Tears for Fears

Alive and Kicking…………………………………..Simple Minds

Marriage of Figaro………………………………..Mozart

Rhapsody in Blue…………………………………..Gershwin

Tom Sawyer…………………………………………….Rush

Jessie’s Girl……………………………………………..Rick Springfield

Too Much Time on My Hands……………..Styx

In the Mood……………………………………………Glenn Miller

String of Pearls………………………………………Glenn Miller

Hit Me With Your Best Shot………………..Pat Benatar

Should I Stay or Should I Go…………………The Clash

Anyway You Want…………………………………Journey

We Close Our Eyes……………………………….Oingo Boingo

Blasphemous Rumours………………………..Depeche Mode

Been Caught Stealing…………………………..Jane’s Addiction

Eleanor Rigby…………………………………………The Beatles

More Than a Feeling…………………………….Boston

Infected…………………………………………………..Bad Religion

Under Pressure……………………………………..David Bowie/Queen

Rock With You……………………………………….Michael Jackson

Love Will Tear us Apart………………………..Joy Division

To Cut a Long Story Short…………………….Spandau Ballet

Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds……………The Beatles

-R

Bring You Gifts

Any fans of the band, The Killers, here?  As you may know, both Rhonda and myself really love the band.  They are probably the only other band that we would consider going to multiple shows of a tour or traveling to see a show or two.  We, obviously, then follow them on Twitter and the other night, an interesting tweet appeared on our timeline:

Totally free. 21+. Belly Up in SD. Doors at midnight. First come, first served. Be careful in the rain..That’s the gist. Come and get some.

WHAT?!  They did a FREE show in San Diego at a place called Belly Up.  It is a small place.  From what I can tell, it holds about 600 people!  600!  Talk about intimate.  Unfortunately, neither of us were able to attend.  That said, it certainly gave me much to think about.  Why play a show there?  Then?  Of course, I also started to think about Duran Duran.  Would they ever do anything like that?

When I first saw this tweet, I wondered about why a band would do a show that is basically unannounced?  For free?  It did not seem to be about promotion or trying to get attention from the press.  Could it be just to play?  Just do a show?  Maybe, to get back into the swing of playing together as Brandon had spent a lot of last year writing and touring a solo album?  I know that Duran Duran did a little tour called the Secret Caravan Tour in 1988, in which they played super small venues in the US before going out on a big world tour to support Big Thing.  From what I know those “secret” shows were to get them into a tight unit before the big tour.  On the other hand, what if it isn’t about the band at all, but about the fans?

Seriously, how cool would it be to see a tweet about a FREE concert from one’s favorite band on that very night of the tweet?  It would be like an unexpected gift!!!  First of all, who wouldn’t love to go to an unannounced show?  It would be like being part of a secret club.  Then, to be able to go for FREE?!  Clearly, then, the band isn’t playing for the money.  It is about playing and playing for FANS.  Lastly, who wouldn’t love to see a favorite band in a SMALL venue.  I have never seen Duran in a venue THAT small.  It sounds like all the ingredients of an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I applaud The Killers for doing something like this!

Therefore, if Duran wants to say…add an unannounced free show on a night…say in between the dates of July 7 and July 14 or between July 27 and August 1, at a really intimate venue, I’m all for it!!  I’m sure that all the fans who could attend would feel really, really special and appreciated.

-A

Duran Duran at iHeart Music Festival

Raise your hands!  Who was up late last night anxiously waiting for our favorite band to appear on stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as part of the iHeart Music Festival, which, thankfully, was streamed online?!  I was, along with my partner-in-crime, despite or, maybe, because of my better judgment.  I wasn’t feeling all that great and had been up since 4:30 in the morning.  Yet, I figured that it would be a chance to practice for tour and a fun way to spend a Friday night as we hung out online, chatting with other fans through it all!  Oh, yes, we certainly needed to vent, to whine, to complain, to laugh, to talk about many, many of the artists appearing before Duran Duran.  (Seriously, people, can someone please explain Lil Wayne and his appeal?!  I’m not removed from youth culture as I teach in an urban high school but I still don’t get it.  To say that he is a misogynist would be an understatement!)  After what seemed like decades, at times, Duran Duran finally appeared.  If you missed the performance, YouTube can provide:

Want to know what I thought about this performance?!  I assume you do because you are here and still reading!

The Crowd

I truly do feel like crowds/audiences matter.  I have seen shows in which the crowd give Duran Duran a boost as if the audience was sending energy directly to the band.  I have also seen shows in which the crowd lacks excitement, bringing Duran down or making it REALLY hard for them to keep up their enthusiasm.  Then, there are shows like this.  The Killers played right before Duran and I watched in shock at how much they had to really push to get the audience involved and excited for even some of their biggest, most well-known songs like Mr. Brightside.  The audience wasn’t having it.  Was the crowd there to just see Kanye or to see Lil Wayne?  Clearly, if the Killers weren’t their thing, it was going to be super tough for Duran.  People were obviously sitting.  Even when the camera scanned for someone excited, someone who might know the lyrics, it seemed to be a struggle to find any sort of fan or positive energy heading Duran’s way.  It was upsetting for me to watch as I could tell that they were giving it their all.  I wonder how many Duranies actually attended this festival.  I don’t really know anyone who did and I have to wonder if that would have made a difference.

Setlist

Duran kept to a hits based setlist, much like the Killers did, frankly.  Duran played Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf, Pressure Off, Ordinary World and Rio.  I think it is pretty standard for bands/artists to play big hits when playing a festival.  After all, the crowd is not filled with just Duranies, but with people who might not know Duran or might not know them well.  Therefore, it is safe to play the hits as maybe some people will recognize them, remember how good they are, seek out albums, etc.  Yet, I don’t think that works as well for a festival like this one.  It seemed to me that most of the audience was young–far too young to know any of those hits, including the most recent, Ordinary World.  So, if they don’t know the hits anyway, would Duran have been better to showcase more of their new stuff?  After all, we know it has a very modern sound to it.  Could they have won the audience over somewhat with new songs?  Maybe.  I just know that by the time Pressure Off was played, most of the audience had stopped paying attention, which is really sad because it is very clear that Duran is loving that song and love playing it live.

Simon

By the end of the night, most of the discussion on Twitter began to focus on Simon and concern people have.  He seemed to really strain himself during Ordinary World and people commented about how that seemed to be the case during the Today Show mini-concert, too.  I have heard from other fans that they assume he isn’t feeling well as he was blowing his nose a lot during the show at Terminal 5 (Look for a guest blog on that show soon!).  I obviously don’t know if he is fighting some sort of bug or what, but I do know that I saw a lot of concerned fans last night who are only focused on Simon’s health and well-being.

Positives

So far my commentary has focused on some of the less than thrilling thoughts I have regarding last night’s performance but I don’t want to leave you all with the impression that nothing was good about last night.  On the contrary, there was plenty right with last night.  First, it was a heck of a lot of fun to virtually hang with other fans while watching and I was pleased to see so many fans join us despite the lateness of the hour.  Second, it is ALWAYS good to see a performance of Duran’s.  All it takes is one or two moments to remember why you love them so.  For example, seeing John, Simon and Dom in a row on stage rocking out to Wild Boys always gives me goosebumps.  Seeing the playful exchange between Anna and Simon during Pressure Off only increases my excitement in seeing that one live.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  MOMENT. of JoSi (John and Simon) or DoJo (Dom and John) reminds me.  Speaking of DoJo, was it my imagination or were there tons of DoJo moments?!  It felt like practically every song featured a moment or two!  As Rhonda and I were pointing out last night, those DoJo moments at the Bowl will be “sweet torture”.  We cannot wait!!!  Beyond all of that, the fangirl in me is forced to admit that they also looked pretty dang good last night!!  I might have squeed a time or two when the camera moved to that bass player guy.

Enough about what I thought!  What about the rest of you?  What did you think of their performance?  The crowd?  Anyone actually there in attendance?  If so, I would love to hear your perspective!  All I do know is that it is going to be a long 10 days before I leave for tour!

-A

Can’t Deny My Love for this type of promo!

Can I write a blog in 15 minutes? Probably not…but I’m going to try.

I just wanted to gush a teensy bit over Brandon Flowers. You see, in my perfect little world – this is how any and every band would properly tease their audience into buying a new album.

I’m probably not going to get this timeline correct, but I would guess it was around early Fall that I had heard that Brandon Flowers (lead singer of the The Killers if you’re unfamiliar) was going to cut another solo album. Truthfully it could have been earlier than that, but for the sake of argument, we’re going with Fall (Or what the rest of the world may call Autumn. Sorry, the California in me comes out with a vengeance every once in a while).. It was fairly quiet for a while, but then about February or so (Again, I’m probably way off but that’s not the point), he posted a link to a video from his Twitter account (Which I am almost positive he does NOT run himself) to his website, where there was a little note posted. The note, written in Brandon’s scrawl, gave a short, almost poetic description of the writing process, and even gave the name of the album: The Desired Effect.  Not long after that, I think he posted a video of someone, probably himself but I’m not sure, playing a line of music on a keyboard.  Maybe a week or so later came the teases for his first single, “Can’t Deny My Love”.  I will not lie, I am obsessed with that song. It has a GREAT hook that I can’t and won’t get out of my head. He had video, he had little clips of music…and most of all, he had my attention.

Again, I cannot tell a lie, I do not listen to the radio very often. I don’t pour over every possible piece of music news that is available. I have Google alerts set up for the few bands/artists that I’m interested in, and while The Killers is included in that extremely short list, I am not at all sure I would have caught that Brandon was coming out with a solo album had I not been following him on Twitter. Brandon doesn’t even REALLY try to communicate with fans on Twitter, it’s really about delivering his news to the people and that’s about it. But I follow the account like I do other bands I’m interested in.  However, once he started posting these teasers, I couldn’t stop myself from reading anything and everything I could about his new album. Then he started posting upcoming gig information, including a few right here in LA!  Everything was tied to getting a pre-ordered copy of The Desired Effect, and while I’d already done that… the dates didn’t work for me (naturally, because I’m a parent of three…), but even so, I was completely enthralled watching OTHER fans get their tickets to these super intimate, very short notice gigs. It was really, really cool!

So here we are, with just a couple weeks to go before his new album comes out, and I dare say that there are a ton of people out that have already preordered the album and KNOW about the project that may not have otherwise had it not been for Brandon Flowers teasing everyone endlessly with his new music. I already know the name of the album, which I am more than happy to talk about on Twitter and even on this blog, and I’m even buying a ticket to go see one of his upcoming shows. (or more if it turns out I’m not otherwise busy…) I can’t even say I’m one of the bigger Killer’s fans out there, nor can I say that about Brandon Flowers himself. I’m one of those that might not have otherwise bought the album…one of those “likes” that was just moved into the “sales” column SOLELY because of social media.

Brandon Flowers isn’t the only artist that is using social media in a particularly effective way these days. Spandau Ballet, another favorite of mine, announced some contests for meet and greets at their shows this summer. I have tickets to their show at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, and so I figured I might as well enter my name. Who knows, right?  Well, not only can you enter your name, but you can earn more “points” (entries) by watching videos, playing music, sharing videos, pictures, etc.  Granted, it takes effort to do those things, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone from trying. My timeline is filled with people sharing their videos and things in order to earn more points and up the ante so that they have better shots at those meet and greets.  Social media does work.

Ultimately, my point is simply that teasers generate interest.  Social media and sharing works. These artists are about to prove that in spades…and in my perfect world, these are two examples of the perfect way to get the public interested and keep them interested!

-R