If I Could Open for Any Band, Who?! (or, “PARTY!”)

Andrew WK Live (photo: Scott Harrison, http://andrewwk.com/pictures/live)

Photo Credit: Scott Harrison (andrewwk.com/pictures/live)

(This entry is part of an ongoing guest blogging series I’m doing for AUX & Whisky Rocks! Enter your band for a chance to open for the Trews HERE!)

I’m not in a band. But I’d be lying if I said I’ve never wished I was. Like you, I love music- but the part I think I’d really enjoy is the performing part. Getting on stage, giving it everything you’ve got, bringing the audience into it… that’s what I’d be into. And, of course, the partying. Who doesn’t like partying?!

Now, forgetting for a moment that the only instruments I can play are the trumpet, the slide whistle and the bass guitar (badly), let’s pretend that my fabulous imaginary band and I were allowed to jump on as the opening act for any band we wanted. Who would it be?

This isn’t about who my absolute favourite band is. I don’t know if I’d want to open for Talking Heads or LCD Soundsystem, the pressure would be too much! This is about who would be FUN to open for, and who I’d really enjoy watching from the sidestage, and who I think would be down for an awesome afterparty.

So, obviously, I’d want my band to open for the King of Partying, ANDREW WK.

Not only do I like Andrew WK’s music, but I don’t think the guy has ever actually sent a tweet without the word “party” in it. (Seriously, see for yourself.) For Andrew WK, partying isn’t about getting wasted or whatever, PARTYING IS A WAY OF LIFE! It’s a mantra, an outlook, a philosophy to guide your daily existence!

Andrew WK seems like a guy who would be good to his opening band, who would hang out with you, maybe share his rider and some guidance. And how much fun would he be to watch from the sidestage? The answer: SO FUN! His fans would probably be pretty great to open for, too. They’re there to have a good time, they WANT to like the opener! I imagine all of these conditions would combine to create a perfect storm of awesome.

You know… maybe I will start a band, just so this could happen. Who wants to join my slide whistle party band? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Oh, that’s right. You already have a band – and you’re entering to open for THE TREWS! (By the way, if you haven’t done that yet… you should really get on it. Okay?)

WhiskyRocks.comTo enter the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, upload your original music demo to the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition at between September 17 at 10:15 a.m. EST and October 19 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The LCBO will review each entry and if it meets all guidelines and requirements, the song will be posted on WhiskyRocks.com where friends, family, and the general public can vote between October 23 at 10:15 a.m. EST and November 1 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The top 3 finalists with the most votes will be announced on November second, and will win a slot to open for The Trews on November 8th in Barrie, ON, where a panel of judges and the Trews will then select one winner. The winners will be announced at whiskyrocks.com on November 9th.

Tickets to the Trews show and Whisky tasting cost $25 and are available online at ticketbreak.com, by phone at 1-866-943-8849 , at impactlive.ca ticket outlets, or at the door. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Dixon Hall, a United Way member agency and its Music School program, which provides youth with music instruction and opportunities to attend music camps across Ontario.

Concertgoers must be 19 years of age or older and valid ID is required.

For full rules and regulations for the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, visit whiskyrocks.com/competition.

What Gets My Attention When I See A New Band Live (or: “If You Care, Let’s Get Engaged”)

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: Sex Bomb Om

Practice is important.

(This is part of an ongoing series I’m writing and cross posting from Aux & Whisky Rocks. Click that link to enter your band for a chance to open for the Trews!)

We’ve all been there – you get to a show early, one where you came to see the main act – and you end up watching some opening band you’ve never heard of. And sometimes, when you’re lucky, that band ends up being incredible.  You end up buying the shirt, or the CD(?) or the vinyl, and you get home and look them up and learn about them and listen to everything you can get your hands on. It’s more exciting than when you hear about a band from word-of-mouth, it’s the thrill of finding it for yourself, in real life, like an archeologist discovering a new dinosaur or an astronomer spotting a new comet in the sky. You’re seeing and hearing it with your own seeing-and-hearing holes! It’s actually happening, and you’re there, at the beginning, experiencing it!

(Fun side note: This happened to an ex-boyfriend of mine in a pretty big way: many, many years ago he saw the Arcade Fire open for the Constantines. Boom. I have forever regretted missing that show.)

In my last post, I said that I generally find new music online – but I fall in love with new music when I see it live. Why? What makes a new band grab our attention from the stage? If you go to a lot of shows, you know that for every great new band you find at a live show, you’re going to hear a hundred that do nothing for you.

When I see a new band live, of course, the quality of their musicianship is important. Although I support very new musicians and understand that you eventually have to get out of your parents’ garage and play a live show for the first time, I probably won’t become a fan from your live show if you can’t keep it together. If the band is tight, talented and well-practised, I’ll be a lot more receptive to what you’re doing up there.

Bigger than skill, though, is ENGAGEMENT. You need to engage me. Get me to pay attention. Don’t just look at each other and mumble, don’t stand halfway back on the stage, don’t turn your back to me to play to your bandmates – BE PRESENT, and BE THERE. We paid to see YOU! You have a few minutes to win us over, so let us know you want to. You can get away with mistakes and the audience will forgive you, if you can perform with confidence and stage presence. Play to your audience. Be yourself. Talk to us. Have FUN. Show us your FEELINGS and show us that you care about being there. That’s why you are there, right?

Bottom line: if you expect to make me care, you need to feel it first. If you don’t feel passionate about it, why should I?

To enter the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, upload your original music demo to
the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition at WhiskyRocks.com between September
17 at 10:15 a.m. EST and October 9 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The LCBO will review
each entry and if it meets all guidelines and requirements, the song will be posted
on WhiskyRocks.com where friends, family, and the general public can vote between
October 12 at 10:15 a.m. EST and October 25 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The top 3 finalists
with the most votes will win a slot to open for The Trews on November 8th in Barrie, ON,
where a panel of judges and the Trews will then select one winner. The winners will be
announced at whiskyrocks.com on November 9th.

Tickets to the Trews show and Whisky tasting cost $25 and are available online
at ticketbreak.com, by phone at 1-866-943-8849, at impactlive.ca ticket outlets, or at the
door. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Dixon Hall, a United Way member
agency and its Music School program, which provides youth with music instruction and
opportunities to attend music camps across Ontario.

Concertgoers must be 19 years of age or older and valid ID is required.

For full rules and regulations for the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, visit
whiskyrocks.com/competition