One For The Roadie: Is This The Re-Beginning Of Oasis?

As the monkey we keep in the beer closet can attest, we’re a pretty wild family here at TicketCity. However, we don’t come anywhere close to the wackiness that must ensue when family of Brit Rock brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher come together. Through 15-plus years or so, their band Oasis has delighted and terrified fans (sometimes within the same show) with their melodic tunes and the utterly abrasive tone between the brothers on stage. It would not be rare to see one of the two leave the stage, go get a drink or ten, and begin to diss the remaining brother while he was still playing.

It all came to a head in 2009 right before playing Paris’ Rock En Seine Festival. According to a lawsuit filed last week by Liam, Noel said that the oft-drinking frontman didn’t make the show because he was hungover. Liam didn’t take too kindly to the insult and quit the band, effectively ending Oasis. Now, two years later comes this lawsuit, essentially suing Noel for libel because Liam had a doctor’s note (insert chuckle here) excusing him from playing in one of Europe’s biggest festivals. When asked why he would do this, Liam told UK’s The Sun Noel “[went] way beyond rock’n'roll banter and questioned my professionalism. I tried to resolve this amicably but have been left with no choice but legal action. All I want is an apology.”

Well, guess what? He got one! From his brother! And they say the justice system doesn’t work. While most brothers result to more physical means to get an apology usually involving twisting sensitive skin, Liam went the jurisprudence route. Noel offered this Mea Culpa through UK’s The Guardian: “For the record, it is a fact that he was diagnosed with laryngitis and it is a fact that he had a doctor’s note to prove it.” He continued, “[It] is a shame those [Oasis’] songs will never be heard for the foreseeable future.”

This is where I begin to point at that statement like a hound sniffing out the prey. Of course this is what the whole rigamarole is about—creating the bridge to get back together. Sure, they’re shilling their solo projects now, but if those possibly get a lukewarm response, everyone will want to see Oasis again. And off they’ll go on tour, raking in the dough until they argue and break up again. Rinse and repeat.

Or am I being too cynical, TicketCitiers?

One For The Roadie: Sugarland Plans Benefit For Indiana Tragedy

Last weekend, a horrible tragedy stuck before a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair. The main stage collapsed, causing the death of five festival goers. The band hadn’t taken the stage yet, and are currently trying to “emotionally process the magnitude and gravity of the tragedy” of what happened, according to a release they sent out. They are also set to have a benefit performance in memory of the lives lost in Indiana once, as they put it, “families can have time to go through their own services and memorials.”

In a total, didn’t-have-to-do-it move, the bands Train and Maroon 5 will donate the proceeds of their show on 8/18 at the same Indiana State Fairgrounds to the families of the events last weekend.

It’s good to know that at a time like this, when fingers could be wagging in an accusatory fashion, cooler heads are prevailing and allowing the mourning of those who passed. And while the charity of two concerts is a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, there have been many tragedies where bands—not pressured by lawsuits or threats thereof—have given their time as much as Sugarland, Train and Maroon 5 have. It’s a small silver lining to an otherwise sad situation, but one that has to be given its proper due.

One For The Roadie: Portugal. The Man’s Van Stolen (Although, not in Japan)

I own a chair that I’ve been writing on for about eleven years now. Most of my best writing has been done on sitting in that chair, and it’s followed me from New York to Austin because I consider it a tool as much as my brain or keyboard. So when I heard that Portland-based Portugal. The Man’s van and 97 pieces of equipment had been stolen during their set at Lollapalooza in Chicago, I had to shake my head. Here is a band on the cusp of breaking out, and now they’re without a lot of their gear—something that could have been easily prevented. Portugal. The Man will be writing without their favorite chair for the foreseeable future.

This isn’t the first time, thieves has jammed off with stolen pieces. Most famously, it happened to Sonic Youth in ’99. Their van, which was broken into in Los Angeles, had several pieces of irreplaceable equipment, one-of-a-kinds and instruments that were so perfectly tuned that the band had to re-write and rehearse songs because their new guitars and drum kits had to be broken in (although it did lead to new album for them, so there’s that). My question is, if your van is stocked with your precious tools, why leave it unattended at any point? When I was driving down to Austin with my wife, we would always be with our stuff. Sure, it probably had to do more with our dogs in the car rather than the “stuff,” but we were there.

As for what can be done about it, here are two ideas: why don’t bands bring at least one snotty cousin or extra roadie to sit in the van during gigs where more than 50% of your stuff’s in the truck? A lot of bands have had their vans broken in to after retiring for the night (in sometimes shady neighborhoods). I know amps and kits are heavy, but 30 minutes of grunt work to bring the stuff inside wouldn’t kill them. And it’s a lot less maddening than getting your brand new Fender Jazzmaster perfectly tuned to E. I would throw in some type of renter’s insurance-type solution, but this is about the music, maaaan.

There are silver linings to situations like this. Portugal. The Man’s Van has been returned, alas sans equipment. Bands and companies have been sending their support, both moral and with instruments. Hopefully, this won’t happen to another touring band in the near future, although the price of Keytars on the black market could go up soon. Then, all bets are off.

Here is a collection of snippets from Portugal. The Man’s set at Lolla, as their stuff is getting stolen! At least they got groovy alibis… groovy, groovy alibis.

One For The Roadie: Watching The Throne

Peanut butter and chocolate is such a transcendent combination. From the moment you pop the combo in your mouth, it’s an instant melody. So you can imagine my elation when I hear something like “Otis,” the first official track off the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration Watch The Throne, dropping on August 8th (alas, all legal versions of “Otis” have been wiped clean off the face of the internet, save the versions found on YouTube, sped up to avoid the copyright claim spiders UMG has deployed). We’ve heard the duo team up in various incarnations before (Jay rapping/Kanye producing; rapping together, like on “HAM”, which will not be WTT; um, merging into each other like in the probably-fake, but still awesome teaser poster to the left), but this Reese’s Piece of news would be a super-collaboration deployed at the height of their respective careers. It’s The Yardbirds if Clapton had still been around when Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page came to play.

So imagine my surprise when the duo dropped another bombshell – the two would be going out on a tour together under the moniker, The Throne. :O indeed. Just like that, it went from a Reese’s Piece to an ice cream cake. Alas, just like their album, information has been coming out in drips and drabs–Watch The Throne only had a firm release date last month, pretty strange for a ginormous release that is essentially wowing the crowd not by content (until “Otis” dropped a couple of weeks ago, anyway), but by the names involved.

All of a sudden we have a tour of the US and Canada on our hands, one whose itinerary has already been changed once since it was announced last week because of “overwhelming demand” (as if there would be any other kind). There had also been so much un-sourced gossip coming out—infighting between the stars, budget concerns, etc.—that Jay-Z had to go on the radio in New York to dispel all of them. To think, all of this commotion before the album actually drops.

So what should we expect (other than, um, the new material)? Will they only do songs from Watch? Will they always be on stage together, and thus, only perform tunes where they’ve collaborated? Will one take the stage before the other, letting it ruminate before both coming on-stage? Who will be the opening act? Will there be an opening act? Gahhhh! I guess the only question answered is if I will be there.

Photo courtesy of The DOTR

Football Is Back… So What Happens Next?

If you haven’t heard, the NFL lockout is over! Yay! As league commissioner Roger Goodell said in the news conference proclaiming the deal between owners and players, “Football is back.” However, there are a whole bunch of issues that have to be dealt with in a minimal time frame. The league won’t push back dates, and effectively only eliminated one game (the Hall of Fame Game), but there are still lingering questions that need to be answered before we get a sense if this lockout changed anything—both in real life and, um, a fantastical one.

  • Training camp needs to start. Over the next week, the teams will slowly start, on a staggered schedule, to return to the friendly confines of their training facilities. According to reports, the first 10 will go back on Wednesday (Seattle, San Diego, Arizona, Oakland, Denver, Dallas, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New England); the next 10 on Thursday (Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Washington, Cincinnati, Detroit); Friday would see 10 more (Chicago, Green Bay, Cleveland, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minnesota, Tennessee, NY Giants, Carolina); and Sunday would find the last two teams – New York Jets and Houston Texans – starting their practice rounds. Once there, will players’ play become sloppier thanks to new rules won in the battle (fewer rough practices) and the short conditioning time, or will it all balance out and play out like every other year?
  • The free agency period—where anything can happen. The only thing this can resemble is that old game show, Supermarket Sweep. In a short period of time, teams have to fill their needs with a new set of rules and without a clear gauge of who is also going after their targets. Will it mean a lot of short-term overvalued contracts? Or teams shying away from players for the same reason? We will soon see.
  • Will the college game change with a new rookie pay scale? Saint Louis quarterback Sam Bradford may be the luckiest man in football. That’s because beginning this year, the rookie salaries (and the following four years) will be about half of what number one pick Bradford and his ilk got with the first few picks last year. Will that make fewer college football players come out before their senior years for one extra year of seasoning, especially with talk of finally paying them everywhere?
  • Our Fantasy Football rosters. OK, this doesn’t have to do directly with the players themselves. However, in the same way teams have to fill out their teams under uncertain terms, the obsessed denizens of the billion-dollar industry known as Fantasy Football have to wait for all the dust to settle before drafting their teams. It’s like cramming for the SAT, LSAT, and MCAT all rolled into one! (ok, not really, but for the first three rounds of any draft, you will feel the same nervous energy around your table).

Well, these questions are here, but they are a lot better than the one that they replaced: When is football coming back? This makes us happy enough to dance.