Nothing is as bad as missing your favorite band when they’re in town. May kicks off the summer concert and music festival season (though some would say April with Coachella) and I want to make sure you don’t miss another lighter-waving, fist-pumping, encore-wooting opportunity ever again.
Don't wait for traditional outlets to tell you (or not tell you) when your band is in your city. Information is actually in your hands. Here are five geeky ways to actively keep tabs of live shows for your favorite artists.
Do you know Songkick? Well you do now. It’s a super cool way of tracking live acts in your area. You can load up your favorite artists with your music collection from iTunes, Last.FM, Pandora or Facebook Likes and leave it to Songkick to alert you when bands are coming your way. The webapp is easy to use and does a fantastic job of connecting you with friends and other concertgoers, and also recommends shows you might be into. They don’t have an official mobile app at the moment but GigKick is an app that hooks into their data. Songkick is a London based company created by live show uber fans Ian Hogarth, Pete Smith, and Michelle You. Friend me if you’re on there!
2. LiveNation and Live Nation Mobile App
The most popular live music hub online, Live Nation has the latest info on all the major concerts in the world. But something even cooler is being able to now buy tickets right from your phone. Yeah! The Live Nation mobile app was released last year. It searches for events in your location and also via your phone's music collection and provides show dates and the ability to purchase tickets at the click of a button. Ahh...I love technology. Warning, it can get dangerously addictive.
Bandsintown, a San Diego based company founded by Todd Cronin and Phil Sergi, takes the pain out of concert search and keeps you in the early know. Import your carefully curated iTunes, LastFM and Pandora artists to create a personalized "concert cloud" of upcoming live acts based on geolocation and music preferences. Their iPhone app is perfect when you’re on the run as well. Oh, and whoever came up with that logo? Kudos dude.
A nod to one of the very first to cover information on the live music world, Pollstar.com was born out of the creators of the industry trade magazine on concerts (online at pollstarpro.com). You can search their site for live acts, read and post reviews, and sift through photos from concerts you may have missed. They’ve been relaying live show information for over 25 years.
5. Artist Websites and Social Media
Still, for my most favorite artists ever, I will always sign up for their e-newsletter or roll ‘em into my Likes on Facebook. Getting the official tour announcement straight from the artist themselves usually keeps me one step ahead and I can share in the excitement of them hitting the road right away. A quick Google search will help you find the official website of your favorite bands.
Other great ways of finding shows are through music blogs, magazine websites and venue email lists. I'll keep on the lookout for new apps and will try and post updates as soon as I can. Happy show going!
You may also be interested in Music Gets More Social: Four Awesome Music Services and Apps.
May 11, 2011
Tags: music / tech
Like many of the kids on my block, I logged a good number of uninspired hours behind the piano for my parents’ pleasure when I was young. I learned fast, put in my daily 30 minutes, could spin out a mean quarter of Fur Elise, but never really excelled. I saw no reason.
Had I caught even half a listen to the keys on Elvis Costello's Oliver’s Army or Shipbuilding I would’ve been like, “Oh...now THIS is what it’s for! THIS is the reason Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge!" (or Every Good Bird Does Fly!). I'd like to think those songs would've given me the context to appreciate the beauty of the piano, even if used as an embellishment to bring a rock song alive.
Elvis Costello is a master at composition for the eyes and the ears. From his signature black rimmed specs, stylish fedoras, and color popping neck attire, all the way to the brilliant way he accessorized the musical talents of The Attractions -- adorning Steve Nieve’s skills on the ivories and Pete Thomas’ syncopated drum beats over his own clever storytelling lyrics. He is a classic must-love for every style and music fan.
Tell me, how can you not be inspired to be playful with your wardrobe after knowing Elvis? To dig through bins of accessories to find one piece that ties it all together. I sure can't help myself and have been embellishing like pieces into my daily routine -- along with every other urbanite in San Francisco.
Heart my Fedoras.
A quarter of my scarf collection.
I also channeled my inner Costella this weekend when looking to update my specs. A fan of accessorizing modern with vintage, I take cues from the 60’s cats that first lent chic to glasses, until Costello broke it all the way in to being cool.
From left to right: Lafont Issy Eames; Lafont Issy Fizz; Paul Frank Blank Generation; Prodesign Denmark
I was nine when Elvis Costello and The Attractions first toured with the Spectacular Spinning Songbook in 1986 and he was a complete stranger to my ears. Twenty-five years later and now an inspiration in all creative directions, I’m excited to see him and The Imposters bring back the Songbook tonight(!) in Oakland on their third show of The Revolver Tour.
May 9, 2011
Tags: music / style
Maybe it’s because the Scandinavian babe is soon to strut her stuff in the US this month that Lykke Li is back on rotation for us lately. A remixing fave, her latest album Wounded Rhymes kicks to the curb the sweet poppy sounds of Little Bit and Dance Dance Dance from her debut Youth Novels -- making room for a far richer sound. A deeper, darker heartache expressed through a classic voice.
In her earlier interviews, Lykke talks fashion and tells us about her androgynous style and her fear of color, saying she mostly sticks to black, white and grey. She collects jewelry from around the globe and when it comes to shoes, it's platforms and stripper heels.
Rockerista stylephile, Kristine, is deep in Lykke Land and put together this Wounded Rhymes inspired look from finds throughout our favorite rock spots.
tunic - of a kind; boots - nasty gal; eyeliner - sephora; suspender shorts - nasty gal; necklace - shotwell; cuffs - pamela love; headbands - sephora
You have churned out something golden. Sadness is a Blessing has been stuck in my mind for weeks.
Lykke’s voice makes me want to wear monochrome duds, platforms that will break our ankles, slather on globs of eyeliner, and pile on layer after layer of neck exercising jewelry.
Li kicks off her US tour on May 15th in Washington, DC. We'll be seeing this Rockerista in SF at the end of the month!
May 6, 2011
Tags: music / style
Actress, singer and avid musician, Kestrin Pantera fits the Rockerista mash-up to a tee, bringing her creative force to music, style and technology. Usually we find artists vibrantly alive in one or two of these niches, but very few inspire in all three.
You may know her from the uber cool RVIP Lounge, a roaming karaoke bar on wheels. Yep, a tricked out RV known for rolling by it-events and drawing people out of lines and into song. Using the latest technology to build a solid community, the RVIP Lounge has grown to be an official event at major tech and digital conferences this year, including the TED Conference, Mindshare, and SXSW in Austin together with Wired, Foursquare, Silicon Valley VC's Andreesen Horowitz, and Get Satisfaction.
A cellist, percussionist and singer, Kestrin has collaborated with Beck, Weezer, Soko, and Adam Freeland just to name a few. She plays cello in the band his Orchestra, currently on hiatus after a recent tour. And most recently finished up a single with Professor Lacroix titled “Legends Gold” out this month on TBM Records. Beautiful, sexy, haunting Space Disco. (I'll treat ya to a listen at the end of her interview.)
Describing her style as "Jackie-O-on-mescaline", Kestrin is going through a mermaid period right now, incorporating long silky hair into as many looks as possible. She loves tulle and bright colors and works with fashion designer Giuliana Mayo of Junker Designs to create custom pieces. “We'll go buy a vintage prom dress, for example and she'll dye it psychedelic colors and sew feathers all over and bustle it. Dream come true.”
Where will we find the RVIP Lounge in upcoming months? Any major plans to schlep across country?
The original concept when we started in 2008 was that "everybody is a VIP on RVIP." We'd drive to events with long lines outside, steal all the cool people, and ride away into the sunset. Now people follow us on Twitter and literally chase us down in taxis. We built an interactive LED lighting grid on the exterior that is equal parts Disney Electrical Parade and KISS concert, which adds a hypnotic element to the experience. Our long-term goal is to transform public transportation: make it cool, keep drunk drivers off the road, and promote interactive self-expression with a fleet of RVIP vehicles. We call it "transportainment".
We're working to create a Brooklyn/NYC event and justify a cross-country schlep.
What era do you love most in terms of both fashion and music?
I'll make you guess. It involves theatrics, bold visuals, and storytelling with an attitude: Skinny David Bowie singing like an opera star, writhing in fashion, glitter, and bass. Freddie Mercury holding a scepter, strutting to electric synthy beats. Pretty little young Joni Mitchell singing like a bird and smiling like a cherub whilst reaming America a new asshole. Jesus Christ Superstar: life, death, rock… with great hair...
Which music artist or band has/had the best stage style in your opinion?
The White Stripes' legacy continually blows my mind. They took 3 simple colors and made them their own-- from causal jeans to mariachi chic, I think "black, red, and white" qualify as their actual property by now. Jack White's virtuoso songwriting and performance--he basically gets possessed by an angel-alien every time he steps on stage-- fuels their style and raw focused insanity. I deeply respect his work rejuvenating the careers of heroic female music icons; he is the "Quentin Tarantino" to Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn's "John Travolta".
What new technologies are helping you in producing, sharing, socializing your new music?
Facebook & Twitter-- obvs. The real winner for music posting/promotion is SoundCloud. For writing, I religiously use the voice memo app on my iphone (I sing and whistle into it in waiting rooms). Pro Tools is still the go-to for recording, Final Cut Pro for video editing.
We code a lot of our own projects on the RVIP Lounge. Our CTO, Scott Watson (also CTO of Disney Imagineering), uses GitHub to access open-source code that runs our exterior LED visual display. Pehr Hovey (Synn Labs/OK Go videos) and Dan Reetz (google him) help hack on the project. Scott coded an ipad app that lets passengers control the light patterns on the RV exterior, he also made an internal mobile network for selecting karaoke songs. It really helps to have a bunch of engineer geniuses on your kickball team.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
Others: A close group of friends-- basically a pod of LA-based artists constantly working on fantastic projects, brimming with love and laughter--keep me really inspired. We call ourselves "The Legends" and have parties where we all wear gold ensembles, creating a beautiful, performance art-y spectacle. They are the inspiration for my collaboration with Professor Lacroix on "Legend Gold," out this month on TBM records.
Solo: I read a lot. Right now I'm on a Kurtzweil kick, learning about life-extension, genetics, and nanotechnology. To counteract that science-iness, I watch back-to-back episodes of "Cheers" instead of listening to music at the computer. That show is genius.
Can we expect an RVIP app anytime soon?
Jonathan Grubb (RVIP co-founder, driver, top-notch international mobile app designer, and my own loving husband) designed an app that crowd-sources location-based data, enabling participants to vote on RVIP pick-up and drop-off locations. Any mobile software engineers want to help code it out? We pay in Tecate and fun. Call me!
The single "Legend Gold" comes out this month on TBM Records. Take a listen!
Gorgeous Photos Courtesy of Kestrin Pantera
You may also be interested in Geographer: An SF Indie Fave.
May 3, 2011
Tags: music / style / tech / interview
Hair extensions and my wedding ring.
I pretty much only listen to SoundCloud mixes by Professor Lacroix, all the time.
My favorite app is Mint(.com) and my favorite gizmo is TERRY, an electric magic carpet we built and bring to parties. On Terry, everything is "a whole new world."
Who says you can't drum in heels? I’m 5’2” and any lift I can get from my shoes -- you bet I’ll take it. I know it’s probably not the best practice, but hey, if I suffer for fashion out in the SF streets, there’s no question I’ll suffer for style behind the kit.
You would think that since percussionists are seated while playing this would be a non-issue. But shoes for drumming is something I take a minute to consider, probably more so than any of my male counterparts. I think about everything from good grip on the pedals to whether I can skip a sturdy heel for a stiletto (making me play on the balls of my feet) or whether my sling backs will stay on right.
If a little elevation is as important to you as it is to me, here are four stylish heels I’ve played in and would recommend:
Full support. No need to change up your footwork -- you can relax while playing. Almost like wearing flats!
Feels like a normal shoe, but stylish to boot! Definitely fun to play in.
Boots with Full Heel
A nice full boot heel gives you balance and makes it easy to keep a beat.
Classic Stiletto Heel
Uncomfortable, but I can swing it for a short period of time. Will usually avoid resting my heel and put most weight forward. Caution, though, to those prone to cramping!
I will usually stay away from pointed toe and slip-ons. And it’s probably not the wisest choice to do open-toe because of the wires and hardware around, but I’ve done it.
Although nowhere near rockin as Sheila E! She’s a pro on the skins and the stilettos!
May 3, 2011
Tags: music / style