Most of us like a good live show once in a while. Though I’ve never been fanatical about concert-going or following any one band around the country, I do get surprised every time I go just how intense the experience can be. Whether it be a jazz trio in a smoky lounge, a jam band in a beer can littered park, or a punk show with a leg-breaking mosh pit, each experience has its charms.
Music festivals can be awesome because of the sheer number of bands you can catch in one place! Coachella, for example, which I got into for free twice – once as a rep for Han Vodka and once as part of the Jack Johnson team while I was working for Oniracom – was amazing in that regard. Frustrating though, because you can’t be in like 12 places at once. I guess hanging out while Jack Johnson and G. Love warmed up in their trailer was worth missing a few bands for though…(Yay for backstage passes!)
But ya. Seeing the band(s) you love live and sitting amongst other blubbering wide-eyed fans definitely has its merits. When I saw Pink Martini live a few years ago, I think I cried through basically the whole show. Gotan Project and Thievery Corporation had me dancing at the front like a total psycho*.
These days, though, I rarely take the time to keep track of who’s playing, where, and when. Luckily, there are a host of websites which can do that for you. JamBase is one. They’ve been around since 1998, but I was reminded of them recently, when another MixMatcher and I attended the SF New Tech meetup in San Francisco. JamBase was one of the featured presentations and after seeing them in action, I realized that they can make concert-going for us
lazy busy people more feasible. Their comprehensive tour date search engine of over 40,000 bands should be a good start anyway. Other goodies include in-depth reviews, networking with other fans, listings of shows in your area etc. Check em out.
Obviously, they are not the only player in their field. One contender, which I found on TechCrunch, is the new startup Songkick. It helps you find the cheapest concert tickets – definitely a winning idea in my book. You can also track shows and blog posts about your selected entertainers, and there is a recommendation engine, which is “not generated from the user base, like Last.fm, or through careful analysis like Pandora.” Another alternative is LiveNation, which claims to be the “world’s largest live music company”.
Given the seemingly endless number of startups popping up every day, it’s hard to keep track of what’s what. My opinion about startups is generally based on their answer to the question “how will you make my life easier?” as well as secondary concerns like “how pretty is your website?” and “can you keep my attention for more than 30 seconds?” In this regard, JamBase has my vote. For now, anyway.
*My psycho dancing is nothing compared to the thousands of teeny bopper girls I watched morph into screaming hyenas at that one Backstreet Boys concert I got dragged along to years ago…I kept thinking poor chaperoning parents. Yet, oddly enough, many of them seemed just as excited to be there as their 3-13 yr olds. Admittedly, I may have kind of gotten into it too. Just a little.