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Needle in the Haystack Follow Up: Yael Meyer

We hope that you all have enjoyed listening to and learning more about our Needle in the Haystack artist, Yael Meyer as much as we have. Our taste-making team discovered Yael Meyer sitting in the Top 10 of our Indie Pop Channel charts (Here’s a hint for all you Needle in the Haystack wannabes: We find a lot of our NITH artists on the Best Of charts. So be sure to participate in our competitions, and stay active on OurStage.)  If you haven’t already, download Yael’s free track, “Shed Their Fear” here!

Watch the video from yesterday’s interview with Yael Meyer. It was a lot of fun!

Pop in Advertising

The more things change in the music industry, the more one thing in particular stays the same: Radio remains as integral to star- and hit-making as it was back in the days when Bill Haley & His Comets first rocked around the clock. Video may have killed the radio star in the 1980s, but today—if you get the sound and vision right—you still could live long on radio, and YouTube too.

Nowadays, though, even if you don’t look like Katy Perry or Rihanna—and/or if your sound doesn’t quite fit radio’s increasingly slender formats—there are other options. Ten years ago, Moby became a superstar—mining multi-platinum with his Play album—despite having virtually no radio airplay and looking nothing like a traditional pop idol, after licensing every single track on the CD to movies, TV shows and commercials. By the time “South Side” became a bonafide radio hit, making it all the way to No. 14 in 2001, nearly two years after Play‘s release, it was gravy. The following year, Moby’s fellow electronica act, Dirty Vegas, scored a No. 14 hit of its own after “Days Go By” popped up in a Mitsubishi Eclipse TV commercial.

Music Meets Advertising in New Iva Furhlingova / ghd haircare combo Music Video /Ad Spot by RKCR/Y&R and Floria Sigismondi

Hollywood and Madison Avenue have borrowed from pop for years (for a price), often using well-known tracks by established artists, but recently, they’ve been selling new music, and up-and-coming acts (along with their own product) like never before. Some agencies are even launching their own labels, as is the case with RKCR/ Y&R. In 2008, music placement in ads helped M.I.A. land an unlikely Top 10 hit after “Paper Planes” was cast in the trailer for the film Pineapple Express. Coldplay‘s “Viva la Vida,” the Ting Tings “Shut Up and Let Me Go” and Mary J. Blige‘s “Work That” all became chart hits after starting life in iTunes commercials, and the chart life span of Yael Naim’s “New Soul” was extended by it’s use in an Apple MacBook Air TV ad.

Sade enjoyed her biggest hit single in 20 years in January when “Soldier of Love” became as much a beneficiary of the TV promos for the final season of Lost as the show itself. Then along came Britain’s Florence and the Machine, virtually unknown in the US until the single “Dog Days Are Over” upstaged Julia Roberts in the trailer for Eat Pray Love. That massive exposure raised Florence’s profile before a plum gig performing the song on the MTV Video Music Awards in September helped the single surge to No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and boosted its parent album, Lungs, to No. 14. (What is it about that number?)

Meanwhile, Brit band Muse also has benefited from heavy trailer  action and owes much of its high US profile to the overuse of its music in movies (in particular, the Twilight series), trailers and TV promos, such as the newly released global TV campaign for Virgin Atlantic Airways and the much touted 2010 Super Bowl Google spot. “Map of the Problematique” has featured in ads for Prison Break, The Children of Men and the upcoming Angelina Jolie/Johnny Depp film The Tourist, and “Uprising” popped up earlier this year in the trailer for Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz’s Knight and Day.

Rihanna’s “Rockstar 101″  saw increased sales on iTunes and a surge in popularity after being featured in a commercial for MTV’s Video Music Awards as well as becoming the soundtrack for the promos of the  CW’s new show Nikita. Who’ll be next? Christina Aguilera could use Hollywood’s help now that radio appears to be totally over her. But even if her debut film, Burlesque, flops when it opens on November 24th, maybe the studio will stick her new single in the next trailer and watch both song and star soar [soundtrack hits stores November 16th].

By Jeremy Helligar

Jeremy Helligar is a former staff writer for People, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly, who now writes about celebrities and pop culture from his couch in Buenos Aires.

Punk On The Rocks: Punk Halloween Costumes

Halloween’s just a few days away— have you picked out your costume yet? If not, don’t fret. This week’s Punk On the Rocks has some tips on how to create some easy, last-minute punk Halloween costumes from items you probably already have. Special thanks to the awesome OurStage interns for volunteering their time and modeling skills.

Intern Rebecca as Joey Ramone

Joey Ramone
What you need: Skinny jeans, Converse, ratty t-shirt, leather (or “leather”) jacket.
If you’re anything like the OurStage crew, you can find most of the pieces for this costume in your closet. Long hair and round, John Lennon-style shades are easy ad-ons that really complete the Joey look, but the costume basics can be adapted to any Ramone.Go as the group with some buddies or fly solo as your favorite member.
Total cost: $10
Variation: Lose the jacket, add some bling & questionable tattoos and you’re Dee Dee Ramone during his ill advised rapper phase!

Interns Rebecca and Martin as Sid and Nancy

Sid & Nancy:

What you need (Sid): Skinny jeans or plaid pants, safety-pinned t-shirt, punk pins, spiked collar necklace, snarl.
What you need (Nancy): Disheveled blond hair (real or fake), heavy-handed makeup, mini skirt, fishnets, leather jacket.
Another costume you can put together with items from your closet. We only had to buy the wig, fishnets & t-shirt. What better way to scare the neighborhood kids on Halloween than by showing them what their future will look like if they don’t “just say no”?
Total cost: $25 (both costumes combined)
Variation: Don’t have a Sid? No problem! The Nancy look also doubles as a Courtney Love costume.

You can only push interns so far


What You Need: socks, Converse or skate shoes, a smile
Recreate Blink’s infamous streaking “What’s My Age Again?” video this Halloween for little to no cost (Note: total cost of costume does not include any fines you may incur for lewd or indecent behavior)! We chose not to photograph this one for obvious reasons. You can only push your interns so far.
Total cost: $0
Variation: add some black clothes and some eye liner and you can be Tom from his “serious musician” days in Angels & Airwaves.

Intern Munson the Destroyer as MC Bat Commander

MC Bat Commander of The Aquabats

What you need: Teal shirt, felt, stick-on felt, elastic, safety pins, scissors.

The perfect for those of you who dig wacky ska-punk but break out into a cold sweat at the site of a sewing machine. Use the stick-on felt for the details, then safety pin everything together! Voila!

Total cost: $12

Variation: Honestly, there’s not much you do to transform this outfit, but with a costume this rad, who cares?

What will your costume be this year? Let us know in the comments!

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

The National win best album at Q Awards

This week Q Magazine’s Q Awards took place, bringing together some of the biggest names in music. Winners included Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine for Best Female, Paolo Nutini for Best Male, and Mumford & Sons for Best New Act. The National beat the likes of Green Day, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon and Muse for the highest honor of Best Album for High Violet. Check out the full list of winners here.

Katy Perry gets hitched

Katy Perry and Russell Brand got married in a lavish ceremony on a wildlife reserve in India this past weekend. Bo-ring!

The Bad

Bon Jovi neighbor pens apology letter

“Dear Bon Jovi,

I’m sorry for throwing empty beer cans on your lawn.”

So begins a grand apology by a 17-year-old neighbor of Jon Bon Jovi, posted to So what possessed a teenage boy to vandalize the lawn of New Jersey’s favorite son? Bad lyrics, apparently. Read the letter in its entirety here—it’s funny stuff.

T.I. changes album title

Now that T.I. is facing 11 months in jail for violating his probation, his album name, King Uncaged doesn’t make much sense. This week the rapper announced that the new title will be No Mercy. Still no word on a release date … for the album … not T.I.

The Ugly

Alice Cooper loses blood and other stuff on flight to UK

Don’t you just hate it when the airline loses your fake blood, skulls and plastic bats? Oh, that’s right, you’re not Alice Cooper. The ghoulish rocker was en route to a Halloween show in London when he discovered his luggage had been misplaced, and with it, all sorts of props for his show. Cooper was not happy, nor should he be. Oversized syringes and skeleton arms don’t grow on trees.

Taylor Momsen flashes audience at New York show

Is there anyone, ANYONE, more desperate to be seen as a bad girl than Taylor Momsen? The dead hooker makeup, the underage smoking, the torn fishnets, the apathetic gaze, the pointless trash talking—it’s like a 17-year-old pretending to be Courtney Love for Halloween. The Pretty Reckless singer borrowed another move from the bad girl playbook this week when she flashed a crowd during a performance, revealing taped nipples a la Wendy O. Williams. Yawn. Julia Roberts’ performance in Pretty Woman was more shocking. Sorry Miss Momsen, you’re not bad, just unoriginal.


Q&A With Senses Fail

Having been a constant presence in the modern rock scene for nearly a decade, post-hardcore band Senses Fail have refused to conform to current trends on and off the stage. Their fifth studio record, The Fire, a testament to the bands evolution and experiences grappling with self-doubt, anger and forgiveness, was released on Tuesday. We got the chance to speak with frontman Buddy Nielsen about the new record, the first-ever Senses Fail DVD and being on tour with Bayside.

OS: Senses Fail recently returned from touring Australia. How did the crowds there react to seeing you live for the first time in four years?

BN: It was awesome! I had a great time. Everything went really well and I thought the shows went great. I can’t wait to go back. Australia is really my favorite place to go.

OS: The Fire is the first Senses Fail record with Zack Roach on guitar. How has the lineup change affected the band and the writing of the record?

BN: Zack didn’t really do a ton of writing, it was mostly the three of us. Heath (Saraceno, former guitarist) had a lot to do with the writing, but he was kind of a guy who came in after the fact and added to it, he didn’t really write the bulk of the stuff. Not a lot has really changed, as far as the writing process. Garrett (Zablocki, guitarist) usually wrote the bulk of it and he and Dan (Trapp, drummer) arranged it, then I would come up with the melodies and lyrics and help arrange it. I think people would expect that there would be a change, but there really wasn’t.

OS: Senses Fail’s music seems to get heavier with each release. Is this a conscious decision or has it happened naturally?

BN: It just happens. It’s hard to explore different avenues, going a poppier route. It’s very linear, what you can do with something that’s catchy, as opposed to taking a different vibe and taking a different feeling and taking a heavier route. We try to write songs that we would like to play, ultimately…stuff that isn’t too out of the box for us. I think a lot of bands tend to jump the shark sometimes in trying to be experimental. Sometimes it works but I really think most times it doesn’t.

OS: There’s a way to progress without going too far.

BN: Yeah. You’ve got to know who you are as a band and who your fans are, too. You can’t just abandon what made you popular. You can’t get ahead of yourself and what you think are.

OS: That’s something you show on The Fire. You guys have definitely come a long way but you still sound like Senses Fail.

BN: Oh, awesome, thanks! That would be what I want to hear. I don’t like when my favorite bands decide to do something stupid and change their thing. It’s like, “Why? You just ruined it. I liked you for this reason but you decided to mess up what was good about it.” I think bands that have been around for a long time feel a sense of urgency to keep up with what’s going on or out-do what’s going on to stay relevant. It’s hard not to go, “This is what’s popular, should we do this? Do we need to have all these breakdowns and then a techno part? I hope it’s not what we need to do.”

OS: Tell us about the title track of the new record.

BN: “The Fire”… that song, to me, just opens up the record to what the record’s going to be. “The Fire” is about going through a process of change in your life with uncertainty, but ultimately telling yourself that you’re at the right place at the right time and that everything’s pretty much happening for the right reasons. It’s kind of a bipolar song where part of it’s positive and then at the breakdown it goes back to reflecting on ways that I have chosen to deal with things and ultimately want to change. Walking through the fire; walking through a time of hardship leaves you stronger and better off.

OS: Your lyrics have have always been extremely personal, but varied, in terms of their themes. What would you say are the lyrical themes of The Fire?

BN: Self-exploration and working up a lot of self-doubt and anger…definitely anger towards relationships that I’ve had within my family and coming to terms with them. I think forgiveness is definitely a theme on the record…and just trying to figure out what to do when you’re 26 and in a band. The same things that everyone else is trying to figure out.

OS: You’re releasing a live DVD with the first pressing of The Fire. What was the concert shoot like?

BN: We did it last Halloween in New Jersey and it came out great, I’m happy with it. It was our first time that we did a live DVD and it’s a pain in the ass (laughs). The whole process is just kind of a pain in the ass. But it came out really good, I’m psyched. People have been asking for it. We’re not the kind of band that’s going to put on a Nine Inch Nails kind of a show where it’s very visual and stuff, it’s more the kind of show that you need to go to, you know? It’s just a band playing music and it’s kind of hard to sell that on its own, nowadays, with people not buying records and people just not buying things, period. I think it’s better off that it comes with the record, because it’s an added bonus, like, “Hey, here’s a live show, if you’ve never seen us.” You can’t ever really get what it’s like to be at a show, unless you’re there…or unless you’re watching a Muse DVD and it’s just hundreds of thousands of people and a crazy stage show and lights. That’s visually entertaining and you can sit there and watch.

OS: You’re touring with your friends in Bayside. What are you most looking forward to while on the road with them?

BN: I’m just excited to finally be on tour with a bunch of bands that I don’t think suck. We tried, with the last record, to bring along bands that were doing well and that didn’t work. We’ve been a band for nine years now and a lot of our fans are a little older and they go to the bar…they don’t want to see some of the shit that’s going down now. We made some decisions in underestimating how much our audience has grown and what they would like to see. I think that they would probably like to see stuff more along the lines of what we’d like, which is great. I think this tour is going to do really well. I don’t know how much the crossover is between Bayside fans and Senses Fail fans, but I definitely know that Senses Fail fans do like Bayside as well.

OS: And the other two bands…you were saying on Twitter that people should definitely listen to them. What are they like?

BN: Oh yeah, they’re great bands. Title Fight is punk rock, hardcore band. Like Good Riddance, kind of. Balance and Composure sounds like a mid-90s Midwestern emo band. They’re very spacey but heavy, not in a breakdown way…like Deep Elm Records kind of stuff, which is really cool. There are times when they sound like older Recover. They’re doing very well so it should be fun.

OS: In addition to providing vocals for Senses Fail, you also front a punk band called Bayonet. Are there any recording our touring plans in the works for 2011?

BN: We have a bunch of stuff recorded and we have a bunch of stuff we’re still writing, it’s just in between having to write this whole record and then record it, I haven’t really had any time to do anything with that. But I think our full-length will come out next year on Vagrant.

Check out Senses Fail on tour with Bayside at these upcoming tour dates:

10/28 – Omaha, NE at The Waiting Room
10/29 – Denver, CO at The Summit Music Hall
10/30 – Salt Lake City, UT at In The Venue
11/01 – Seattle, WA at El Corazon
11/02 – Portland, OR at Wonder Ballroom
11/04 – San Francisco, CA at The Regency Ballroom
11/05 – West Hollywood, CA at Troubadour
11/06 – Anaheim, CA at House of Blues
11/07 – San Diego, CA at House of Blues
11/09 – Mesa, AZ at The Nile
11/10 – Albuquerque, NM at Sunshine Theatre
11/12 – Dallas, TX at The Door
11/13 – Austin, TX at Emo’s
11/14 – Houston, TX at Warehouse Live
11/16 – Jacksonville Beach, FL at Freebird Live
11/17 – St. Petersburg, FL at State Theatre
11/18 – Lake Buena Vista, FL at House of Blues
11/19 – Atlanta, GA at The Masquerade
11/20 – Charleston, SC at The Music Farm
11/21 – Greensboro, NC at Greene Street
11/23 – Towson, MD at The Recher Theatre
11/24 – Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom
11/27 – Philadelphia, PA at Electric Factory

Soul Searching: Daryl Black

In our quest for soul, it’s not uncommon for us to run into an artist who got their start by singing in church. Gospel training tends to lend itself well to the soul genre. Daryl Black came up on our radar and we knew we had to feature him as this week’s Soul Searching artist. Yes, Daryl Black is someone who first trained as a singer in the church, but Daryl is more than a great vocalist. This artist is both a talented writer and producer as well. These three skills combined create original music that gives the listener a deeper sense of what the artist is trying to portray. Daryl hails from California, and works to prove himself as a serious artist everyday. He’s most certainly has some impressive accomplishments to add to the resume including opening and or performing for Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Coko, R. Kelly, Marvin Sapp, Daryl Coley, Prince, Shirley Caesar, J. Moss, Tonex just to name a few.

Daryl’s music has heavy pop influences that makes it ready for the mainstream market. Listen to his song “Radio” and you’ll see what we mean. We’ve added the song below for your convenience. Let us know what you think in the comments section and, as always, if you have suggestions for who we should feature next, let us know!

The Good Kind: How Big Name Artists Are Giving Back

It seems that lately famous names, especially those with musical talent, are all about doing good. Musically inclined individuals are readily inspiring warm fuzzies. Maybe I wear rose-colored glasses when viewing icons responsible for my longtime love of audible bliss. No matter. I’m comfortable with this analysis, content to single out a handful of mention-ables for their meaningful efforts to make a difference for those less fortunate. Or, in some cases, their willingness to lend a hand (err, track) on behalf of the greater good by making their art both part of the conversation and solution no matter the cause.

Recently I had the great pleasure of attending the fourth installment of SPIN Magazine’s Liner Notes, a series that highlights the influence of literature on music, promotes literacy, fosters a love of reading among music fans and raises money for organizations. In this instance, Ben Folds and Nick Hornby shared the stage, co-headlining this special gig, where music and literature intersect. The two discussed their collaboration on recent release Lonely Avenue and performed select songs from the record—the audience couldn’t be more pleased by the intimate engagement. The event, held in New York, raised funds—and awareness—for Housing Works, a non-profit that strives to ensure homeless and low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and their families have adequate housing, food, social support, drug treatment, health care and employment.

While neither singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist nor novelist touched much on the charitable basis of the benefit, their brand names brought fans that packed snugly into the Crosby Street bookstore and café. The sold-out event was attended by 250 people and raised over $10,000.


Producer (and so much more) Moby took a different approach by lending his tunes to a powerful documentary film that is sure to turn heads; Director Lucy Walker’s Waste Land is a transformative exploration of the human spirit. The movie chronicles the everyday lives of poor trash pickers who make their way collecting recyclable materials at the largest landfill in the world, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

Moby, who spoke about his participation in the film at the React to Film screening at SoHo House, said “I’ve never been happier to have my music used than in this film. There [are] so many messages.” His involvement piggybacks another way in which Moby is giving back. He told attendees, “I started a Web site called, which gives free music to indie filmmakers. To anybody.” He quipped, “You can even lie and say you’re an indie filmmaker.” He explained the simple process, “What I’m particularly happy about [is] now, [when] someone submits a request for a license and we don’t get back to them within two days, it’s pre-approved. Which is great. Free music for everybody!” So, while all independent projects may not align with an obvious cause, or multiple causes as Waste Land does, Moby is himself coming to the aid of struggling moviemakers attempting to convey meaning via art.

Moby’s not the only musical wunderkind with a soft spot for significant films. So too, it seems, is John Legend, who lent his vocal acumen to the soundtrack of Waiting For ‘Superman,’ a film that explores corruption in America’s education system. Says Legend, “I was really inspired by the film. I wrote a song for it. It’s the only original song on the new album.” At the red carpet premiere at New York’s Lincoln Center a few weeks ago, Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, pointed out, “John Legend has been really terrific about these kinds of issues. His voice in this is really important.”

Musicians who speak out as, well, “spokesfolks” for important issues deserve recognition too. Take John Mayer for example.  He attached himself to the Malaria No More campaign, specifically the Comedy Fights  Malaria effort, which uses laughter-inducing videos with major celebrities (Aziz  Ansari, Orlando Bloom, Jason Schwartzman) delivering hilarious lines and talking @#$% about the epidemic. In one of the videos, Mayer says, oh-so-seriously, “Mosquitoes will tell you they don’t have malaria, but use a net anyway.” It’s a clever viral tactic that aims to make an impact and garner attention—and funds—to help wipe the planet clean of this disease. One of Mayer’s songs, “Why Georgia,” also appears in one of the videos, entitled “My Childhood.” Prior to this enterprise, the organization released Indie Rocks! A Benefit Album for Malaria No More last year. This 14-track compilation included contributions from Peter Bjorn and John, Wild Light, The Walkmen and eleven others.

Whether through music or using their voices to speak up on behalf of a cause they believe in, be it animal rights (HERE, Paul McCartney) or civil rights (Beautiful Small Machines, Pink), education reform (Lil Mama, John Legend) or the environmental crisis (Green Day, KT Tunstall), curing diseases (Coldplay, John Mayer) or fighting poverty (Metric, Madonna), musicians are ready to be heard for more than just music. From the U2’s of the world right on down to more underground outfits like HERE, artists are making a difference globally and locally through the medium of music or the fame that comes with making great music. So much good is going on in the face of so much mayhem and dismay, it’s almost become a necessary step to success to get involved. At the very least it instills warm fuzzies.

By Nell Alk

Nell Alk is a culture and entertainment reporter based in New York. Her work has appeared in Paper Magazine,, Zink Magazine and, among others. She also contributes to NBC’s Niteside blog.

Tune Up: Caring For Your Percussion Instruments

This week, we’re closing out our short series about caring for the gear you’ve spent so much money procuring. Now it’s time for some tips on cleaning, storing and maintaining your drums/percussion instruments. Since playing drums means hitting them really hard with a stick, it’s often tough to keep them in the best working shape. Still, there are options to keep in mind for storage and cleaning.


First, let’s discuss some cleaning choices. In the case of the drums themselves, we’re mostly referring to polish and cleaning solutions. There are various types for every part of the drum set. First, we’ll quickly highlight some of the different types of products specifically designed to clean and polish cymbals and hardware.  There are obviously many brands of polish out there, so selecting one seems a bit arbitrary. We would, however, recommend looking at the Trick drum care line. They have a kit that comes with a spray polish/cleaning solution as well as a thicker cream. They also include a good polishing towel.

For cymbals/hardware, the name of the game is moderation. Make sure you don’t put too much solution on the cymbals or hardware because it will just need to be buffed out in the end anyway (otherwise, you will leave behind streaking and other marks). Making sure that you use a proper solution on cymbals and hardware will ensure that they stay clean, shiny and don’t rust. Keep in mind that many cymbal brands (Zildjian, Paiste, etc) often make their own polishes.


Another aspect of drum care to keep in mind is storage.  Much like storing your guitar in a case/room with proper humidity levels (and unlike the drier environments needed for your electronics), drums need to be stored in the ideal humidity range for wood—for our purposes here, this is typically somewhere between 30% and 50%. If the air is too dry, your drums will crack, and if the air is too wet your drums will warp.

In terms of maintenance, the most important consideration is just making sure that the accessories are changed when they need to be. Replacing heads and cymbal felts are simple ways to keep your set sounding as good as possible. While changing a head can be done easily, it’s important to tighten it evenly. By this, we mean tightening a nut, and then tightening the nut directly across from it (rather than next to it). You should continue to move around the head in this pattern as opposed to tighenting nuts in a clockwise motion. Check out this article for some more detailed tips.

The bottom line is to treat your drums much like you’d treat a guitar or a computer. Give them the proper environment, clean them and maintain their replaceable parts. Just because they are played by hitting them with a stick, doesn’t mean that proper considerations shouldn’t be taken. The better you are at these precautions, the longer your kit will last.

They Like It Live: Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers

This summer we got a chance to chat up Stephen Kellogg of The Sixers, and when Vanguard Records so graciously offered us a chance to catch their “Amazing Fall Tour” (thanks guys!), we couldn’t pass it up. Everyone we talked to in anticipation of the show had only good things to say. Let me rephrase, great things to say. We encountered lots of accidental fans at the bar, most notably that had become fans as a result of seeing them live and never even having heard The Sixers music (which isn’t to say that also isn’t great).

On stage, The Sixers have a lot going on. Kellogg himself plays guitar and harmonica, and is joined by Kit “Goose” Karlson who switches it up between keys, bass and tuba. Brian “Boots” Factor plays drums, mandolin and the banjo. Sam “Steamer” Getz joined The Sixers for the Amazing Fall Tour, lending electric guitar, pedal steel player and bass to the mix (Fun fact: Getz is called Steamer because of his Cleveland ties. Take that for what you will.). But this set up isn’t mutually exclusive. It’s a constant juggling act of instruments and musicians.

Stephen Kellogg

The Sixers establish a professional presence while not taking themselves too seriously, something that can only come from extensive touring experience. The band recently released the 2-disc collection Live From The Heart to commemorate their 1,000 live show. A well-oiled machine of audience interaction and flashy instrument playing, The Sixers make it look effortless.

Kellogg opened with the heartfelt “Father’s Day”, then ironically (or maybe not?) moved in to “My Old Man”. The audience soon got into the swing of things with an electrified version of “Start The Day Early”. Everyone loves a good song about moonshine, right? But perhaps the biggest appeal of The Sixers live is Kellogg’s brilliant story-telling between songs. Charismatic and engaging, Kellogg seems to make everyone feel like they’re the only person in a room, despite curating a serious party environment.

Kit "Goose" Karlson

The Sixers went on to play several songs from their newest album, including the title track “The Bear” and the unfeigned “Satisfied Man”. The guys navigated away from their country roots for a moment with the fun, upbeat “Shady Esperanto and the Young Hearts Club” (check out the OK Go-esque music video for the good-time track). And at one point, Goose lifted his guitar behind his head to play not one or two chords, but an entire solo.

Despite this being their first headlining tour in two years, The Sixers seem to have it down to pat. “When people ask why they should go see the show, I tell them I’ll give them they’re money back if they don’t like it. ‘Tell me and I’ll send you a damn check. I think you’re going to like it.’” We concur.


10/14/10 Royale Theater-Boston, MA
with Small Ponds and Roy Jay Band

Father’s Day
My Old Man
Sweet Sophia
Start the Day Early
Oh Adeline
Big Easy
The Bear
See you Later, See you Soon
Satisfied Man
Now I’m not so lost
In Front of the World
Shady Esperanto
Uninspired Gambling

Encore: Such a Way, 4th of July

2nd Encore: Thirteen

Sixertown: Keep me in your thoughts, Pedal Steel

Behind the Mic: Live Performance Tips

No matter how tight your band is musically, your live show could suffer greatly if you don’t have good stage presence.

What is stage presence, anyway? Basically, it’s the way you carry yourself on stage and interact with the audience and your fellow band members.

As an artist, your goals should be: to sound as tight as possible, make sure your audience has a good time and make sure they leave with some merch and/or music. Here are some tips to make it all happen.

Remember, this is a performance...don't be afraid to go a little crazy!

When organizing your set list, it’s a good idea to consider the flow of the songs. Essentially, don’t load all your new songs at the beginning or the end of the set and don’t play similar songs back-to-back. Adding in a cover song can be a fun way to engage audience members who don’t know your original material yet. You should always end your set with your strongest song or your newest single in order to leave the crowd with the best impression possible.

Always arrive to the venue at or before the specified time. If the booking agent doesn’t tell you when to show up, an hour and a half before doors open is always a safe bet. This will ensure that you have enough time to load in your equipment and, if possible, sound check before doors open to avoid any potential technical difficulties.

During your set, remember to encourage audience participation. The vocalist should always try to be charismatic, exciting and fun. Start claps, teach them a sing-a-long part or talk directly to certain crowd members. If the audience is into your music, they will love feeling like they’re becoming a part of it.

Keep up the audience engagement and someday you may hear thousands singing back to you!

Through the set, you should try to mention your band name three times. It also helps to tell the audience where you’re from and where they can find you online. Mention that you’re on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, OurStage, etc. and encourage them to look you up. Keep in mind that the more the audience hears your band’s name, the more likely it is that they will remember it when the show is over. Of course, you should also tell the audience about your latest release and what your plans for the future are, especially if you plan on playing in the same area in the near future.

It’s also important to sell from the stage, as your merch is both promotional material and a way to earn cash from the show, regardless of ticket sales. Point your audience’s attention to your merch table and list two or three of the items you have available. As always, have your mailing list set up at the table so you can capture names and contact information.

If you’re not headlining, always try to stay for the bands playing after you to provide support. Introduce yourselves to them before or after the show—don’t forget that each performance is a networking opportunity!

Just like athletes watch footage of their latest game, filming a show and going over it with your bandmates afterwards will help you see how you appear to the audience. And if you like the video, be sure to enter it in our brand new Pro Performance Video Channel!

Which tips would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.


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