In Part I of my STANDING OUT blog, I talked about what I learned from the music books I read in 2019, and what made artists unique and truly stand out. In Part II of STANDING OUT, I’ll share what I learned at the live shows and how that makes them even more unique and truly stand out from all the ‘noise’. So, here is the line up this year (in chronological order), including the opening acts, which of course I NEVER miss.
- Foo Fighters with Run the Jewels:
An incredible show played at Super Bowl Weekend in Atlanta 2019. It was not part of a tour, so it was pretty much their greatest hits, spanning the entire catalog. Plus, there was an all-star guest lineup including Perry Farrell, Brian May, Zac Brown and Tom Morello. It was a mind-blowing show, especially the cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” with all of the guests on stage. Wuff!
My 3rd time seeing KISS, and they put on the greatest show on earth. The opening is an amazing display of shock and awe. Lights, fireworks, smoke, and an entrance from the rafters all while sand blasting the crowd with “Detroit Rock City”. When the crowd knows every single syllable to each song—standing, singing, chanting—it is spiritual. It was also generational. Grandfathers with their sons with their grandsons. It was really something to see. Not to mention all the face paint!
- Lionel Richie:
This was a wife pick, and it was a blast top to bottom. From “We are the World” swaying arms locked with people you’ve never met to singing “Dancing on the Ceiling” (and in the aisleways!) in unison. Lionel held the place in the palm of his hand with everyone in the joint getting their boogie on.
- Jared & The Mill and Orange Constant:
I saw these 2 bands at the Bragg Jam in Macon, GA. It’s a music festival that takes over the moderately sized town of Macon (which has a rich Georgia music history–Google it!) with 50+ bands playing in bars across town for two days. Our good friends, Jared & The Mill, came and rocked the Friday night crowd with their powerful brand of Americana. The melodies and lyrics are some of the best out there. These chaps also deserve a big high five, as the band is still the same five original members for six years now. They travel in a van twice a year around the entire US together. A testament to friendship, belief in what they are doing, and love of their ‘night’ job. Orange Constant is an up and coming band from Georgia that plays a hypnotic style of jam band music. So much so that their closing song was an instrumental (no lyrics or vocals whatsoever) that had the place rocking.
- Yacht Rock:
If you like 70’s rock, this is your jam. A Georgia-based cover band that sells out 6,000+ venues routinely around Atlanta, playing some of the greatest one hit wonders of the 70’s and early 80’s. “Steal Away” by Robbie Dupree and “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty. Yes, 6,000+ Atlantans flock to see this show because it is just that good.
Of course I had to see Queen, especially Brian May, before they called it quits. Brian is an eponymous guitar player that has influenced millions with his instrument. It was a special treat and pleasure to witness his greatness, creativity and fluidity in action.
- The Who with Reignwolf:
This was my first time seeing both The Who and the opener Reignwolf. Whoa…Reignwolf was spectacular. They played some truly rocking music that got the crowd lathered up for The Who. The Who played all of their greats. They added a new wrinkle with a full orchestra on stage to augment their sound. It was an interesting dynamic to watch a duet solo by the violinist and Pete Townsend rocking it out, trading licks!
- Wilco with Soccer Mommy:
I was super pumped to see Wilco again. The first time I saw them was at Bonnaroo. Our 3rd row tickets made this a much better experience! We arrived early to see Soccer Mommy—one of my favorite Indies right now—and, she was awesome. Played her best stuff in an efficient but power-packed 30 minutes. When Wilco hit the stage, they slayed the crowd with 29 songs from across their entire 25+ year catalog. Songs included “Jesus, etc” but also an oldie from A.M. ,“Box Full of Letters”. We were so close, it felt like Jeff Tweedy was literally singing to us and us alone. A magical night.
- Low Cut Connie opened for Big Freedia:
LCC is one of our buddies from Philly that play the most amped up live show you will ever see. Adam is a consummate professional. When I got to see him backstage, he would not talk and only shared hand signals so he could save his voice for his duet with Big Freedia. That’s commitment to your craft right there.
- Elton John:
A big check off the bucket list. Elton’s “Your Song” was our wedding dance song, so the wife and I had to see this show. At 73 Elton is as vibrant and strong-voiced as ever. He has had a fulfilling life journey, and he shares that throughout his show. He is an inspiration and an ambassador to the world.
- The Black Keys with Modest Mouse:
The Keys are an automatic for me. They tour, I buy tickets. It’s that simple. I own every album. This is the 4th time seeing them. They have so many great songs, especially ones that never hit the radio. They are bluesy and soulful to the point it tingles the spine. Not bad for a couple kids from Akron, OH.
- Unfortunately, Ozzy Osborne had to cancel. But not to worry, I have tickets to the 2020 show already.
Ok, what did I learn from logging all these hours at the venues this year (and away from my family) doing my ‘research’?
Never miss the opening band!
These bands are hand selected by the main band and are ALWAYS great. They work extremely hard to make the most of the opportunity to play for an audience that likely doesn’t know them. So, this is the first way the main band STANDS OUT, by giving you the opportunity to see the next great band. Do yourself a favor—see the opening bands. You won’t be disappointed. And when they knock your socks off, you are primed and ready for the main show! A perfect example is Low Cut Connie or Jared & The Mill. Check them out when you get the chance.
Key Marketing Takeaway: Your first impression is very important with every client. This goes all the way back to your first communication or interaction with them in the pitch. So, make a great impression right from your opening.
Every band gives it 100% each night.
This is extremely taxing on their mind, their body, and their voices. They work incredibly hard to put on the best show despite the grind. No matter how tired or beat down they may feel. Giving their absolute best, every single time they step on stage is a hallmark of why they STAND OUT. Consider some of the bands I have on this list: KISS, The Who, Lionel Richie, Queen and Elton John. These gents are well past retirement age for most people, but are still out thrilling us to the max. LCC’s front man, Adam Weiner, plays a Jerry Lee Lewis style of oldies, honky-tonk piano with the most pizazz and energy you will ever see. Adam bounds about the stage and his hands fly around the piano at warp speed. The man is drenched in sweat by the end of the set.
Key Marketing Takeaway: Overwork on your client’s behalf. You too should be a sweaty mess by the end of a project because you have been giving it everything you’ve got.
The live shows are meticulously crafted and curated.
Elton’s art and photography collection are on full display as a backdrop to many of his songs. KISS, of course, puts more time and effort in to their makeup and gear than any other band in history, not to mention the fireworks that are amazingly choreographed to the show. The Who’s addition of the orchestra was quite the artistic touch, giving their music an elevated element. Every light, every firework, ever photo, every movement is all carefully planned for your enjoyment.
Key Marketing Takeaway: Every detail counts. Pay attention and think through every single detail. Every pixel, every word, the order, the layout, the font, the punctuation, every motion…no matter how big the project.
At these shows, the bands connect deeply with their people—their fans.
Bands like Wilco, Foo Fighters, and KISS have legions of committed fans. That’s why they sell out huge venues. They are dedicated to their fans, and their fans are dedicated to them. Dressing up like members of KISS and being a member of the KISS Army for 30+ years. Singalongs with fans such as Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” was a riot (“naaaaaaa… naa, naa, naa, naa, naa, naa”) or Wilco’s “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” encore was so powerful (“well alright!”) that I am certain I saw Tweedy smile!
Key Marketing Takeaway: Be completely connected and aligned with your client. Be so in tune with their needs and expectations that you know what they prefer for lunch. Know what song is in their head at any given moment so you can sing along with them.
They are master storytellers, crafting some of the most memorable lyrics that embed into our brains.
However, and more importantly, during these live shows, they are telling the story of their lives with these songs, an arc that can span 40+ years. It is remarkable to witness and be a part of. To feel their joy, love, pain, sadness, rebirth, etc through these carefully selected songs and playlists. The songs they decide to play, the order in which they play them is a storytelling journey you travel with them for 2-3 hours. It brings a smile to your face, tears to your eyes and makes you feel alive.
Key Marketing Takeaway: Take your client on a journey with you. Have a vision of the end. Work tirelessly for them from the very beginning. Work every detail for them. Be completely aligned with them. When you do, you will create a unique story for them and their brand that they will love and be proud of. And that will produce smiles and tears of joy for you both!
Hopefully this 2-part blog, and the greatness of these bands and musicians, will give you the motivation and ideation to get out there and help your clients STAND OUT! Let’s go.