Live Nation Charlotte gets serious with Local, Regional and Indie bands.
90 Minutes with Divakar
Last night I tuned into 106.5 the end from 8-9pm to listen to some of my favorite PR guys in Charlotte. The special guests were the ever-lovable Chris Ozment (Director of Marketing Fillmore, Underground, and Ritz Raleigh) and Brandon Hinson (Production Manager of the Fillmore Underground, and manager of locals Something Clever). We have a long standing musical twinship with these promoters. The first time I was introduced to Chris, who I call Oz, was a single email on recognizing that Shutter had a passion to promote our local music scene. We sat down for a meeting at the illustrious Fillmore and instantly clicked.
I could see and hear the passion in his voice for music. His vision? To build a beautiful community where promoters, media, and venues were all cross-pollinating and building each other up. One of the most memorable quotes when asked what music they would like us to focus on– simply put with one word, “ALL.” This was my first and long-lasting impression.
Bad Suns kicked off music on 90 minutes last night as they were performing at The Fillmore Underground, and their tunes played across the radio. You can scroll on instagram feeds to see what you missed.
A goal they have for the Underground is expanding to a six-nights-a-week operation- throwing around weekly annual events such as (a suggestion here) karaoke nights. Local shows are hard to pack out on the weekday and leave many spaces to fill. They touched on about only having been able to add three locals to anything at the Fillmore. But almost all shows at Underground being the exact opposite.
Oz —Opened up with their first local choice of “Slave,” by Hectorina, which is Dylan Gilbert’s current project (circa 2012) with his musical brothers John Harrell and Zachary Jordan. The trio have a show this Saturday at Birdsong Brewery. His next pick was Farewell Albatrosses “Forest Fire.” I’d met lead singer Drea’ Atkins in a photo-pit at 1065’s Weenie Roast photographing X Ambassadors.
She was such a sweet personality, you just wanted to keep on talking. We later ended up as Facebook friends and I’ve seen the blossom of this band from its infancy to complete bad-ass. Example, drummer Jill Livick (School of Rock Charlotte) have played in or helped create some of the best local bands (IMO). Their EP Filthy Heart is out now, grab it.
Jaggermouth was Brandon’s pick, saying “they already seemed like a national band at first listen.” Tonight’s song was “Liberty Kids,” a fun rock song that gets you dancing in your seat. We’ve been covering this band for several years. Bassh “Release Me”, again familiar to Shutter, the funky new wave vibe and vocalist has a hauntingly eerie sound akin to Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks. The band has two members of Matrimony that surely doesn’t hurt their chances at going national either.
Jumping back into some interview items, they skimmed over the sad state of Charlotte venues closing — mentioning Amos, Double Door, Chop Shop, and Tremont. We used to have this amazing concert climate of so many choices on each night to attend something in the city and year-by-year the numbers shrink. The Fillmore Underground is trying to catch a spot in the scene to solidify our locals always have somewhere else to play (…. Milestone, Snug, Evening Muse..) and to work with other venues to keep it that way.
More tunes were had with Swim in the Wild’s “Make it, Take it,” who have a show coming up at The Neighborhood Theatre Saturday the 18th with Charlotte locals Time Sawyer, and Late Night Special. In celebration of Time Sawyer’s new album One if by Land release. The more you listen to SWIW, it’s hard to not be smitten by the vocalist temponic rhythms and velvet tongue. The relatable lyrics would surely be interesting to see how this music translates live. Don’t miss out!
The new Something Clever “Season of the Light,” came on next and instantly with the anthemic chanting you could tell it’s undoubtedly them. Once you’ve heard this hit, it sticks with you. We covered their show at Fillmore Underground this weekend, and you can view our exclusive photos of the VIP meet and greet with some eager and enamoured fans.
I’ve had so many great experiences with SC, one being the opening of the Underground. We sat in the green room and goofed off a lot but talked about the new CD, during the interview. You can see the full piece on this show here… As well as the CD (Season of Light) release party this weekend.
A local playlist wouldn’t be complete until you put Junior Astronomers on it. Their new single “ That’s Why,” a guitar-heavy track reminiscent of when they started. Oz told a story when they opened for Modest Mouse due to a general flub up, the original tour openers couldn’t make it. Oz called JA around late afternoon – their bass player was out of town and they still found a way to play the show. It sheds light on the working man in the music scene always gets the big slots!
ISH – “Monsters Inside,” breaks us into the next single. They are a band you see a lot of promoting being done around town. While self-promoting is a great trait, so is having three talented artists that all have been around the block once or twice. Drummer Neel Jadeja, also of the band The Radio Silent, is an endearing character you are hard pressed to not find attending or performing at a show on most night.
Oz got a moment to gush about those few shows he was able to link up locals and nationals. Sinners and Saints played a Flogging Molly show. Flogging Molly would not let them leave without getting their drink-on with them in their green room. Matrimony opening for Langhorne Slim was another he spoke of emphatically and is looking forward to more of this in the coming year.
The guys gave some industry pointers to what a live local band should do:
–Look at what is appealing you to concerts you attend – have that stage presence. Not flash or glam – the presence, energy, connection.
–How you market yourself, get people out there and tell them about your band and why they should listen.
–Starting to get fans? Go give them hugs, sign things, talk to them, bring them into the concert family.
–Multi-band shows happening? Have the name of the band somewhere – always say your name on stage several times.
–Watch the bands you are sharing the stage with. Stay after you play watch ALL bands. Bands supporting bands encourage your friends to stay too and builds more of an audience.
–First and foremost, hone your skills and get good. No one will hate a 12 minute set that is perfect compared to a 30 that is a wreck.
–Promote the heck out of yourself.
–Don’t bad mouth another band or venue. We are all a community – love your scene!
Other highlights to the hour interview were when they talked about the gathering Brandon and the guys hosted at F.U. to talk about getting the music community together to express any concerns, such as how to facilitate packing a house and trying to do away with Live Nation as the big-bad-wolf; giving more artists a chance to open for Nationals and not deterring any stuff from any other venue but helping everyone; creating an avenue to have all shows there and elsewhere to succeed.
Remaining bands played after the interview for the night:
Avenue Drive – Heavy Calm
Caroline Keller Band – Radio from the album busted
Flagship – I Want You
The Menders – Where Are You Now
The Menders – Come On In (acoustic)
The Menders – Can’t Be Seen
Messenger Down – No Home For Ghosts
Time Sawyer – Appalachian Bound
Late Night Special – Love In the First Degree
Randy Franklin & Jamie Hoover – Constellation Prize
The Fill Ins – No Strings Attached
Last word of advice to conclude the Live Nation guys interview
“Come to the shows – work the scene! “
Tune into 90 minutes with Divakar Sunday nights at 8-10pm on 106.5 The End.