The Mid-Week Beat: Northwest Day of Digital Detox

316597-250Digital technology…what a wonderful thing it is! It has changed the modern music industry in countless ways: from making production more efficient to connecting musicians all over the world. It has even made distribution of music an instantaneous process.

Like any technological advancement, there are some bad things that come along with the good. I can go on all day about the degradation of fidelity or the financial implications digital distribution brings, but I was recently slapped in the face by an observation I made at a show at a great independent venue named Reggie’s in Chicago. After visiting the lounge, the record store and band merch area, I made my way to the balcony where I could take in the entire room and really get a feel for the place. The sound and lights were great. The bands were all well rehearsed and enthusiastic, but something seemed strange and it took me about five minutes to figure it out. It was Friday night at 10pm and the room was pretty full and about 30% of the room were typing on their phones while the band played on stage. I was a little disturbed by the image of the band pouring out their hearts and all these people ignoring them to keep up with their social media circles. This got me thinking about how much time I waste and how much I actually miss trying to keep up with things in the digital world, and that even though this digital technology really can make the world a better place, it is easy to fall out of balance with it.

A few days later I heard about the inaugural Northwest Day of Digital Detox that is happening this Saturday in Olympia, Washington. It is an annual event that is not so much meant to be an anti-technology rally, but an opportunity “to step away from your technology, guilt free…relax, unwind, unplug, detach, disconnect and enjoy five blissful hours of live music, free from any texting, posts, comments, uploads or likes.”
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The Mid-Week Beat: Hometown Get Down

202277-250This week on the Mid-Week Beat, our Music Doer Bill Geoghegan reviews an upcoming show in his neck of the woods, Central Wisconsin. We love featuring shows like this: eclectic, DIY and loaded with local talent that most of you probably haven’t discovered yet.

If you’re in Central Wisconsin, be sure to head out to Bernard’s Country Inn in Stevens Point, Wisconsin for a night of music that’s sure to please just about anyone, regardless of their musical tastes. Tell ’em Bill sent you!

This Saturday, May 4, Bernard’s Country Inn will be the home to an incredibly eclectic night of music. The up and coming, Central Wisconsin bluegrass group, Horseshoes And Hand Grenades, are throwing a release party for their new full length CD entitled “This Old Town.”

With this being their sophomore album, you might expect them to stack the show’s line up with other members of the Central Wisconsin bluegrass family of bands. Not these guys. This show promises something for almost anyone on the planet. Whether you need bluegrass, funk, reggae or indie rock to get you going… you’ll find it at Bernard’s. At least you will on Saturday. Get your tickets here before they’re gone!

Horseshoes And Hand Grenades (10:30-12:15):
“Hailing from the great town of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, HHG plays something like progressive high-energy old-time folk music. With strong roots in old-time and bluegrass, the band has formed it’s own unique style born from the diverse musical backgrounds and interests of the five friends who make up the band. All born and raised in the great state of Wisconsin, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades began playing music in the spring of 2009. Since then, the band has shared the stage with the Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, Charlie Parr, Pert Near Sandstone, Art Stevenson and Highwater, .357 String Band, The Big Wu and many more. Being mostly inspired by rivers, valleys, good friends, and good drink, this five piece is as sturdy as any midwest riverbed and will make your toes tape from sundown to sunrise.”


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Austin’s Wildfire Festival and 3 Months of Reggae

185037-250Music festival season is fast approaching and our site is already starting to fill up with tickets to festivals all around the country.

One of the first big events of the season is, of course, SXSW in Austin, Texas. Originally started in 1987 as a way to showcase independent music, SXSW has turned into one of the biggest interactive media events in the country, complete with corporate-sponsored showcases featuring big name acts, high-tech trade shows and media startup conferences. Attendance has sky-rocketed from 700 attendees in its first year, to over 40,000 attendees today. As a result, being able to see bands has become a bit of a challenge for the average music fan.

That’s why we’re excited to be ticketing a real “independent” festival in Austin that’s focused on a genre of music that we deeply love here at Brown Paper Tickets: reggae! Our music doer Billy Geoghegan has been playing in reggae and ska bands for years and you’ll often hear a reggae beat coming out of the computer speakers of many of our employees’ desks.

So, when we see that we’re ticketing a festival like the 4th Annual Wildfire Reggae and Arts Festival, we naturally want to spread the word and support it in any way we can. It’s going on during SXSW, so if you’re in town for “South By” and want to experience some high quality grooves in a beautiful setting, then Wildfire is for you!

Now in its fourth year, the Wildfire Reggae and Arts Festival will take place at The Music Ranch from Thursday, March 7 to Saturday, March 9 and will spotlight more than 30 bands offering a cross-section of the reggae genre, from ska to rocksteady to roots, dub and beyond. Past headliners have included Collie Buddz, Lynval Golding (of The Specials), HR (of Bad Brains), Common Kings, Contra Coup and Josh Heinrichs. This year offers another stellar lineup: Don Carlos (of Black Uhuru fame), Gyptian, Marlon Asher and the Farmers, The Expanders, Mike Love, Alex Marley, a large selection of DJ’s and more. They expect over 4,000 attendees this year and there will also be camping in a beautiful 80-acre oak tree forest. You can pick up daily passes, three-day passes or the coveted VIP passes right over here.


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Doo-Wop Hero Fred Milano Dies at 72

Singer-songwriter Jonny Meyers, grew up in Queens listening, imitating and eventually becoming friends with members of legendary doo-wop group The Belmonts. He put this obituary for Freddie Milano together and sent it to me for inclusion in the Brown Paper Tickets blog. I agree that Mr. Milano is an unsung hero who has influenced many genres of popular music. His passing is truly sad news….

With great sadness, rock-n-rollers worldwide mourn the loss of Fred Milano, backup tenor and founder of the Dion & The Belmonts. Freddie passed from complications due to lung cancer on New Years Day, 2012. His contribution to rock-n-roll history is best known by the seamless harmonies that defined the Bronx, New York doo-wop sound in hits such as “A Teenager in Love” and “Where or When,” which reached #5 and #3 respectfully in the 1959 Billboard charts.

When Dion left the group in 1960 for a solo career. Freddie continued on, reaching the Billboard Top 30 with “Tell me Why” in 1960 and “Come on Little Angel” in 1962. The Belmonts continued to make records and to perform up until Freddie’s recent passing. He is survived by his wife of forty-three years, his son and daughter, and his ten grandchildren.
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