The Mid-Week Beat: RIP Lou Reed

lou-reed-lou-reed-31564770-1024-768So, if this was a normal Halloween, I would be writing about all the upcoming Halloween music events but when a musical legend dies, it’s the duty of the music fan to pay tribute. This last Sunday morning, we lost probably one of the most influential musicians of the past 40 years and an artist that had a tremendous impact on me: Lou Reed.

Any fan of “alternative” music owes a huge debt to Reed. Starting his musical career in the era of “free love” and psychedelia, Reed was churning out discordant, droning songs about violence, hard drugs and life on the streets of New York City; far removed from what was going on in hippy meccas like London or San Francisco. Reed believed that rock and roll could push boundaries and challenge audiences just like the literature of the Beat Generation or the art of the avant garde.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that he found a confidante and ally in Andy Warhol, who took Reed’s band the Velvet Underground under his wing, giving them a home at his Factory, an entourage of “superstar” fans and a dark, surreal aesthetic that struck a deep resonating chord for the music fans that would later develop the punk ethos. The famous saying goes that the first Velvet Underground album sold very few copies, but everyone that bought it, formed a band.

After the demise of the Velvet Underground, Reed continued to experiment, creating the proto-industrial record Metal Machine Music, penning probably the first Top 40 hit about transsexuals (“Walk on the Wild Side”) and becoming a major influence and star of the glam rock scene of the early 70s. Of course, by the mid-1970s punk was in full swing and Reed was regularly credited as one of the founders. His songs were covered by bands like Joy Division, The Modern Lovers, Slaughter and the Dogs and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, who all obviously owed a huge debt to Reed and the Velvet Underground.

Reed continued to make challenging music up until his death on Sunday, collaborating with Metallica and the Gorillaz, among others. Needless to say, the music world is a lot emptier without his presence and for this week’s Mid-Week Beat, I thought I’d highlight shows and musicians that owe a debt to Mr. Reed and the music he created. Thanks for everything Lou. We’ll miss you.
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Artist Ticket Picks: Experimental Music, An Illustrator’s Panel, A Rock Opera and more!

Welcome to this week’s Artist Ticket Picks! The Artist Ticket program gives our customers a way to donate to causes that we care about.

If you’re an event producer, you can allow your ticket buyers to purchase limited-edition tickets printed with original artwork in your event settings. The ticket buyer will pay a small, additional charge of $0.25 and receive a limited edition, collectible ticket imprinted with original artwork. The current charity of our choosing will receive 100% of the additional charge. Physical tickets must be enabled on the event.

If you’re a ticket buyer, you can check to see if the limited edition ticket is available to you at the beginning of the ticket checkout process or by visiting the Artist Ticket page. You receive a small piece of collectible art and support a valuable cause just by checking the box in the Artist Ticket widget when you’re purchasing your tickets!

See a full list of events carrying the tickets on the Artist Ticket page, as well as find out more about the beneficiary for the current run of Artist Tickets.

So, without further ado, here are this week’s Artist Ticket picks:

Thursday, October 24 Table and Chairs presents: Trip or Treat at Columbia City TheaterSeattle, Washington   Founded in 2011, Table & Chairs is an independent record label based in Seattle, Washington, collectively run by a dedicated group of active musicians and artists. In addition to promoting and releasing music, they produce concerts and organize educational outreach programs. Their purpose is to represent and unite artists and listeners who actively contribute to a forward-thinking community, wholly devoted to the advancement of New Music.

Table and Chairs is very excited to present an exciting Halloween-inspired show, which they are calling Apparitions. It will take place at Seattle’s historic Columbia City Theater  next Thursday.

Opening the show will be the brand new duo comprised of alto saxophonist Jacob Zimmerman and pianist Gus Carns. Performing all original music, the duo features a unique brand of rhythmically complex improvisations. Their music is restless yet relaxed; precise yet spacious; with chaotic musical structures navigated in a flowing, intuitive way.

Following will be the newest addition to the T&C family: Burn List, a new collaboration featuring trumpeter Cuong Vu, tenor saxophonist Greg Sinibaldi, keyboardist Aaron Otheim, and drummer Chris Icasiano. This performance will be a little sneak preview for their debut album, which will be released by T&C in the Winter of early 2014. Be on the lookout!

This fall concert will be especially fun because Table and Chairs is presenting a wonderful new Portland-based noise group Pinkish, which features Andrew Jones (Upright Bass), Ryan A. Miller (Electric Guitar, Electric 12-string Guitar), Kyle Shipp (Electric Guitar) and Grant Pierce (Drum set). Portland is pretty wonderful and has some amazing musicians, so T&C decided it would be a great opportunity to collaborate with Portland’s Creative Music Guild and have them send a band up here to throw down!

Finally, King Tears Bat Trip. Yeah. Did we mention that Ted Poor will be a special guest? Yeah.


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The Mid-Week Beat: 147 Years of the Musical!

This week on the Mid-Week Beat, we pay tribute to the art of musical theater because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a musical? Okay, maybe some of you don’t but even the most ardent detractors of the art form will admit a love for at least one musical, be it West Side Story or Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

We can trace the roots of “musical theater” back to ancient Greece, where music and dance was incorporated into stage comedies and tragedies, but the modern Western “musical” as we know them, gained prominence in the late 19th Century with the basic structural elements established by the works of Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain and by Harrigan and Hart in America. The first modern “musical,” which is generally defined as a theatrical work that is enhanced by adding dance and original music to help tell the story, was The Black Crook, which debuted in New York on September 2, 1866. The show was five and half hours long and ran for a record-breaking 474 performances.

That record was broken in the late 1800’s by a series of long-running, family-friendly comic opera hits by309px-Circa-1879-DOyly-Carte-HMS-Pinafore-from-Library-of-Congress2 Gilbert and Sullivan including 1878’s H.M.S. Pinafore and 1885’s The Mikado. Gilbert and Sullivan revolutionized musical theater by creating examples of how to better integrate music into theatrical pieces so that the lyrics and dialogue advance the story and make it more coherent. Their works would influence many composers of subsequent musicals by the likes of Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Oscar Hammerstein II and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

American composers like George and Ira Gershwin, Irivng Berlin and Rodgers and Hart would eventually take away Britain’s dominance in the musical theater world by replacing the operatic and theatrical styles of the 19th century with a modern approach more fitting to 20th century sensibilities. They began to incorporate popular musical styles like ragtime and jazz and, by the 1920s, the focus began to shift away from the plot and more towards star actors or actresses, big musical numbers and popular songs. Many of today’s “standards” were written during this time period and the careers of early Broadway legends like Fred Astaire were launched.
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