Saw Mr. Little Jeans at Rickshaw Stop last night. She was adorable, and the set was pretty fun. But the night ended up being about a lot more than Scandinavian pop music (won’t hear me saying that too often), and the clear, black skies over Hayes Valley were humming long after the monitors got unplugged.
Truthfully, I’m in too optimistic a mood to complain about anything, but I’m also nursing a brutal hangover, so channeling that irritation into a mini-rant seems appropriate.
So setting aside how fantastic my Thursday night was, let me instead talk about how shitty it is to still be dealing with scenester scalpers.
I’ve been going to shows for a long time. A long time. And, of course, I’ve had to deal with plenty of sold-out issues: found out too late; didn’t have my act together; no money at the right time, etc. And after paying way too much for a pair of tickets to see The White Stripes at The Warfield in 2003, I vowed to never again overpay for a show.
(I haven’t actually been able to keep that promise to myself. Over the last decade-plus I’ve had to give in on occasion, but I’ve never really felt good about it.)
This isn’t about the ticket brokers, the companies that buy up blocks of seats to the bigger venues and then flip them for a profit. These aren’t real humans with emotions and feelings taking advantage of fellow fans. It’d be like getting mad at McDonald’s for making people fat. I don’t eat at McDonald’s. I don’t go to a show at The Fillmore or The Fox unless I have time to walk up to the box office and get my tickets in person. Boycotts may not bring a halt to the corporate juggernaut, but they make you feel pretty healthy.
No, this is about the cool kids and the music bloggers who buy up the maximum number of tickets to buzzed-about club shows and then throw them online “to make a few bucks.” I’ve even seen Craigslist posts admitting to such, claiming starving student status or somesuch bullshit. Doesn’t make it any better…
How do you think the bands feel about this? Answer: they think you suck. Instead of making sure everyone who wants to attend the show gets a decent chance to buy a ticket, you’ve created roadblocks with the sole intention of profiting on the artist’s creativity. So don’t hype up a band in one breath, and then give them the middle-finger in the next by using them to make some cash.
When I first saw Mr. Little Jeans was playing a Popscene show, it was already too late. Sold out. So I posted a woe-is-me tickets-wanted ad to Craigslist offering to pay up to 20 bucks for twelve-dollar tickets.
I got one response from someone “just pointing out” that there were six tickets available on StubHub. How convenient! And they were only $66 apiece. A few days later the Craiglist posts started popping up: “extra” tickets all in the neighborhood of forty bones. Fuck it. I’m not going. I hope you all have a terrible time.
As luck would have it, of course, WillCall chimed an alert on my phone on Tuesday that it had some tickets available. I immediately bought two — and just two — and didn’t even have to pay service charges. See, kids? That’s how you make money plugging into the live music scene. Develop a useful app. Helping people helping music and making the world a better place.
And my Thursday night was glorious as a result. My head is still humming, and it’s not just from the hangover.