Monday, August 12, 2013

Thursday @ The FMQB Triple A Conference

Fun posting about the Triple A Conference - helps me remember the experience better!
After my marathon Wednesday, Thursday was a little more civilized. Missed a breakfast with Brett Dennen, unfortunately - didn't see the email telling me about it until it was too late. Alas. Tora Fisher was the first performer of the day, opening the morning panel. Lunch then brought us 2/3rds of the Dixie Chicks - Courtyard Hounds - in a solid set, and fiery redheaded singer Dominique Pruitt, who scored a sentimental point with me when she introduced the song she's pushing at radio as one her dad wrote years ago when he was wooing her mom - "To Win Your Love." Awww.
The afternoon brought us performances by Blake Morgan before the pm panel, followed by party tunes from Andrew Ripp and a solo set by James Bay at the afternoon Cocktail Party. After cocktails came a big dinner at Brasserie Ten Ten hosted by M:M Music, an annual tradition. Met promoter and manager Chuck Morris, had a great chat with him. Many artists attended as well. I sat across from Dominique Pruitt, who turned out to be delightful company... "delightful" just seems like the right word for her ;)
The guys from Saints of Valory showed up at the dinner - always great to see them! They were pumped up for their big performance on Friday night at The Fox - their first chance to play in front of a whole bunch of radio folks. They got to talking about what tunes they wanted to include in their set - definitely fun to be in on their plans for the next night! For now, though, it was schmoozing time - after a bit everyone was in full on mingle-mode as the artists in the room drifted from group to group meeting radio folk - it was a good time!
After the dinner it was back up to The Fox Theater and the outdoor stage. Due to dinner conversations I missed the set inside by Shannon Labrie, arriving as HAERTS were starting their set on the outdoor stage. HAERTS had a rhythmic sound with haunting keyboards and compelling vocals that drew me into their set - really enjoyed it - not having known what to expect it was nice to find they were so captivating. Back inside The Fox the Irish band Little Green Cars came on next. Vocalist Faye O'Rourke had great presence - the crowd were making comparisons to Chrissy Hynde and P.J. Harvey. She has great potential if their set on Thursday night was any indication. Weighty, dramatic... mesmerizing stuff live.
Busted out of the Fox and heard Frank Turner starting up on the outdoor stage before I got there. Met Frank last Friday when he'd played Higher Ground. Loved that show! Was psyched for another set from him and his band. Was very surprised when I turned the corner and found the crowd in front of the outdoor stage had in exploded in numbers since I'd seen HAERTS - big crowd! Turner did a great set - had the audience in the palm of his hand. It was a bit brief - those outdoor sets only went for about a half-hour.
The Head and the Heart were up next inside, playing new tunes from their upcoming album Let's Be Still and favorites from their first release. Heard some of their set - the new stuff sounds "bigger" - tighter, too - but also got pulled into the front room to say hello to Frank, in from his set outside. Once you hit that room, it can be hard to get back into the main hall - people want to buy you drinks, chat you up, introduce you to more people...
Then Phoenix came on. Seemed like everyone was drawn into the main hall for their set. They've become serious showmen, a solid live act. Intense, mostly strobing white stage lighting pulsed with the music, including a bank of strobes across the front of the stage flashing out which got to be a bit much at times. Happened to bump into one of the right people and got to head up to the VIP balcony for some of the set. There's something really cool about watching a room full of concert-goers bouncing in rhythm with the band from above...
Made it to the "Late Night Lounge" after the Phoenix set ended. During his set, Diego Garcia at times seemed a sort of Latin Bryan Ferry, but his material wasn't really connecting with me. Might have been getting too tired. When Valerie June came on next I just didn't "get" her - Zeb thought she was great. Maybe there isa limit to how much you can absorb in one day, don't know. After two songs, I threw in the musical towel and headed for bed. There was another day full of music ahead!