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RadarRoom: Artists & Venues

Welcome to the Radar Room – a spot on the blog where we share artists and performances that have our attention. In this installment we connect with Vicki Infinito, Director of Programming about the connections she makes between artists and venues.

As I sat down to write this post about the music I have been listening to recently, it made me start thinking about how many shows I’ve been to and how many different venues across this country I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. I’ve lived in a few cities/towns and am fortunate that I travel to conferences in cities like New York and Nashville for work. At this point, I have been to more venues than I can even remember. I’ve been a bit nostalgic for venues recently and the impact they have had on my life and ultimately my career. Before I even knew I wanted to work in the Entertainment industry or at a venue, I had already spent countless hours standing on packed floors listening to bands or sitting in a hushed theatre watching Broadway shows. I remember the very first Broadway show I saw at the Winter Garden Theatre in NYC, sometime in the late 80’s (yes, it was CATS) and the very first time my Mom let my friend and I take a road trip to Madison Square Garden to see R.E.M. on the Monster tour in 1995.

I have seen shows in historic venues that were built in the early 1900’s and in newer ones built in the 2000’s and each one of them holds a presence and the weight of all the Artists that have graced their stages and all the people that have walked through their doors. Venues are a special place, a place of belonging, a place where you can lose yourself in a song or a play and come out the other side changed. Unfortunately, right now so many of these venues are sitting dark waiting for the moment they can reopen and many of them may not be able to. With little to no income many venues across the country are being forced to lay off or furlough their staff, and with no idea when they will be able to fully present shows again some are being faced with the unthinkable notion of permanently closing their doors. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) along with the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and countless other industry organizations have been lobbying Congress for the SaveOurStages Act which has now been included into the updated HEROES Act in the House of Representatives. This Act, should it pass, will give a lifeline to countless venues ensuring they will still be around in the future. Everyone’s support is critical in this moment and if I could ask one thing of our patrons: it is that you would show your support to Congress for these Acts by contacting your Representatives. DO SO HERE!

OK, now onto the music part of this post and why you are probably really here.

I usually get stuck on one genre or another for a time and it seems to change a bit with the season. Recently, however, I’ve been listening to some Artists that I wanted to revisit in one way or another.

Valerie June

I’ve only seen her live once at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle. I had never heard of her before and a good friend brought me to the show and I was so unbelievably happy I went with her. Something about her music is like a warm hug to me, it is a beautiful mix of folk, blues, bluegrass and gospel. I’ve been revisiting her 2017 album The Order of Time recently and every time I listen to it I find more things I love about it. Her 2013 album is wonderful as well and if you haven’t discovered her yet, I highly encourage a listen.

The Walkmen / Hamilton Leithauser

This one takes me way back to 2004 with The Walkmen’s Bows + Arrows album which is still one of my favorite albums to present with Hamitlon Leithauser’s solo album the Loves of Your Life which was released this year. I’m pretty sure the first time I saw The Walkmen was at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in 2002 or 2003, I’ve seen them a number of times in LA and in Seattle and every time was spectacular. They are a band who always gave it their all on stage. I was in NYC in January and tried to see Hamilton Leithauser at the Cafe Carlyle, unfortunately it was all sold out by the time I saw the shows were happening, hopefully there will be a next time. The Walkmen is that perfect early 2000’s indie rock that needs to be played loudly, while Leithauser’s solo album is a more mellow, grown-up version but still has a rawness that is what made The Walkmen such a great band.

Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T-Rex

Marc Bolan died in a car crash in 1977, which was before I was born, so I never would have been able to see T-Rex live. However the music has been something I’ve listened to since I really started listening to music on my own. This album was just released on September 7, 2020 and it is a beautiful tribute to Marc Bolan by some amazing musicians. I must say, I am pretty much in love with Nick Cave’s rendition of Cosmic Dancer, which is beautiful and haunting in a way only Nick Cave can achieve. I’ve only seen Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds once at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle and it was an amazing experience and one of the most memorable live shows I’ve been to. I was working for Seattle Theatre Group at the time (they own and operate the Paramount Theatre) and had to be there early as Nick Cave and Warren Ellis were taking time to do an open sound check with about 20 music students. Watching the two of them interact and take time from their day to talk to students about music, music theory, composition, touring and anything else they asked was truly a special moment, they stayed and talked to the students for at least an hour.