Thursday, October 28, 2004

Red Light Music

"Is This a Rock Band?"
Neumo's, Seattle, WA

Weirdest crowd ever at Neumo's. This is a CD release and video shoot for Red Light Music - a virtually unknown band with marketing dollars and a bit of star power behind them. See, lead singer Peter Klett used to be in Candlebox. So there's that.

The audience consists of a few types of people: (1) legitimate fans who have spent the last week camped out on Red Light's message board hyping the show; (2) industry types who would like very much to have a hit on their hands, thank you; (3) beautiful people who were recruited on the street to attend the show and look pretty for the video shoot; (4) members of the random and great unwashed of Capitol Hill.

A boy near me asks if I know the band's music or what they sound like. Two Norwegian women offered him a free ticket on the street. As we're talking, a band of Amazonian model girls step in front of us, and we wonder: why are you here? what drugs make you that tall? where are your coats? Then I look around and notice a spate of beautiful girls, 90% of whom I guarantee do not know the band or this club. (Later I will talk to Chelsea who works the door - she agrees that the crowd is odd and suggests that a whole swath of them took a wrong turn in Pioneer Square and ended up here.)

The goal for the night is clearly to pack the club so the resulting video makes the band look super famous. And they do have famous accoutrements with them: a guitar tech, a well-stocked merch table run by a guy in pleather pants who air-drums along with the music, men over 40 who look like they have a vested interest in the success of the band, and well-applied hair product.

I can't help but look around at the few people who appear to be Neumo's regulars and wonder - really? Do we like these guys? Are they doing something special and interesting right now? Because I'll tell you I just can't hear it if they are.

It's a bit funny to watch the above-mentioned audience segments merge with each other. I see the over 40 men oogling the beautiful girls as they dance for the camera. The great unwashed come into the room hollering joyfully about getting a free ticket to the show, annoying the entourage. But what is the most wonderful, as always, is to see the real hard-core fans jammed up against the stage singing along, oblivious to their part in this marketing machine.


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