Listening for Neon Reverb’s lineup
Fri, Jan 29, 2010 (3:56 p.m.)
Photo: Laura Davis
Instead of a rowdy, couple-of-drinks-down-the-hatch crowd greeting your ears with shouts and party banter at the Bunkhouse on Wednesday, there were a few local musicians and members of the press lined up around the bar starring intently at a projection screen on the wall.
In places of beer bottles they grasped pencils, hovering over custom ballots made specifically for the occasion — the first installment of Neon Reverb’s listening parties.
As the wall projection switched from one band’s MySpace page to another, tallies were marked, comments scribbled and the names of the next featured artist were announced from a microphone in the back of the bar by James Woodbridge, one of Neon Reverb’s founding organizers.
The idea behind the listening party was that festival-goers could have a say in which out-of-town bands get approved, or at least considered, for the fourth installment of the Downtown music festival in March. The names on the ballot included groups that had personally contacted the Reverb crew asking to play, and some bigger names, such as Sea Wolf and The Apples in Stereo, who Woodbridge and friends hope to bring out.
- Bar Guide
- Bunkhouse Saloon
While serious consideration was taken in the beginning, halfway down the list attention spans began to wander. The thoughtful commentary turned to smiley or frowny faces, and the scheduled live act for the night,Pet Tigers, were ready to take the stage before the already intimate audience began to dwindle. The ballot casting got cut short, and rumors of a to-be-continued second listening party the following week circulated.
Whether the votes that did get cast will have a legitimate affect on the festival lineup remains to be seen, and whether the anonymous voting will be continued next week is up in the air. However, an excuse to gather and mingle with fellow music lovers is always appreciated - even if darkening the “Yes” circle for Sea Wolf won’t actually convince Phoenix’s opening act to stomach a pay cut and play at the Bunkhouse next time they’re in town.