Shows: September to mid-May.

Posted in Music on May 15th, 2014 by byronkho

Since September, I’ve seen: Avicii, Above & Beyond, Alesso, Knife Party, Martin Solveig, Benny Benassi, Tiesto, David Guetta, Bassnectar, Madeon, Bingo Players, Sander van Doorn, Hardwell, Madeon, Queens of the Stone Age, Calvin Harris, Deadmaus, Empire of the Sun, Imagine Dragons, Wiz Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Public Enemy, Solange, ASAP Rocky, Nero, Wolfgang Gartner, Emeli Sande, Haim, Alunageorge, Rudimental, Jesse Rose, Mord Fustang, Baam Bada, the Meta, Umer Piracha, Kaskade, CHVRCHES, Pretty Lights, MGMT, Little Green Cars, Gareth Emery, Madeon, Ghost Beach, Robin Thicke, Vampire Weekend, Avett Brothers, Manufactured Superstars, Icona Pop, Sky Ferreira, the Knocks, Sirah, K Flay, Icona Pop, KT Tunstall, Brian Lopez, Atoms for Peace, Sebastian Ingrosso, St. Lucia, Two Door Cinema Club, Morning Parade, Biffy Clyro, Aijia, Clara C, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, David Ramirez, Ellie Holcomb, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rimbo Wong (the Curtis student I help sponsor!), Song Dogs, Jessie Ware, Mikky Ekko, Val de Val, Ross Bellenoit, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Mount Moriah, Pine Barons, Paramore, Metric, hellogoodbye, Matrimony, the Falls, Foxes, Night Panther, Ivan & Alyosha, the Wild Feathers, Tin Horses, the Wayside Shakeup, the Smith Westerns, Lucy Stone, Roscoe Bandana, Mo Lowda & the Humble, Ali Wadsworth, Brown Sugar, Former Belle, Zoe Keating, twentyonepilots, Switchfoot, New Politics, MS MR, Perseverance Jazz Band, A Great Big World, Secret Someones, Phosphorescent, Sea Wolf, West Philadelphia Orchestra, Honey Watts, Little Silver, Mesiko, Ellie Goulding, the Last Band in Illyria, Black Horse Motel, Spirit & Dust, Reed Turner Band, Conway, Dead Professional, Oldermost, Nicole Atkins, Arc Iris, Davey Horne, Okkervil River, Typhoon, London Grammar, HAERTS, Moon Taxi, Revivalists, Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society, Nickel Creek, Carsie Blanton, Eli Conley, the Gallerist, Secret Sisters, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Willie Watson (formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show), David Tanner & Honky Tonk-o-rama, Thelma and the Sleaze, River City Tanlines, Francesca Battistelli, Jim Ed Brown, Riders in the Sky, Connie Smith, Jeannie Seely, Larry Gatlin, Carson Peters, Charlie Daniels Band, Vince Moreno, JP Harris and the Tough Choices, Cooper and the Jam, The Cordovas, Steve Gorman and Audley Freed of the Black Crowes, Tennis, HAIM and Carrie Underwood.

In the next few months, I’ll (likely) be seeing: Foo Fighters, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys, Beck, the Lumineers, Band of Horses, Pretty Lights, Weezer, Broken Bells, Band of Horses, Young the Gian, Childish Gambino, Tegan and Sara, Big Gigantic, Girl Talk, Cage the Elephant, Portugal the Man, Grouplove, Local Natives, Ziggy Marley, Iron & Wine, Sleigh Bells, Jake Bugg, Amos Lee, Third Eye Blind, City and Colour, Chance the Rapper, Kaiser Chiefs, A-Trak, the Airborne Toxic Event, Phantogram, Washed Out, Tune-Yards, Walk Off the Earth, the White Panda, American Authors, Martin Garrix, Cash Cash, G-Eazy, A Great Big World, RAC, Lucius, Smallpools, Bleachers, the Mowglis, NoNoNo, Kodaline, White Denim, Asaf Avidan, Cherub, Sir Sly, Aer, Johnnyswim, Vic Mensa, San Fermin, Geographer, Courtney Barnett, the Colourist, Wild Cub, Dan Croll, Shakey Graves, Goldroom, Wild Child, Little Comets, Magic Man, Boy & Bear, Royal Teeth, the Ceremonies, Gregory Alan Isakov, Bad Things, Andrew Belle, Basic Vacation, Hunter Hunted, Misterwives, Vance Joy, X Ambassadors, the Unlikely Candidates, Bronze Radio Return, Little Daylight, Kongos, Saints of Valory, Holychild, Parade of Lights, Son Lux, Salva, Gemini Club, Step Rockets, the Griswolds, Sleeper Agent, John & Jacob, Pigpen Theatre Co, the Weeks, High Highs, Caroline Glaser, Lily Mae, Courrier, Cruiser, New Sweden, Mean Lady, Christian Porter, Stop Light Observations, Breach the Summit, F. Stokes, Nothing, the Tontons, DRGN KING, Cakes da Killa, Denitia and Sene, Charliered, Downtown Club, Mike Taylor, Weekend, Khari Mateen, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, the Head And The Heart, Bear Hands, Die Antwoord, First Aid Kit, Willy Mason, jj Grey & Mofro, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Last Chance, Diana Lawrence, PHOX, Trails & Ways, Flume, Janis Ian, Shemekia Copeland, Tempest, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Lone Bellow, Sarah Jarosz, Loudon Wainwright III, JohnnySwim, Rebirth Brass Band, Kwesi K, Hot Club Of Cowtown, Old Man Luedeke, Steep Canyon Rangers, Dhaka Braka, Natalie McMaster, the Oh Hellos and NEEDTOBREATHE.

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What’s all this about less female performers at mainstream music festivals?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25th, 2013 by byronkho

Why are there less female performers at major music festivals? Coachella this year offers up 90% male-fronted bands, while the next general music festival I’ll be going to – Firefly, in Delaware – will be offering up 75% male-fronted bands. Pitchfork has similar numbers. The next dance music festival I’m going to, EDC in NY, is even worse: 95% are male-fronted acts. I don’t necessarily have the most well thought-out position here, but I do tend to think that society reinforces most assumptions we have about women in music.

The kids dropping out of school and playing in bands, to Hollywood, are basically all dudes. Unless they’re making a movie about Joan Jett. There are tons more internationally famous male acts than there are female acts, and that includes both bands led by females and bands made up of mostly females. I bring up the distinction because rock, a genre that social scientists have found to appeal more to males over the last few decades, has a great number of female-led bands while there are almost no all-female rock bands. Why is that? Is that a reflection of the mostly male fanbase? Is that merely the label producers prejudices showing? Or is it that there are less female rock musicians, and less female rock musicians willing to band together in all-female groups? Trivia: the first all-female rock album on a major label came out in 1970. David Bowie was to later say of Fanny that “they were extraordinary: they wrote everything, they played like m**f**s, they were just colossal and wonderful…” There was a mystical fake all-girl band called the Carrie Nations in “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” a sexploitation movie written by Roger Ebert also in 1970. Between those bands and the Donnas, how many all-female rock groups are there?

Even when there are female-led rock bands, they still tend to appeal to more males than females. Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, Garbage, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc. Where you start to get the audience number differences are when the rock acts start to become more pop-py, reflecting the female lean toward pop and soul music instead of rock – thus, you have Paramore and many more screaming female fans than male ones. I like Paramore, personally, though I think the Donnas rock way harder. Keep in mind that sociological observations regarding gender preferences are more indicative of society’s motivations and prejudices, rather than comments on any one individual’s own preferences.

I don’t say that there aren’t a lot of female rock fans: there are a huge number out there, but %-wise, the statistics still fall to the guys. It’s a little different in EDM, however. EDC has three female acts, including Nervo, Rebecca and Fiona and La Roux. Just 3 out of 81? But the female fans that will show up will be legion; that weird non-representation of the female gender in the artists but over-representation in the fans has to have some interesting sociological and psychological reason behind it. I imagine it has something to do with the industry being a lot more misogynistic, and the music focusing a lot more on sexuality. Rock music tends to be more aggressive and testosterone-filled, while dance music focuses more on movement and mass euphoria. That would tend to improve or reinforce female positive perception of their sexuality, and thus increase the number of female fans. Conversely, that pressure must be killer on the female DJs, who have to be hot sexual items while trying to spin in the DJ booth – not easy. Niki Belucci certainly got experience dealing with that from way before she stepped into a DJ booth. How about other genres? Well, I can’t see any dearth of female musicians or fans in pop, even though many of the greatest bands are never heard on top 40 stations… and so perhaps lack the numbers. Having 10k fans scattered around the world is not as fun as having 1 million fans in one city alone. Soul and R&B? Plenty of female artists that are amazing. They have a hard time making it big in rap and hiphop, as society – like in rock – seems to call those genres a man’s game… but have they heard Jean Grae or k.flay before? I have. Live too.

From personal experience, I know there are a ton of female musicians out there that the festivals could have pulled in… and some have, so plainly it’s just a few festivals that are, er, misbehaving. While I can’t get a major festival to be more fair about gender representation (or get people to decide to like more female bands), I can always adjust my own concertgoing and attitudes. Thankfully, I don’t need to: I see a lot of female artists every year! Not counting the major orchestral and opera concerts and musicals I have seen this year, I’ve seen 15 female or female-led bands out of 40 for a nice respectable 37.5%. Tomorrow, I’m seeing Bess Rogers, Lelia Broussard and Kristen Ford. I’m seeing Beth Hart and Paramore and those female DJs at EDC and Jess Klein. Then The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ellie Goulding, Azealia Banks, Matt & Kim, Alabama Shakes, The Joy Formidable, Krewella, Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra, LP, Dragonette, Haim, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, Kopecky Family Band, Selah Sue, Blondfire, Chvrches, Delta Rae, Imaginary Cities, Trails and Ways, Icona Pop, Erykah Badu, Feist, Polica, Best Coast, Beach House, She & Him, Camera Obscura, Sandi Thom, Tegan and Sara, Miranda Lambert, Solange, Beyonce, Emeli Sande and Alunageorge during the summer. That’s a lot of women.

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