Tickets on sale NOW!!!

Ben Wallace, a student at Pfeiffer University, has worked for his local church every Sunday and saved up enough money to go to a concert, however, he won’t be spending his paycheck seeing Christina Aguilera and Chingy, or Rod Stewart (reserved seats cost $30-$77 and $30-$100). He said, “I just don’t think it’s worth wasting so much money on just one concert, when that money can be used on other things, like buying several CDs.”

Wallace’s thoughts represent most college students’ views on concert admission: over priced. It’s tough for them to afford seeing their favorite artists live. While alumni are going to classes and with few working odd jobs to pay for clothes, food and other accessories, it makes life difficult to support their beloved bands. In other words, they live on a tight budget. Bob Grossweiner, a concert industry analyst told MSNBC, “If concert tickets don’t sell, it’s because people don’t have the money.” Maybe that’s why MTV throws their annual Campus Invasion Tour.

This leaves a very important question up in the air: how much is too much? There are a lot of factors that play into this, such as the venue, the performer and the expenses. Knowing that college students have insufficient funds, do record labels actually think they will spend anything above 50 bucks to see a mega star with maybe one act? Yea right. Most of these over priced concerts feature singers like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Ricky Martin. For a good seat at one of their concerts, it would cost at least 60 dollars. Most students won’t be able to afford that, but families with trendy little girls who are in love with Ricky (or want to portray Britney) will pay any fee to see him (her). They will even buy merchandise ranging from posters to lunchboxes. It’s like the industry targets children. Then, you have groups like Kiss and Aerosmith (who toured together last year). At a show in Indianapolis, a decent seat cost $100. While these artists have influenced the college market, most of these high priced tickets will be paid by the ones who could afford them, such as their fans from the 70’s and 80’s who have a good secure job, working as powerful money hungry bosses in their big conglomerates. It appears that college students can support the bands and buy their albums, but aren’t rich enough to see them live. But then again, those artists don’t hold much of the school circuit’s interest.

In a society where music is evolving, most of today’s successful bands that are dominating the college market have reasonable ticket prices. Look at pop-punk groups New Found Glory, Taking Back Sunday and Yellowcard: those developing talents will be playing with 50 other bands for the 2004 Vans Warped Tour. Depending which region of the country you see the festival, tickets cost between $26-$36. Projekt Revolution, a tour founded by Linkin Park, is an extravaganza thrown to display music from various genres. That tour will feature metal band, KoRn, rapper extraordinaire, Snoop Dogg, punk bands the Used and Less Than Jake, and will be headlined by the cross-genre founders, Linkin Park. Tickets for this event cost $50. Blink 182 is currently touring with Taking Back Sunday and rap-metal pioneers, Cypress Hill and the general admission price is $35. Even a ticket at the Headbanger’s Ball Tour were appropriately priced at $20, and showcased Damage Plan, Hatebreed, Drowning Pool and Unearth. Even if someone were attending a local show with unsigned talent, there would be multiple artists performing for cheap. It is very possible to go to a concert and not be robbed.

The so-called reason why tickets are expensive is due to corporate sponsors, but is that really the case? The Vans Warped Tour is funded by Subway, Kraft EZ Mac, Vans and Hurley (to name a few) and the ticket price is between $26-$36. Playstation, Ibanez, Miller Lite, Hot Topic, FYE and YJ Stinger support Ozzfest 2004 and general admission is $35. The theory that corporate sponsors raise ticket prices seems like a pile of garbage. Maybe the reason why some prices are so high is because mega stars want as much money as they can get. Maybe they capitalize on the fans that made them, supported them and would do anything for them. It seems they are monsters trying to feed on their prey, and in this case, it would be their loyal followers.

Whether the real reason as to why pricey concert admission will ever be revealed, the truth of the matter is students aren’t buying it. I can just hear somebody scream at those mega stars, “Listen! I can’t pay 60 bucks to see you! I am a big fan of yours and I buy all your albums, so you better lower your ticket price now!” And if they don’t, then maybe they will become broke and realize that the artists who settle for less (for the sake of college students) are the ones who are truly rich.

(Like it? Hate it? Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment. Journal Updated.)

Enjoy The Silence 2

Shortly following my last article for BP I already had an idea for the next one which I thought would make for interesting reading, something very different from the gloomy subject of my first piece. However recent events surrounding the Iraqi occupancy have again opened bitter wounds for me and others, namely the Nick Berg incident amongst others and I feel a strong obligation to write about this subject once more.

Over the past few weeks a number of terrible photos have been released to the media showing US soldiers torturing, belittling and intimidating their Iraqi prisoners at Abu Grahib prison. The timing for this of course could not of been worse as the co-ilition finds itself losing more soldiers during the handover of the country than during the actual invasion. I think it is important to make the point that the action of these people does not reflect on the overall stance of Westerners towards the Arab people nor that of any democray in it’s simplicity, but those responsible for the torture are no better than the people we fought to remove from Iraq and should be punished equally for their crime, but they’ll probably just get thrown out of the army.

Shortly after the shock of these US photos being released a British newspaper (The Daily Mirror) released similar pictures of UK soldiers performing such acts upon their captives, namely parading them around naked, urinating on them and assaulting them with butt of their rifles. This of course caused mass contraversy back here in England and many were calling for a full withdrawl from Iraq as the mission of a peaceful handover had become unattainable. It later turned out that these pictures were staged and fake, the editor of that newspaper was duely shown the door. But it would appear that someone has purposefully tried to sabotage our mission in Iraq therefore putting thousands of co-ilition soldiers in grave danger. But why would someone want to do this?

We are only looking at this situation from a western point of view at this time, imagine what is like to see these pictures on TV if you are an Iraqi! Try to imagine a huge, technically advanced army bulldozing it’s way into your city, seemingly in peace and then seeing the contrary that has recently been revealed. You would no doubt feel terrible angst and hate for those people. Unfortunately I feel that Nick Berg is a direct consequence of these revealations. Now regardless of what you think of Nick Berg even being in Iraq or even worse why he stayed after being advised to leave no man deserves what he suffered. I feel relunctant to reveal this but having heard of this story I simply had to see it to believe it. I went on Kazaa and found it pretty quickly and watched. I wish I hadn’t.

I will not go into the gory details of what is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen but I will tell you how I felt when I saw it, apart from being physically sick! I felt angst and I felt hate. I wanted to take retribution. Even though I have few connections to America apart from my BP buddies and I have never met nor heard of Nick Berg previously, I wanted to avenge him. I have only felt this way once before in my life, that was at the time of 9/11. In my place of work I have a very significant number of Asian colleagues, most from Pakistan whom I generally get on with very well but during the aftermath of 9/11 I felt very bitter towards.

Even though I knew deep down these guys are just normal people and had nothing to with it I still felt resentment and anger towards these people. Unfortunatley there even was a small minority whom I worked with who felt 9/11 was a good thing! I simply cannot comprehend that opinion. Going to work each day for many months had a horrible tension in the air that I wish not to relive. The reason I tell you of this experience is very important because having watched Nick Berg die and having repressed emotions resurface it reminded me of a story that came out in the UK shortly after 9/11, a story of someone who felt as I did but took it too far.

After 9/11, the UK (I am sure this was the case in the US also) there were a number of unprovoked revenge attacks on Asians in our communities. One person however that was caught up in this was a man who had no prior violent related convictions and had a family. A normal guy you might say. However having watched 9/11 on TV he felt the same as me, he felt overwhelming angst and hate towards the Asian community at large. Within a few days his rage had consumed him and he went out one night, indiscriminately targetted two young Asian men and beat them to death.

Naturally he was jailed for life, but he was asked why he did what he did, he was asked why did he target two people he knew had nothing to do with 9/11. Now I cannot quote this piece word for word but his response was something like the following : –

“I’m sorry for what I have done, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not a violent nor am I a racist. I knew these people had nothing to do with the 9/11 catastrophy but after I saw what happened, I wanted all of these people to die. I wanted to make the world a better place, and I thought it would be without these people in it”.

Now I know right now a lot of you who are reading this will think “What a load of bullshit!”. I am sorry to say, I do not agree with you. To be so bold I would even say he has a point. Now I am not saying all Asians should be killed, nor I that wish to kill any of them myself, and I am not saying what he did was right or the things he said were 100% accurate, but I do totally relate to this person’s emotions. When I watched 9/11 unfold as it happened and then watched Nick Berg die I felt exactly the same way he did, I would just never do what he did because that is wrong.

The point of this entire article is to try and open everyone’s eyes to the pain and the extreme anger that must be felt by those who live in Iraq, not just how we feel when we hear of another co-ilition soldier being shot, or unfortunately circumstances such as those that ended the life of Nick Berg. Everything that we think and feel regarding this occupation must be 10 fold for the men and women of Iraq.

I would just like to close this article with a brief note to the figureheads behind our occupation in Iraq. It is a good thing that we rid Iraq of Saddam Hussain, but we cannot force Democracy onto a country that has no concept of it. Democracy is a choice not a prerequisite to live in the modern world, and I feel that Bush and Blair are certainly not practicing what they preach with their actions in Iraq.

I hope that you have found this interesting as it is an important topic for everyone.
MVD

Wasted Words 27

Recommended download: MadballHold It Down

Hey there peoples. Welcome to another edition of Wasted Words. Thank you, as always, for checking in and giving it a read. I picked up the new Killswitch Engage album, The End of Heartache. Great album, nothing more can be said, other than go out and buy it. Now. This week I’m doing a preview of a few music fests and tours taking place this summer. Enjoy.

The Projekt Revolution Tour is looking really nice for this summer. Funeral For A Friend have just been added to the lineup, which now features Linkin Park, The Used, Snoop Dogg, Korn, and Less Than Jake. Certainly an odd mix of acts, but I’m sure it will be a great show. The only unfortunate thing is that I won’t be attending. For those of you who are, you can find tour dates here.

In other Funeral For A Friend news, they will be releasing their debut full-lenght album, Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation, on July 13. If their EP, Seven Ways To Scream Your Name, is any indication, then this album promises to be great.

Congratulations to Numb for scoring an opening spot for Dope, in Davenport, IA on May 22. I’m really proud of these guys, and I’m glad they’re getting a bit of recognition. They definitely deserve it. If you’re in the area and would like to check out the show, head over to the Numb band web site for details.

The birds are singing, the sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and the girls are wearing considerably less clothing. That could only mean one thing, Summertime is upon us which also brings about the summer tours and festivals. A lot of people say there is a lot of sound lost in live outdoor shows. I don’t really notice that much of a difference. Or it could be that I’m preoccupied by the girls in the bikini tops, just hoping they will crowd surf and lose their top. Regardless, here’s a preview of some of the major tours and festivals occurring this summer.

Ozzfest 2004
I had the pleasure of attending last years Ozzfest. I had a good time, and saw some great bands. Seeing Ozzy was just awesome. Looking over the lineup of this years bands, I have decided not to attend. The main stage doesn’t even manage to catch my attention, with the exception of Ozzy and Black Label Society. But the second stage, holy shit! This is where the action is at. Not only are you not restricted to seats like at the main stage, but there’s some great bands! Hatebreed, Atreyu, Bleeding Through, Every Time I Die, Throwdown, Slipknot, and more! The second stage alone is worth the price of admission, but there is no way I would go to Ozzfest and not watch Ozzy perform at the end of the night. That said, there’s no way I would go to Ozzfest and sit through five other bands I couldn’t care less about just to see Ozzy perform. Maybe next year.

Warped Tour
This is one show I will not be missing this summer. I attended Warped Tour for the first time last year, and I had a hell of a time. I saw many great bands, chilled with some cool ass folks, and I met Lars from Rancid and got his autograph. I also got a hell of a sunburn on the top of my head, but it was well worth it. This years Warped Tour looks to have a great lineup as well. With bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Rise Against, Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, and many, many more, Warped cannot be beat. The price for tickets is damn cheap too, usually about $25.00. There’s always some great merchandise booths, as well as informative booths like PETA and Punk Voter.

Lollapalooza
I’ve never been to Lollapalooza, nor do I ever plan on attending. Usually out of every lineup, there’s maybe one band that interests me. This years lineup is no different, as the only band that would slightly keep me interested is Sparta. The rest I just don’t care for. Some of the bands who are on the tour this year include The Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. You can view a full list of bands on the tour web site.

Hellfest
I would love to go to this show, and someday I will make the trip. Unfortunately that won’t be this year. This is the ultimate show, and features many wonderful acts ranging in genres from punk, to emo, to hardcore. It features 135 total bands, including The Bled, The Ataris, Mest, Shadows Fall, Death By Stereo, and more, all divided between three stages. There will also be a body-art convention as well as two skateparks featuring pro skate demos. If you’re in the New Jersey area, you should do yourself a favor and check this show out. For those of us who can’t make the trip to the three day event, there will be a DVD released this fall.

If you do plan on attending any of these outdoor summer festivals, take my advice (I learned from personal experience) and remember three things. Wear lots of sunscreen. Drink LOTS of water. Have a hell of a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

The Gut: The Hefty Lefty

This year the New York Giants got a great college quarterback. He broke all sorts of records and has cannon for an arm. He was well respected by his teammates and will be missed at the University of Kentucky. Now I know right now you are laughing at the “sports writer” who doesn’t know that Eli Manning came from Ole Miss but I’m not talking about Eli. The day after the draft the Giants signed Kentucky stand out Jared Lorenzen.

The Lorenzen signing went un-detected by most but maybe one of the more important one in years to come. It is said that the quarterback is the most important position in the NFL and some argue that the backup QB is second. Lorenzen is not your typical signal caller; he stands 6’5” and weighs anywhere between 270 and 300 pounds. Now don’t let his weight fool you, he has a rocket arm that once bombed a ball 82 yards.

In his senior season he threw for 21 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. Going into his senior season his decision making was a huge question mark for Jared but with only 8 picks in his senior year he once again proved people wrong. He did such a good job of it that the Giants snatched him up as soon as the draft was over.

Many high level college programs tried to recruit Jared to their colleges. The people at Ohio State, Michigan, and USC believed in his athletic ability, they didn’t however believe a 300 pound kid could play QB. All of these schools offered him scholarships but at different positions.

Those of you who really know me know that this is a huge deal for me. Jared has become somewhat of a personal hero of mine due to similarities in physical stature and the mindset of proving all doubters wrong. When the draft started I told myself that no matter where he went I would quietly cheer for whatever team he ended up on, even if it were (gasp) the Eagles. I told myself that I would go to NFL.com and order a custom made Lorenzen jersey and wear it proudly. In an off-season that has made me question what direction my Giants are going I’m glad that I really will be able to wear the jersey proudly.

Put the show in the DVD Player, honey!

Jeff Slagle, a student at California State University, loves having a good time with his friends, however, he has been a victim to the fastest growing phenomenon: purchasing TV Shows on DVDs. Slagle recalled the time when he first got involved in this craze. “I was at the Frat House and suddenly, we were watching Family Guy. I remember saying, ‘I want to own that,’ so the next week, I bought it.” Not only does Slagle own three seasons of Family Guy, but he also owns every season of The Simpsons, and plans on buying In Living Color and Best of SNL.

The releasing of new and old television shows on DVD box sets has quickly become the biggest grossing product in the home video industry. This allows consumers the chance to watch their favorite sitcoms all the time at any time. This even permits the TV fan to see television shows that are no longer on the air.

Slagle isn’t the only person who purchases older TV Shows on DVDs. Nina Lutwick, a student at Clark University, owns an array of them, such as the first two seasons of Saved By The Bell, South Park and Sex in the City. She is looking add more to her collection. “I get a kick out of watching shows that I love so much and it’s nice to have them at your fingertips,” Lutwick said, “I really enjoy the shows and I will never be able to see them on TV again.” Daniel Dziomba, a senior at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, owns every season of South Park, Futurama and Kids in the Hall. He echoed the point that Lutwick made. “I have been a real big fan of Futurama and Kids in the Hall, but both shows have been taken off of TV when they used to be run in syndication,” Dziomba ricocheted. He also stressed another concept. He revealed, “I have been a fan of South Park for quite some time and they (Comedy Central) rarely re-air the episodes from some of the earlier seasons and these episodes were some of their best.”

There are a couple of factors as to why TV Shows on DVDs have become the hottest commodity, but Judith McCourt, a Research Director for Video Store Magazine, summed it all up in a few sentences. She talked to Greg Hernandez of the Los Angeles Daily News about the trend earlier this year. “The Simpsons is something that is on national television, you can record that,” she said. “But the consumer is seeing an added value in DVD because they can just watch it on their own terms and there is lots of supplemental material that rounds out the viewing experiences.”

That marketing concept makes TV Shows on DVDs a booming market. John Maynard of the Washington Post wrote, “According to the trade magazine, Video Business, TV titles generated approximately $1.5 billion in sales in 2003, up $610 million from 2002. In addition, the trade newsletter DVD Release Report calculated that studios released 527 TV titles in 2003, nearly double the number released the previous year.”

It seems pretty clear that the success of TV Shows on DVDs will keep rising. Stores are becoming stocked with these box sets, including Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart. With the home video industry growing at a rapid pace, one could expect their favorite older or newer television shows to be on shelves relatively soon. This should please a lot of people including Slagle, Lutwick and Dziomba.

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