I want to be a #JLCReviewer on Feb 20th for Simple Plan (and guests)

1st – I apologize for the lack of blogging as of late, the new job has been keeping me slightly busy and my personal blogging has taken a back seat.

2nd – I know that this is a wee bit early, but I am passionate about being the #JLCreviewer for the Simple Plan concert on Feb 20th, so I thought I would start now. Well actually I started with a tweet last week.

2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Simple Plan and I’ve been a fan for all 12 years.

I remember when “I’m Just a Kid” came out. I fell in love with their sound and their lyrics. I am a HUGE fan of Canadian music, so when I find a Canadian band I love, I cling to them. The majority of the concerts that I have been to have had Canadian Acts headlining or, in the case of Simple Plan in the early years, opening.

Simple Plans’ first album “No Pads, No Helmets … Just Balls” live in my my CD player (yes in 2002 we used CD players and discman’s) and was on constant repeat. Simple Plans’ albums for me are albums that I love every track. I of course was a huge fan of the released tracks “I’m Just a Kid”, “Addicted”, “I’d Do Anything” and of course “Perfect”.

In the summer of 2003, less than a year after the JLC opened, the JLC hosted Labatt’s hometown bash. My sister bought me two tickets for my birthday and I went to the concert with my best friend from high school, along with my sister and her now husband who had also got a pair of tickets. Simple Plan was an opening act for this show. They were still fairly new on the scene and a lot of the crowd was at the show to see Nickleback and Korn. I was up singing along to every single song. My sister, through a texting contest, won wrist bands to go into a VIP backstage area. As I was a HUGE fan of all of the acts at the Hometown bash and the tickets were a birthday present, my sister gave me and my best friend the wrist bands to go backstage. While backstage my best friend and I met Pierre and Chuck, who were gracious enough to talk to us, sign my VIP badge and my best friend’s bra. They were the only members of the bands that we were lucky enough to meet back stage and that memory has stuck with me. I still have the VIP badge with their autographs.

At the end of the end of the show, I started a tradition that I tend to follow when I attend a concert. I buy a piece of memorabilia. From this show I bought a Simple Plan Hat (which I may post a picture of in a later blog, or twitter). That night after the concert my best friend and I went out to a bar with my sister and brother-in-law and we wore our Simple Plan hats proudly into Molly Blooms.

In second year university, I was lucky enough to see Simple Plan for a second time. A friend of mine from school had got a group of us tickets for the Kissmas Bash at the HSBC centre in Buffalo. Simple Plan only played a couple of songs, mostly holiday and a couple of hits, but I was a proud Canadian screaming my head off for the somewhat unknown Canadian act in the American Arena. I had many people looking at my oddly for knowing every word and screaming so loudly for an act that they did not really know.

In my third year at Brock, Simple Plan released “Still Not Getting Any” which became my go to album to get me through the hardest year of my life. In third year I was a Don (RA) in residence, but I was going through a difficult time personally. Shortly before I left for school my grandpa was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. I was incredibly close with my Grandpa, he was one of my biggest supporter. While he was a flawed man, he loved me more than almost anyone else. He would do just about anything for me and believe in me no matter what. On Oct 16th, 2004 my Grandpa lost his battle. Losing him broke my heart. My world fractured and it took time for me to put the pieces back together. “Welcome to My Life” the first release from “Still Not Getting Any” became one of my themes for that year. 10 Days after my Grandpa died Simple Plan released “Still Not Getting Any”. Knowing how much I loved Simple Plan, and how hard of a time I was going through, one of my co-workers picked up the latest album for me when they went to the mall the day of its release. I cannot tell you how many time that CD was played from begging to end that year. Anytime I needed a pick me, an energy boost, to not feel like I was alone, that CD got played.

Over the years the Simple Plan albums have not only been in my main music library, but they have had a playlist all to their own. Some days I just need the energy and the message of those songs to make me feel better and inspire me to attack the world head on.

On February 12 of 2008 Simple Plan released their self-titled album and you better believe it was quickly purchased. Another album from Canadian band that I loved, that I could listen to beginning to end on repeat. When I found out that Simple Plan was coming to the JLC in 2009, I immediately bought tickets. I think I may have even done it during class, using WiFi on my laptop, I could be wrong though. In August of 2009, my roommate from Second Year joined me at the concert. It was a phenomenal show, though I have started to feel a bit out-of-place. I have been a Simple Plan fan since 2002, when I was 18. In 2009 at 25, I found myself sitting in a row in front of 2, I would guess, 8 year olds and their mother. JLC staff kept asking me and my friend to sit down, which I can understand, but still it was kind of annoying. Throughout the show we were up, dancing, screaming and singing along (until we were told to sit). We were going through every song taking note of what hadn’t been played yet. So when it came to the ‘end’ of the performance, we knew there had to be more to come because certain key songs had not yet been played.

From this concert I came away with a T-shirt, that has now seen better days, as I wore it for the better part of a year non-stop and a wrist band, which I will more than likely wear to this concert, should I get to attend.

And now in 2011, they have released their latest album “Get Your Heart On!”. Again I have fallen in love with their album, at first I wasn’t entirely sold based off of the singles, but once I had the album downloaded (the second my pre-order was available) I feel in love with the album. Every time there is a new album, I dream of seeing them live. On the drive in to work one day, I heard they were coming to London. I think I may have heard the radio station give away a pair of tickets and I was sad that I was not the lucky recipient. Anyways …

Now it is 2011 and it will be 2012 when they return to the JLC and I would give anything to be there. I started a new job recently and due to how busy I was (and still am) at work, I missed the opening of ticket sales and by the time I remember tickets were on sale the best I could get was Row S ūüė¶ which is disappointing. I haven’t purchased tickets yet, because I keep hoping I will get lucky and find something better than Row S in the first level.

I am a huge fan of Simple Plan, but not just them! I am also a HUGE Marianas Trench fan! How could I not be? I was raised around Barber Shoppers (just wait this will make sense) so I have a healthy appreciation for four-part harmony, how often will you find a pop-rock-punk act that has the ability to pull off impeccable four-part harmony? I think I missed “Shake Tramp” initially but I was brought it by “Say Anything” and “Decided to Break it”. I remember I taped both songs off the radio (I know so old school, I was a dork) and the videos through the VCR. I absolutely LOVED those songs and the sound of Marianas Trench. Josh Ramsay has an incredibly unique voice. They were a little Canadian band, so I was totally on board to support them. I feared though that they hadn’t survived their debut. There was a long hiatus between “Fix Me” (their debut) and “Master Piece Theatre” (Sophomore¬†album), I think it was about four years, but it was well worth the wait. The entirely album is impeccable. This is still an album that I will play from beginning to end on repeat. I absolutely love it.

When Marianas Trench was announced as an act by Western Fair in 2010, I purchased tickets. Again, I felt slightly out-of-place at 26 surrounded by a bunch of teenagers, but I did not care. I was a fan in my early 20s when they started out and while I may be the elderly end of their fan base now, I’m still ok with it. I sang along to every song, yelled, screamed and fantasized about Mike Ayley, who was smokin’ hot that night (Ok yes, dorky Canadian Celebrity Crush, but hey he’s close to my age, so it is all good).

It was an amazing show! It tried to rain, but it gave up, it was crowded at times and people were a bit pushy, but hearing them perform live was unbelievable. That album was so intricate I was curious how they would pull it off in a live show and they did. It was amazing. They exemplify why I love Canadian music. American acts tend to have the money to manipulate their sound. American acts can be talentless schmucks, but Canadian acts, if they want to succeed and have a shot at an international career, they have to have the supreme talent like the guys of Marianas Trench do. Even my Dad can appreciate these guys. Punk-Pop-Rock might not be his thing, but he appreciates the four-part harmony these four guys can pull off impressively well.

At this end of this concert, I waited in a long crowded line, in front of the Western Fair ¬†‘sales shack’ (this is something that desperately needs to be improved) and bought a t-shirt (it is in pretty good condition, because well, it is fairly low-cut when I put it on, so not good to wear out in public).

I believe the opening act of this show may have been These Kids Wear Crowns, who are also opening the Simple Plan show, so I’ve seen and know fairly well 3 out of four of the acts performing and I will learn about All Time Low before the show comes.

I have been following two out of four of these acts since their debut. Their music has and continues to play prominently in my playlists.

I would be ecstatic to be a #JLCreviewer for this concert. I think I would make a strong reviewer because I have seen these guys perform before and in the case of Simple Plan I have seen them at various points across their 10 year career and can speak to the evolution of their music and identity.

I will continue to write about this concert and promote my name as a candidate to be a #JLCreviewer for this show because it means a lot to me. Hopefully some of you who know me and know how much I play this music will support my quest to be a reviewer!

Thanks for reading!

#JLCReviewer for Josh Groban a No Go for Me :(

As many of you know I was selected to be a #JLCReviewer for the Josh Groban concert tonight.

Unfortunately due to a sudden illness I will not be attending the concert tonight, thus I will not be providing a review of the concert.

I am extremely disappointed as I was really looking forward to the concert; I have read that it is a truly spectacular show. Unfortunately a flu bug is keeping me away. I am not sure I could make it through a concert and I would hate to make my fellow reviewers sick.

I apologize to the JLC for not being able to fulfill my committment. I pride myself on being someone who follows through on the things I say I will do, unfortunately this time I simply cannot.

I apologize to my fellow reviewers for not being able to make it. I was really looking forward to meeting all of you and experience the concert with you. I look forward to reading your reviews and experiencing the concert vicariously through you.

Lastly I apologize to anyone who was looking forward to my review. Thank you to the people who recommended me for the position, it meant a lot.

I am hoping that the opportunity to be a #JLCreviewer will come around again in the future and I will be able to offer a gripping review of a JLC concert.

Thank you again to the JLC for the opportunity to participate in this project, I really think it is an excellent idea and a great way to build community around the venue. I anxiously anticipate the reviews of this concert and all future ones and I cannot wait to see what you come up with next.

Hopefully we can work together in the future!

 

– Sarah

The JLCReviewer – My Take

The JLC has always had excellent marketing, it is something I have admired as someone with a marketing/communications/PR background. Recently in addition to their already strong social media presence they have been making an additional push for engagement using social media.

Before the July 3rd Soundgarden Concert they had a huge giveaway of tickets on Social Media Day and a number of individuals, myself included, were offered a pair of amazing tickets to take in the concert that featured Coheed and Cambria and of course Soundgarden.

I think most of us on Twitter were shocked and amazed to see a venue do something like this. I mean I have won tickets before and know friends who have, but I have never seen a ticket giveaway on this scale before.

Talk about good PR! (PS – Unemployed (or Freelance) Marketing/Communications/PR/Social Media Gal right here if anyone is looking!)

It is said that word of mouth is one of the best tools in PR and this effort definitely capitalized on this, by using word of mouth 2.0, which is word of fingers!

JLC reached out to the wired demographic; the people who are online several hours a day tweeting, facebooking or blogging about anything and everything, and people who have arguably become a voice for the local online community.

By bringing people into the venue for free, the JLC earned some goodwill and created some positive buzz. The people who were invited in were definitely going to tell their friends and share the experience on Facebook, on Twitter or on a Blog. In this world of digital communications the number of people who this news could reach in a limited amount of time was exponentially higher than it would have been if the only tool had been word of mouth, instead of word of fingers.

Giving away the tickets was amazing, but the JLC hasn’t stopped there. They introduced the JLCReviewer for the July 12th Black Keys concert. The JLC asked people who wanted to be JLCReviewers to tweet them and for others to nominate people they think would do a great job. In the end four people were chosen to be JLCReviewers, Laura, Mike, Naomi and Amanda. By the sound of it they were provided with a number of goodies, including tickets to the Black Keys Concert, with opening act Cage the Elephant.

I think this is a fantastic idea! First, this is engagement at a whole new level. The JLC is facilitating an entirely new level of connection with the venue, the music, the performers and well the entire concert going experience. Next this is also a cost-effective way to grow their marketing department (good for them, bad for unemployed (“freelance” as I like to say) me!). The newspaper could write a review, and I’m sure they did, but I don’t think the LFPress is reaching as many people as it once did and if you’re like me you tend to take their reviews with a grain of salt. Also have you ever noticed that when a newspaper writes a review for a concert or a movie it often feels like the person writing the review is the totally wrong person to be writing it? (To me) it often feels like someone from the completely wrong demographic is writing the article,therefore creating a completely inaccessible perspective. We all know the JLC couldn’t write the review themselves because any review of theirs would be presumed to be biased in a favourable direction.

By using Twitter to recruit reviewers the JLC is finding people who are actually interested in the acts, who aren’t presumed to have a bias and who, in my opinion, offer a more accessible voice.

This to me is a shift away from Marketing towards Public Relations which, I think, is the way Marketing is evolving thanks to Social Media.

I am personally looking forward to seeing where the JLC goes with this. I think there is a lot of potential to further position the JLC as a top-notch venue not only provincially, but nationally and beyond.

*** I made a suggestion today on Twitter that the JLC could use the materials generated from the reviews to create art within the JLC. London is a very creative place, I think it would be interesting to see images and review quotes displayed throughout the JLC. I think using those materials as art would really make the JLC feel like a community, rather than a business.***