better living through economy

Tickets for The Black Keys’ return to Ottawa are on sale as of this morning. The blues-rockers’ show is slated for Sept. 17 at the Palladium.

That gives us barely three months to purchase our tickets. By today’s concert standards, that counts as a last-minute sale.

By contrast, upcoming big acts Fleetwood Mac, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry began to invest Ottawa-based fans’ money some six months before offering a return on that investment. Perhaps the Keys’ three-month lead is a reflection of the futility of extorting money from your loyal fans during a time of stubbornly low interest rates.

I well remember jumping on tickets to see Pavement’s one-time-only reunion show, scheduled for New York’s Central Park and offered for sale a full year before the show. During that year, the band surprised no one by turning that one-off into a full tour. Suddenly, the sold-out Central Park show seemed a tad less special.

But taking our money a full year before providing a service in return is not uncommon in the concert biz. Indeed, if I were Iggy Azalea, I would make tickets for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 world tours available post-haste. Sorry, no refunds. I’ll wager Psy wishes he’d thought of that.

Of course, if you’re looking for an immediate return on your investment, I recommend looking to the local scene. To, say, a band like the quintet Better Living Through Chemistry, whose CD-release show will set you back a mere five bones tomorrow evening. Moreover, by paying that modest admission price for the Irene’s Pub showcase you will walk away with a copy of the band’s debut disc. All for five bucks. At the door.BLTC

“We’re giving the CD away at the show,” confirms drummer Chris Saracino, who like his bandmates is a veteran of local bands — among them, The Setbacks — and therefore knows selling CDs does not exactly pay the bills anyway. “We just want to get it out there, to get the music to people who want to hear it.”

Saracino cleverly made me one of those people by contacting me a while back to ask whether I’d care to hear this album. “Our influences,” he said, “range from Replacements/Paul Westerberg to Dinosaur Jr. Soul Asylum too.”

You’re talking my language (English). And thank you, Chris, for for the reminder of those gimme-indie-rock glory days. BLTC’s album is indeed eight guitar-bass-drum blasts, recorded with producer Mike Bond pretty much live off the floor. As it should be. You can check out that live sound at Irene’s tomorrow, and pick up a CD at no extra cost to you. (There will be LPs as well, but no freebies there.) You don’t even need to buy your tickets months in advance.

“I think our sound is very much mid- to late-’90s,” Saracino states. “But there was a timelessness to that era. I don’t think that sound is ever gonna go out of style. And for us, we respect that sound. We didn’t want to do a big synth record and we don’t sound like Beach House. This is who we are.”

He may have something there. Just ask Pavement.

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