Alice in Chains: NYC Listening party review

23Jul09

url11So, today I was invited to a listening party for Alice in Chains’ new record “Black Gives Way to Blue” out on Virgin Records. It’s their first record since 1995. I have to say, it was one of the most awkward experiences I’ve ever professionally been involved in. Located in the (new) New York Times building on the west side, it was creepily non-rock n’ roll. Upon entering I immediately felt like I was in a giant kitchen with no appliances.

Anyway, a young cute interny girl checked to make sure we were among the privileged few to get in. After a few more steps we were REQUIRED to check “any electric devices” which, for 999% of the crowd meant their iPhones or Blackberries. WHAT!

Side note: Officially the furthest away I’ve been from my iPhone unsupervised since I got this new one.

Apparently there were sweet hors d’oeuvre’s which I missed. Almost as bad as giving up my iPhone but there was an open bar. After a brief announcement we were all shuffled inside. There were journalists, other label dudes and other taste maker heavy hitters (shout out Bino and Alicia) in the crowd. I said to Seth W “This is the kind of place Andy Kaufman would perform in.” With little delay, Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney came out and introduced the record. They tried to be funny and everyone offered up courtesy laughs. You’re welcome guys.

For the next half hour or so, there we were, about a hundred of us sitting there listening to the first Alice in Chains record since 95′. Pretty cool for a guy that grew up with more than one flannel shirt in the closet. I’ll say this about the record, and I hope I’m not the only one calling them out on this, but did they have Lane Stanley sound-a-like try outs? Because this new guy obviously won that contest. The record is awesome. I’ll leave it there because I want to bring up how OLD SCHOOL this thing was! It reminded me of the handfuls of corporate listening sessions I’ve had in my life where the old dudes tap their knee out of sync whom were represented well in the crowd.

Seriously. Wouldn’t it have proven more effective to let us in with our mobile devises? Wouldn’t it have proven more effective to provide track titles? What about some twitter hash-tags so that all these journalists could tweet their favorite track (Seth W‘s idea) or just get some buzz started online? Because of the archaic nature of this event, I leave with “The record is great, track two and the single was my favorite.” Horrible digital marketing skills Virgin, sorry.

Aside from hoards of people ushering in and out between songs escaping for a break, aside from having to pinch myself to stay awake and aside from the 1999 thought process behind marketing this event, it was AWESOME. I love this band and this record. Can’t wait to get it for free somehow…

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One Response to “Alice in Chains: NYC Listening party review”

  1. 1 whinerx49er

    I think the band is generally freaked that someone like you, with your obvious desire to steal their hard work for free, would record and drop a shitty copy of the album on the web two months before it comes out. Probably a losing battle, but can’t fault them for trying to control the release of material they paid out their own pockets (before shopping to the labels) to record.


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