My long time friend Kevin Lofgren and his family came over for burgers on Sunday. Kevin mentioned something that I thought was one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time.
Brian Vander Ark, the former lead singer and songwriter for The Verve Pipe (you probably know them as the band behind the #1 song, “The Freshmen“) is doing something he calls the “Lawn Chairs and Living Rooms Tour”. Basically, invidivuals or small groups book him to come to their house and play for a couple of hours.
What struck me about this is that it’s a total win-win for the artist and his fans. The artist gets to play for true fans (and make decent money doing it). And the fans get an intimate concert that doesn’t cost a lot more than going to a club. Brian even lets his hosts choose the set list.
Here’s an excerpt from an Brian’s journal that will give you a taste of what these events are like and why I think they’re so cool:
so, i arrive in a suburb outside of indianapolis and am invited into a long time fan’s home. it’s a really nice set-up, with a small pa system on the deck, and various friends and family members and their children gathered in lawn chairs, ready for me to play to help celebrate the host’s birthday. I play, the kids run around, the adults listen and it’s really a great experience. to be invited into a stranger’s home and be welcomed that way is a tremendous feeling. I play all of his requests…well, mostly…and then i unplug the guitar and eat some cake and put the guitar back on and play for small groups of attendees milling about. it’s really fun playing cover tunes, taking requests and whatnot, having people sing along. it’s so much better than the smokey clubs, rowdy assholes who talk over you, pool table, television blaring rediculous club scene. i may never go back. i have such little desire to go out and bang my head on the wall in places that could care less that i was there. this is a DRUG. this is what it should be about. it’s just music, being played on an acoustic guitar. why do we need a stage, and lights and amplification? why do we need that seperation between performer and crowd? i get very little satisfaction out of it. i don’t need to be four feet above everyone’s head as i play. just give me a living room, and chair, and some fans, and i’m the happiest songwriter, ex-rockstar that ever lived.
I think this may be the future of concerts for artists that can’t fill stadiums, but have a loyal base of fans across the country. Kevin Lofgren has booked Brian for a private event in August to celebrate the opening of Farstar‘s new office space in Frisco. I invited myself to come, so I’ll let you know how it goes.