Sunday, February 28, 2010

Agnew: "I Think Brooklyn is Super Obnoxious."

SEAN AGNEW OF R5 Productions, a local indie music promoter, spoke on campus last week about the Philly music scene and the coverage it receives. In case you didn't catch his visit, here are a few things that he said:

- He used to see a bump in ticket sales after the alt weeklies previewed his shows. He doesn't see that bump anymore.
- He promoted more than 300 shows in 2009. "Seeing that many bands is awful," Agnew joked. "Nobody should have to do that."
- Philly has a pretty terrible radio scene except for WXPN, he said.
- Pitchfork pretty much dictates what will be the next cool band.
- The Philly music blog he reads regularly is The Deli. He also checks out Brooklyn Vegan. Sadly, both of those websites are based out of Brooklyn.

- There is no definitive music blog in Philly, Agnew said.
- "I think Brooklyn is super obnoxious," Agnew said half joking. He was referring to all the Midwest bands who uproot, move to Brooklyn and claim hipster cred. Ick.
- Philly could have Brooklyn's music reputation if there were media documenting the scene, he said.

He also gave some background on his career:
- He started promoting shows in the 1990s because there were few places where underage kids could hear live, local music cheap.
- His first venue was Stalag 13, an old warehouse they used for illegal punk shows. There was a half-pipe in the backyard and a barbecue on the roof.
- "People used to lose their mind if the show was more than $5," Agnew recalled.
- He just traveled to Asia with Diplo. In Jakarta, 3,000 kids knew every word of every Diplo song, Agnew said.
- Sometimes, the bands he books ask to crash on his apartment floor.
- Raekwon recently performed at the First Unitarian Church. He told Agnew that he needed to pray the next day because he was cursing while performing ... inside a church.


Michael Stoltzfus said...

This sounds like it was such a cool lecture, I wonder why the Philly music scene isn't kickin as hard as the Brooklyn scene I'm so bummed I couldn'tmake it because of a play I had to see for another class. Sad day but what can you do...

Keith said...

Unfortunately I could not make it either, I wish I could have this seems like it offered a great deal of insight. I just transfered to temple and I have been trying to break into the Philly music scene, but just as Agnew is saying, there are few good sources promoting.

Peter Dalmasy said...

It was a good lecture and glad I made it up to a packed Annenberg classroom last Wednesday. I think as a whole, many students learned a lot about the ins and outs of Philly's music scene and most importantly ever-evolving concert-going crowds.

Julian Galette said...

I think the issue with the Philly scene is kind of just the same problem Philly has as a whole (in relation to its nightlife) unlike in New York where people all over the world know New York has a vibrant, well, everything, scene, Philly is kind of it's shy brother who's definitely cool (if you take the chance to get to know him)

Maybe it's for the best though, if my parents hadn't moved us from NY to Philly I'd probably be a Pitchfork worshiping hipster

Lauren Nucci said...

He sounds awesome. It's too bad there is so much music and art in Philly but never enough ways to express it. Wish i had been around for this.

Brian Okum said...

I wasn't there, but I agree with what Agnew says about Brooklyn. The cuture can only stay true to itself for so long I guess. Julian Galette is right about Philly, but I think it's a good thing it's still 'shy'.

Sarah Mabel Hough said...

I don't think the money is here. Our venues aren't that great and honestly, people just aren't playing here since NYC is so close. Same with art galleries. It's sad, but all around it's so difficult to promote in Philly. It is like NYC's little brother. We really have to kick some ass to get stuff up and going instead of going to NY to do it.