"Just because we say it's good or suggest that people should attend a show, I think it might translate to a couple of new attendees, if any," Balis says. "Now, if we have some audio to play of a band, and they're good, it will be heard by 100,000-plus people. When we debuted the Redwalls and Midlake, the response was overwhelming. But, if you suck, you suck, and no matter what we say, people ain't coming out." Fair enough.

Rhyner agrees that while the show exposes new music, motivating listeners to get out to clubs requires more than a good play list. It's hard to persuade someone who would be just as happy listening to recorded music to see a show. "You gotta get off your ass to go, and you don't really have to get off your ass and get out of your pajamas or whatever to download something," he says. "And sometimes when you're out, you might think about something you heard us talk about, and you might wheel into Best Buy or wherever and buy the thing. But going to a show, as you well know, is an entirely different and more complicated proposition.

"I think that people base their willingness to go to shows on 30-second clips of a song they hear on iTunes rather than actually being adventurous and checking bands out sight unseen. Basically, people are fucking lazy," Balis says. "Me included."

ELI LUNA
It's good to be king: Mike Rhyner leads Petty Theft in rocking P1s.
Eli Luna
It's good to be king: Mike Rhyner leads Petty Theft in rocking P1s.

That's truer and sadder than more of us would care to admit. But what comes first? The live experience or the download? How do you get people excited enough to get off their asses and go to a show and revive that grit we all had just a few years ago? Guilt everyone by tying every show to a charity event? Have a local celeb like Martin or Rhyner in every band? It's not possible.

Non-music shows like the Ticket's The Hardline and Dunham & Miller and Live 105's Russ Martin Show are the event guides to P1s who don't listen to music radio. And they may not think they make a big dent in suggesting and discussing goings-on in Dallas, but they do if just one more person shows up, even to a cover band's show. Because, schlock or not, going out to shows is addictive. And that's not a bad thing.

I'll just have to make sure my downloads are finished before I head out.

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