The guys at The Ticket really like music. It's not even close to being a secret, even if it is technically a sports talk radio station. But they've always tended to keep their passion for music at arm's length -- say, with funny segments on the radio, or with performances from their own Ticket Timewasters. That's why this weekend's Ticketstock at the Irving Convention Center feels like such a watershed moment: For the first time ever, The Ticket will be hosting a bona fide concert from a real, live band, the Old 97's. And in classic Ticket style, it's free.
Fridays at Ticketstock are a musical party complete with a live show from the Ticket Timewasters. It's a crazy ordeal full of cover songs, and original bits, that delight the crowd of loyal P1s. And usually that's it for the music. Saturday winds up being full of athlete interviews, autograph sessions and host roundtables as everyone nurses hangovers from the previous night.
Autographs and conversations with sports legends are fun and all, but honestly most of these guys are so coached on how to deal with the media that it becomes a little dull to witness. And while the various companies in attendance are doing their best to shill their products, no one's in attendance to score a deal on a new roof or a self-storage bin. Nope, they're there to have fun, and in case we weren't all aware already, a free concert can be a hell of a lot of fun.
The argument has been made that the Ticket, a sports-centric station, is also the area's best music station. (Okay, it's been made by us, but we can still reference it.) The Ticket's airwaves are littered with a diverse, genre-hopping selection of music on a daily basis, and the station's hosts go out of their way to highlight whatever music is catching their attention. Add in the borderline brilliant "Fun with Bro Country" take-down segments and the fact that they frequently interview a variety of musicians, and you can see why the argument is made.
So it makes sense that if the station is already hosting a yearly fête with a music component (however informal), building it up into a proper concert event would be a no-brainer. The question is, is this a one-off, or a sign of something bigger?
Hardline producer and local musician Danny Balis seems to think it's a sign of things to come. "I think having our local heroes [Old 97's] is a fantastic start to the possibility of booking big name acts for the final night of Ticketstock in the future," Balis says. "We're already paying big-name athletes large sums of money to sign autographs for an hour or so, so it makes sense to direct some of those funds for a concert."
Let's hope he's right. The station's built relationships with most of the local musicians in the area, both those who are stars on a national scale, and those just making the club rounds in the area. Through interviews and weekly segments like The Muser's "Biggest Show Coming to Town" and The Hardline's "Concert Calendar," they highlight the best of what's going on in the area musically.
So, it feels like this Old 97's show is not just a way to give back to their audience, but to also show off their taste. (It's apt as well that their first test of the concert waters should feature a band from right here in Dallas.) And hopefully it goes well enough that they'll continue the bit, and we'll see events like Fight Night and Summer Bash also get the musical treatment.
When asked who he thinks could be next in line to put in a performance, Balis lets the patented Ticket humor slip in. "How cool would it be to have Dokken or Toad the Wet Sprocket cap off a great weekend of Ticket buffoonery?" Balis teases. "Certainly there's enough petty Cumulus cash lying around to secure such relevant names."
So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. This just might be the kickoff to something big. And it should be; the Ticket has a vast audience, and using their reach to promote good music not just on the air but in person is a noble endeavor. Lord knows other stations in the area aren't doing it with their homogeneous live events.
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