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The Music of LSSC: The House Band, Stephen and Musical Guests

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Here's a spot to discuss music on LSSC - it's a huge part of the show, and important to Stephen, so discuss Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the guests, Stephen's singing, Stephen's dancing, and all other things musicial!

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Taking the music talk where we've been directed to take it.  Copied over from the All Episode Talk. 

 

 

 

I'm sure you'll get your wish eventually and the likes of Beiber will be on. If we're lucky instead maybe they'll get Macklemore & Lewis.
And of course some bookings are a challenge. Having One Direction on, for example, would take quite a lot of prep work.

 

 

Yeah, Kromm.  That's my dream.   Taylor Swift.  Meghan Trainor.  If they could figure out  how to get the yet-to-be-born or conceived children of those folks?  I say hook  those ovum up to an amplifier and let the resulting fluid sounds bring the prime demographic beating down the door.   Maybe they can sing about zit creams and orthodonitc appliances while appearing and thereby include in-act product placement.  Only then will I be truly happy. 

 

I actually don't care one way or the other as I'm not over-fond of the "musical act closes out the night" format.  Just as saying something skews older isn't an insult.  Remarking upon something doesn't mean longing for the opposite.   However, I will admit I was pretty excited to see Pearl Jam is going to appear. 

 

More than anything I noticed simply because for so long we've been told there is a prime or  demographic and about half the shows I've personally liked have been canceled because they didn't stand a snowball's chance in a cooling tower that had experienced a core breach of appealing to an almost absurdly young population -- who actually didn't have much money.  So I was actually kind of heartened to think that the prime demographic was seemingly starting to skew older for what is considered a key demographic.

 

 

 

if they want to skew younger with Country there are STILL acts like The Band Perry or Kacey Musgraves, who wiggle out of the shit-kicking arena into Alt-Country (which also has older artists, but these two are on the younger end of Alt-Country).

 

 

 

They actually probably don't want to, Kromm.  Here are a couple of marketing articles about the challenges network TV faces and needing to change their definitions of what is considered a key demographic and why.    In terms of this show, I was remarking on something, not condemning it.  I actually think it would be swell if the coveted key demographic would start to skew older and I'm not being in the least sarcastic.

Edited by stillshimpy
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Yes, I find it maddening when a show has tons of viewers but gets cancelled because it doesn't hit the "demo".

 

As for the music on this show, none of it has really grabbed me so far.  Didn't Letterman use to have more indie bands on?

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As for the music on this show, none of it has really grabbed me so far.  Didn't Letterman use to have more indie bands on?

My all-time fave was when Dave had South African group Die Antwoord on -- check out his reaction when he goes to greet them at the end. He made reference to the name of their song ("I Fink You Fweeky") for days afterward. Of course, Dave's favorite band was the far-more-mainstream Foo Fighters, who performed on the show numerous times.

 

I don't know how much influence the host has over the musical guest bookings -- probably not all that much -- but the Black Keys appeared twice on the "Report," so it wouldn't surprise me if Stephen had a hand in booking the Arcs (a Black Keys side project).

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I'm not sure if it's within the rules to link to Amazon, so I won't. But I did want put in a good word for the 32 key melodica that Jon Batiste plays. I'd never seen one before and got a black one from Amazon  for under $40, then saw the more colorful one (they're all made of plastic except for the interior reeds) for under $70 and gave the black one as a gift, keeping the funky colorful "airboard" (Hohner's branding for "it's not an old person's instrument any more". Except...it's still a melodica, just a different color.)

 

Anyway I appreciate Batiste for bringing this instrument mainstream because I'm really enjoying it.It's kind of like the description of a platypus--a mixture of several things. It looks like a keyboard, sounds like a harmonica + accordion and  you blow into it (with "free reeds" inside) like a woodwind. It's really fun and I like it when he plays with others--like a duet with the saxophone last week. Lightweight and portable and a lot of fun. So I owe this show that already!(Plus it's great for kids to learn about music with--as I understand it, JB promotes it that way, too, for music education as well as performance).

 

.

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I'm not sure if it's within the rules to link to Amazon, so I won't. But I did want put in a good word for the 32 key melodica that Jon Batiste plays. I'd never seen one before and got a black one from Amazon for under $40, then saw the more colorful one (they're all made of plastic except for the interior reeds) for under $70 and gave the black one as a gift, keeping the funky colorful "airboard" (Hohner's branding for "it's not an old person's instrument any more". Except...it's still a melodica, just a different color.)

Anyway I appreciate Batiste for bringing this instrument mainstream because I'm really enjoying it.It's kind of like the description of a platypus--a mixture of several things. It looks like a keyboard, sounds like a harmonica + accordion and you blow into it (with "free reeds" inside) like a woodwind. It's really fun and I like it when he plays with others--like a duet with the saxophone last week. Lightweight and portable and a lot of fun. So I owe this show that already!(Plus it's great for kids to learn about music with--as I understand it, JB promotes it that way, too, for music education as well as performance).

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As far as I know, you can link to amazon (at least if it's relevant to your post). I've done it in another forum (to help readers find the show's new DVD set) without any issues. But I'm pretty sure someone else already linked to the melodica's listing on amazon--I remember seeing it in another of the Stephen Colbert threads.

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As far as I know, you can link to amazon (at least if it's relevant to your post). I've done it in another forum (to help readers find the show's new DVD set) without any issues. But I'm pretty sure someone else already linked to the melodica's listing on amazon--I remember seeing it in another of the Stephen Colbert threads.

Thanks. That was me, but I thought it would go well here as someone might be interested music-wise. It really is a fun, versatile and inexpensive instrument with a pretty nice sound.

Basic black: http://www.amazon.com/Hohner-32B-Piano-Style-Melodica-Black/dp/B0055DCWKS/ref=cm_cr_dp_asin_lnk

Colorful: http://www.amazon.com/Hohner-AIRBOARD32-32-Key-Airboard-Bag/dp/B00I0YOEC8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442940620&sr=8-1&keywords=hohner+airboard

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Did you notice? Not only did Raury show up in a Mexico jersey, but it had Trump's name on the back, crossed out with a red x. A stunt for sure, but I like how musicians keep getting in little digs.

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Getting off the musical guests and onto the subject of the band itself, I've been shocked at the number of "I don't like them", or at least, "I don't think they work for late nite" comments I've seen around. I won't debate anyone's right to an opinion, but I'm just surprised it's been common enough an opinion to even notice a pattern.

I think it's the whistle blowing bouncy leg-kicking stuff at the very beginning that's causing the debate mostly (and people may be carrying that over into general criticism of the whole band). Personally I see exactly where Colbert & Bautiste are going with that opening routine. Since the show doesn't open with the credits, they wanted a unique, publicly identifiable opening. They want a rallying cry that drives the audience into a high energy state for when Stephen comes out--without having to reply on crowd "fluffers" and applause signs. They're invoking a ton of New Orleans symbolism and applying it to New York. I'd say it works (yes, even the high kicks) because it actually communicates something. It's non-generic and not just something cloned from other shows (if it has any resemblance to anything, it's perhaps to Ellen Degeneres and her dancing).

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Oddly enough, they seem to have eliminated the high kicks, or at least really scaled back on them. 

 

I am unabashed Pearl Jam fan, by the way, so I was just giddy that they were going to be on. My husband and I have been having an in-house discussion about who particularly bands might appeal to.  This is partially because over a year ago we were listening to an NPR podcast (which I'm sure says all sorts of things about me to any advertisers that might give a hoot....should they have a 'bot scanning for keywords "Old enough to love NPR, young enough to load podcasts ...and listen to them while driving....which is just the Weird Demo as far as we can tell....Old enough to use the phrase "Give a Hoot" and "giddy" too ) in which they were discussing the age of people who still have cable.  I cracked up when the young woman on the podcast answered the question of "Who do you know that still has cable?" with...." No one under thirty" but added "our parents do....and we just use their passwords...." (so essentially, they still want access to everything cable provides, just via their streaming devices.  Point being:  Demographics are just weird things to try and pin down.

 

So the discussion of music guests and who they appeal to goes on in our household.  My husband sees Pearl Jam -- not actually known for doing a ton of interviews (understatement) -- and makes this comment "Whoa, Pearl Jam is looking old...is that even possible?  Pearl Jam.  Are they capable of being old?" ....and well....yeah, sure but nobody gets to stay 25 forever unless they have ultra-creepy aging portrait stuffed in a closet somewhere.  Plus, they were all absurdly gorgeous (fashion taste not withstanding) back in 90-91.  Taylor Kitsch is likely jealous of how good-looking Eddie Vedder was back in the day (look up the Seattle performance circa 1991 for Alive and....yeah, time is a harsh mistress to us all, but those guys managed to overcome some seriously questionable fashion choices). 

 

Plus as long as Eddie Vedder can still sing, there will be hope in my personal universe.  I don't love everything Pearl Jam ever did, but I love Eddie Vedder's voice at a level that comes in just below "complete and total worship of it"  and instead hits the "will stop what I'm doing and listen whenever Eddie Vedder sings" (Same deal with Frank Turner, which I know, they don't even sound similar....I just have huge "I love that voice" crushes on both of them).  

 

Anyway, my point would be?  Yay, Pearl Jam! ....And then Stephen got to fulfill what I'm sure was a personal dream of his,  which he used to get to do a lot of the Colbert Report (he sang with so many legendary artists) ....and I had a minor anxiety attack.  "Noooo, Stephen!!! Don't try to sing along with Eddie Vedder!!! That's what makes him Eddie Vedder, pretty much no one can emulate his vocal style" when they did another song at the very end. 

 

I fully admit, Vedder just isn't for everyone.  I've heard all the  "I can never understand a word he's singing.  Ever.  Really?  He just sounds like Steppenwolf (John Kay), with a head cold" arguments ....but the point would be?  Difficult to sound like that guy.  In fact, here's an amusing article about 5 Singers with Unbearable Voices We Can Blame On Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam.  

 

Sure enough.  Stephen's voice broke.  Stephen has a strong voice, but the only person who sounds like Eddie Vedder.  

 

And I love Stephen Colbert, but I'm going to add that gripe to the discussion:  I think Stephen Colbert is a wildly talented man, I'm so glad he has this gig.  But almost as soon as I saw him approaching to sing with Vedder on the second song, I was ready to hide underneath the coffee table.  I wish he'd stop trying to join in.

 

ETA:  

 

Getting off the musical guests and onto the subject of the band itself, I've been shocked at the number of "I don't like them", or at least, "I don't think they work for late nite" comments I've seen around.

 

I personally really like them.   

Edited by stillshimpy
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A month in, I am 100% convinced that the band is intentionally making at least one change in the theme music EVERY single night.  I don't know if it's just to let us know for sure it's not pre-recorded, or if it's just their own inclination, A few nights ago, for example, I heard a loud trumpet section.  Last night I heard the main sax section in the middle played a lot slower. Stuff like that. One intentional change each time.

 

Now eventually even a band as creative as this will run out of variations, but it's fun for now.

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 But almost as soon as I saw him approaching to sing with Vedder on the second song, I was ready to hide underneath the coffee table.  

 

That's how I felt about him joining in with Paul Simon, one of my all-time favorites. If Simon was doing three or four songs and Stephen joined in on one, that would be different. But Paul got one song.

 

I think what they're banking on is that Stephen's fans adore him, and will enjoy seeing him having the thrill of joining in with famous performers. But hey, maybe he could do that in rehearsal? I just don't personally find it entertaining or all that cute.

 

Regarding the band, I am still waiting for the show to feature them in an entire musical number of their own, as Johnny Carson and Letterman would occasionally do with their bands. Since they are making a big deal about "featuring Jon Batiste and Stay Human" in the opening, that would seem appropriate. (If this happened and I missed it, my apologies. I haven't watched every minute of every episode).

Edited by bluepiano
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Wow, I am a bit stunned by the music talk.

 

I am a lady of 'a certain age' and I absolutely love the energy and dancing and the music that start the show!

 

Gosh how can you not smile and move around during this......

 

And seriously.....if Yo Yo Ma was all into it...it is so ok with me.

 

Keep it up Steven and the band!!!!!!!

Edited by kaygeeret
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By the way, if anyone was skeptical about if they play the theme song live each time (and as I pointed out upthread constantly CHANGE it), I think the Yo Yo Ma episode nails that one down even for those who didn't believe.

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By the way, if anyone was skeptical about if they play the theme song live each time (and as I pointed out upthread constantly CHANGE it), I think the Yo Yo Ma episode nails that one down even for those who didn't believe.

Yes, it did, to very nice effect. I loved everything he played with the band even though they didn't seem completely with him  on Ave Maria and others. I'm surprised Batiste didn't figure arrangements to minimize the band more, but I imagine they didn't have much time.

 

I wish I enjoyed the band's style of music more. Does anyone here like it? If it's supposed to be jazz, it's not the kind I enjoy. Most of the time, I don't get the feeling they're playing anything with a written score and if they're improvising, as it seems to me, I think it needs work.

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I'm still waiting for Stephen to feature the band by giving them a complete number during the show, as back in the day Johnny Carson used to do fairly regularly with the Doc Severinson Orchestra. If Stephen is as proud of JB and Stay Human as he makes out, that would be a no-brainer. Right now, other than the theme song, I'm only hearing tantalizing little bits when they come back from a commercial.

 

As a musician and piano player myself, I like what I hear of Jon Batiste in these little samples, and also what I see on YouTube. They do a creative blending of a lot of different styles. Is Stephen not giving them the opportunity to perform on the show because some network executive is saying "that kind of music wouldn't appeal to the critical 18 to 25 demographic."

 

Johnny Carson used to tell the network, regarding his band, screw ratings, this is music I like and that I want people to hear.

Edited by bluepiano
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Batiste stuck in a little Scott Joplin last night which was nice.  I hope someone suggests SC let the band actually perform something all the way through. Seems like he'd probably be for it, just is caught in the idea that Batiste is there to play them in and out. It would be good to hear more of what they do musically and not just the disjointed bridges between segments that they have to play for the show.

Edited by Padma

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Jon recently wrote an article for a major publication that I can't remember the name of.  He seems a little goofy on the show, but, he is a Juilliard graduate and is quite articulate and no dummy!  We enjoy him very much.

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