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Interview with “Yesterday’s Concert” Podcast Host Lance

A podcast, “Yesterday’s Concert,” is a highly produced and unique take on concert reviews. He takes an in-depth look at the bands themselves, as well as the concerts. Lance has gone to more than 750 concerts in the past fifteen years, and he began to realize that he had something to share with the world.

He takes inspiration from other podcasts, noting that the way it’s produced and edited is reminiscent of “Serial” (though the content is not). Lance also credits “Disgraceland” as a large influence: “I stopped writing for a long time but picked it back up when I started thinking about all my concert memories. They were so precious to me I didn’t want them to be lost so I just started writing them down.” That’s when he had his “Eureka” moment, “Eventually I came to a point of wanting to share them but not knowing how. When I heard ‘Disgraceland,’ it was the final inspiration I needed.”

His first concert was Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band in his home state of Mississippi, and he was lucky enough to share the experience with his dad. Lance found it to be a defining moment: “I remember the Allman Brothers jammed out so many of their songs and at the time I hated all the jamming but was so mystified by the live energy of the songs. The way the music interacted with the crowd was much, much larger than me.”

Lance loves the way crowds come together, describing the realization that you’re fully present amongst 60,000 people, all singing along to the same song. He also loves smaller venus, musing, “Even in the back of the room it’s like you’re sitting on the stage.” Small bands make for big memories. He adds, “The first time I saw Moon Taxi was in a pizzeria with about twenty people.” He saw them for the thirtieth time in December and has enjoyed seeing them evolve and gain a real following through the lens of attending their concerts.

From a third grader who only listened to Elvis Presely to a college student working towards becoming a full-time music journalist, onto the journalist he is today, Lance has built up a resume of reviews, shows, concert experiences, and artists discovered.  “Yesterday’s Concert” is a product of his love of live music, his knowledge of the musicians he’s seen, a love of journalism, and the power of stepping away and being methodical about how he wanted to use his talents.

Lisa: Hey Lance! How did it all start with “Yesterday’s Concert” podcast? Is there a story behind it?

Lance: Of course, having a story is at the very root of “Yesterday’s Concert.”

I went to college to become a music journalist and had high hopes of one day writing for “Rolling Stone,” just like my favorite character William Miller in Almost Famous. After my year, I started writing news articles for the college newspaper and eventually worked my way into a weekly music column. In that column, I got to ramble about music I loved like the Stooges, plus they let me cover whatever concerts came to town. It was a dream gig for a college kid.

Before graduating I left journalism to pursue a different degree and stopped writing altogether. Several years later, I started writing stories down about the concerts I had attended. I’m not sure if I missed writing or thought there might be something there. At the very least, it was a “jam journal” for me to hold onto these precious memories. I did that for two years before I started thinking maybe I should do something with them. That’s when I heard the podcast “Disgraceland.” It was the missing inspiration for my podcast to come together.

Lisa: What are some of your favorite podcasts that you are influenced by, and why?

Lance: As mentioned “Disgraceland” was a massive influence on me. The way the host, Jake Brennan, intertwined crime and music with high production storytelling was a stroke of genius. “Disgraceland” gave me the lightning bolt to bring those “jam journals” to life.

Another big influence was Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History.” I loved the way it felt like he was sitting in the room with you when he told stories. It was like sitting down with an old friend for dinner. It was so earnest and accessible. I knew that was something I wanted to come through when I tell my stories because I want people to connect their own stories with mine.

Lisa: What do you think separates “Yesterday’s Concert” from other podcasts?

Lance: “Yesterday’s Concert” is different from other music podcasts because, while it’s categorized as music commentary, its structure is more like the popular murder/mystery sagas like Serial and S-Town.

Each episode is focused on one concert that either shaped my musical identity or was an unusual adventure (like the time I got too high at a Widespread Panic concert and thought someone dosed the mustard on my corndog with LSD). Rather than just retelling the stories, I try to bring them to life with sound effects and music. My hope is each episode is an immersive experience into my memory, the concert, and what it’s like to see that artist.

Lisa: What is the mission of “Yesterday’s Concert”?

Lance: The mission is to remind people of why they love music. We can all relate to the first time we got to see our favorite artist live. It’s an experience that we all treasure. I’ve found when I share my stories with other music fans, they always come back with some kind of relation to the music too. I hope that listeners will be able to connect to shared experiences.

Lisa: You’ve attended more than 750 concerts in the last 15 years, what was your favorite, if you could choose one, and why?

Lance: Each concert is so unique and special in its own rights, it’s difficult to pick one. In a lot of ways, you’re comparing apples and oranges. It’s tough to say a stadium show is better than a club show when the stadium show has more money invested in a single lighting rig than one band’s entire club tour.

But it’s tough to beat Paul McCartney at Cowboy’s Stadium in 2009. I mean, it’s a Beatle in concert! The songs are enough on their own but to hear them sung by an original member in that large setting was truly breathtaking. Plus, it was the first time music ever moved me to tears, and that’s why I chose it for the first episode of “Yesterday’s Concert.” 

Lisa: What are your thoughts on the music scene today, do you think it’s heading in the right direction?

Lance: That’s an interesting question. To use the popular cliche: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

There was a time when I was very much on the “modern music sucks, old music great,” train. It was a common and lame argument I had with my more top-40 minded friends. But after a couple of years of denying myself music just because it was popular or a specific genre, I took a step back and realized it’s all relative. Music is art and there are no right or wrong answers. Sometimes you just need an easily digestible pop song, and other times some freeform jazz will do the trick.

All that said, there’s a lot of really cool things happening in music today. I think we’ll be able to look back in 20 years to see some definitive legends in the making right now. We’re very fortunate to have the level of access we do to music, and because of that, people can create very niche music that has the opportunity to find its audience like never before. I’d consider that pretty exciting.

Lisa: Who are your favorite today’s musicians?

Lance: Phoebe Bridgers: “Punisher” was my safety net in 2020. Multiple times a week I’d go for long bike rides and listen to that album over and over. Her style of dynamic yet soft music and diary-like lyrics is something I never saw myself liking, but these days it offers a lot of solace and relatability. I’m very eager to see where her career takes her and watch her grow as an artist.

Pino Palladino: Pino’s been around for decades, but in 2021, he released his first solo album, “Notes with Attachments.” To quote Rick Rubin, “It made me feel like I was hearing something from another time, and when I say another time, I mean it felt like it couldn’t have been made at any other time than right now. It had the gravitas of a classic album. It blew my mind that it’s possible to make an album like this today.”

Ryley Walker: There’s a growing sub-genre of indie and jam bands, called indie jam (creative, right?) where indie and alternative bands go on long-form jams like the Grateful Dead. The genre is a lot more focused on the song rather than hippie-dippie noodling, and there’s a lot of very intense jamming that follows. Artists like Chris Forsythe, Garcia Peoples, Kikagaku Moyo, and others, including Ryley Walker, are really blowing up this scene. The thing I most appreciate about Ryley is his lyrical prowess, then couple that with his jam-IQ and he’s a monster musician.

Goose: At my core, I’m a jamhead; I love a long free-form instrumental track. However, my biggest beef with jam music is a lot of it is gratuitous noodling. Goose is one of the few bands to explode in popularity during 2020. I think it’s because of their crossover between jamming and great songwriting. Either way, this is a young jam band that I can’t wait to watch grow. I really believe they could be the next big jam band.

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: King Gizzard is currently my favorite band. They are, in my opinion, the most interesting band out there right now. They’re constantly releasing new studio albums, and each one is totally different. They’re able to jump genres with ease, yet they still have a distinct sound that is all their own. Also, in late 2020 they announced their bootlegger program which gives huge access of their music to indie record labels and mega-fans. I haven’t been this excited since I found out there’s one website where you can stream every Grateful Dead concert ever recorded.

Lisa: Any interesting guests in the future you would like to share with us?

Lance: No guests on the horizon as of right now. There’s some I have in mind but nothing definitive yet.

That said, I like to think of my episodic concerts as the guest of my show’s format. Season two features: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Miley Cyrus, Dead & Co., Ween, Margo Price, ZZ Top, and Jack White.

Lisa: What are your plans for the future?

Lance: Between season one and two I started doing bonus episodes called “Encore Episodes.” These are not the meat-and-potatoes of “Yesterday’s Concert” but they’re unscripted, off-the-cuff ramblings on live music-related topics. I’d like to see these episodes fleshed out some more, maybe have some guests, interviews, live breakdowns, or something. We’ll see.

I’d love to keep producing episodes of “Yesterday’s Concert.” Episodes take around 20-30 hours each to write, record, and produce so I’m not able to pump them out as quickly as I’d like. I’m sitting on more than 150 stories already composed in some form. Many are rough sketches but some are almost ready for production. And there’s plenty more than I haven’t gotten to write about.

I’d also love to do some themed seasons. There’s some bands that I’ve seen 20+ times and I’d love to do devoted seasons to my personal journey with those bands. I’m in the very early stages of planning one of those right now, actually.

Listen to Yesterday’s Concert Here

 

What do you think?

Written by Lisa

Lisa is an undergraduate at Universitá Degli Studi di Roma, she is currently studying course in modern pop culture. She loves to write about and live for the music.

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