All-Star Spotlight: NitesBlog.com
Ajay Miranda of NitesBlog.com is a true local music enthusiast. In addition to running and writing for ‘Nites, he writes for many other websites, is the managing editor of Austin Vida, writes for Double Stereo, and does videography for INsite Magazine. With all of this on his plate, he still manages to maintain the priority of checking out live music around town just about every night a week.
Ajay started ‘Nites back in September 2008 as a place to post videos and share information on new local bands. He saw the blog as a hobby, but due to his commitment to quality writing and music it quickly grew in popularity. By the following January, Ajay noticed a dramatic increase in ‘Nites readers and had received ample amounts of positive feedback in response to his thoughtful and honest perspective on Austin live music. Since starting ‘Nites, Ajay has noticed a shift in the musical preference of the general concert-going population from Beatles or Spoon influenced indie-rock artists to the “by-way-of-Brooklyn” style electronic dance party bands. He sees this change as neither bad nor good, taking note of the high energy this new wave of dancy music brings to live shows that we don’t always experience at a local rock show.
We all have those bands that we’ve been listening to and loving for so long that they begin to lose ties to genre and are simply classified as “very, very good.” They put on shows that could never be matched in energy or caliber. In January, Haunting Oboe Music performed its final show with The Obsolete Machines, Salesmen, and Monarchs at Hole in the Wall. This gig was Ajay’s favorite concert experience because the “fans were a part of the show.” Everyone was singing along – at one point, the ‘Nites blogger himself took the mic! This is a prime example of Ajay’s insightful consideration that “you don’t stop being a fan when you start blogging,” and the fact that there are few (if any) experiences that top one of your favorite bands playing at one of your favorite venues.
Ajay’s got a tie for his favorite Austin venues. The Mohawk’s diversity of shows, general vibe, and pleasant door dudes are three high points that earn the place a top rank on the ‘Nites list. Hole in the Wall shares this first place because of its excellent reputation for respectfully working with bands, which is something Ajay believes to be one of the most distinct attributes that most venues around town lack. If he could change anything about the Austin live music scene, it would be the treatment and level of respect given to bands. It’s arguable that this could be attributed to a high concentration of artists that are willing to play for sheer exposure and no cash.
There are a few local bands Ajay’s got high hopes for in 2010. One of them, indie rock trio Follow That Bird, has gotten some serious buzz lately. They were featured on WOXY just yesterday, got a sweet show coming up next weekend at The Mohawk, and the are part of the upcoming Matador compilation Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010. Other bands he said to keep an eye out for are La Guerilla, Love at 20, and Prayer for Animals. Ajay has some excellent advice for bands trying to break into the Austin scene. First and foremost, tour as much as possible in order to build a fan base and network. Second, it is crucial that any band bring someone (who is not a member) on to facilitate organization and function as a manager. Lastly, he finds that bands are much more successful at attention-getting when they have a strong merch presence. This is a great way of emphasizing a marketable brand and drawing an audience. One example he gave was Austin-based glam rock band One Eyed Doll with its great balance between brand and band.
‘Nites blog is a fantastic and reliable resource for all Austinites. Ajay Miranda has an open-minded, well-trained ear and a gift for transcribing his thoughts on music into blog form. If you haven’t checked out NitesBlog.com, be sure to do so at your nearest convenience!