With summer just around the corner, it's time for your favorite acts to announce their plans to hit the road (provided, of course, your favorite acts are Christina Aguilera and Limp Bizkit), because, as time — and tanlines — can attest, nothing goes together quite like live music and sunstroke.
Yes, the summer tour season is magical and manic, a time when basically every band with something to promote piles into a bus and heads out on a big-budget jaunt. As you can imagine, things are already getting pretty hectic here in the MTV Newsroom, as every hour we're hit with another press release trumpeting a new tour, each one bigger and better than the last. Calendars are quickly filled. Plans are made, then scrapped. Hotel rooms are reserved. It's enough to make your head explode, honestly.
Through all this madness, one thing has become abundantly clear: Corporate sponsorship is out of control. It seems that every wireless provider in North America has slapped their name on some shed out there, to the point where now, bands can't make it through two cities without playing a Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre or a Cricket Wireless Pavilion (or both). But it's not just the high-tech folks who are getting in on the act. There's the deliciously-named Dunkin Donuts Center in Rhode Island, the refreshing Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto or the soon-to-be open KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville. Reading through a band's tour schedule is a lot like leafing through the NASDAQ listings at this point.
And though seemingly every spot with a stage and some seats has been branded by now, there are some venues that go above and beyond when it comes to corporate sponsorship. Here are five that are so patently ridiculous that they've somehow earned our respect — pavilions and amphitheatres willing to slap any name on the marquee, so long as the check clears. It's sort of admirable in a way, because if you're going to sell out, you might as well sell out.
Located in beautiful Glendale, Arizona, the Jobing.com plays host to Phoenix Coyotes home games (and, next month, Justin Bieber). It's named after a company that claims to be "Your First Choice For Local Jobs," though most wrestling fans know that "jobbing" is also a term used to describe losing a match. The reason it made our list, however, is because three different people read its name and said "Who's Joe Bing?"
Tucked away on the campus of the University of San Diego, the Jenny Craig is affectionately known as "the Slim Gym," which is actually way more creative than the actual name. No word on what the concessions are like inside, though we imagine they're probably a bummer.
Located in Wheatland, California, it's named after the largest mattress retailer on the West Coast (and the third-largest in the nation!), which is pretty much all you need to know. Just reading this name makes us tired.
02. Jiffy Lube Live!
Imagine, for a second, that you are in a band. You are looking over your summer itinerary, scanning the names of the places you're going to play, and suddenly, you come across "Jiffy Lube Live." Does your soul die a little bit, or a lot? Do you instantly begin thinking up stage banter for the evening? ("It's great to be here at the Lube!") Do you fire your tour manager immediately afterward? Yes, nothing says "live music" like an outdoor shed named after an automotive franchise specializing in oil changes and chassis lubes. Oh, this place is somewhere in Virginia, just in case you were wondering.
There truly is no better-named joint in the U.S., which, in these increasingly corporate times, is an accomplishment of some sort. Magically juxtaposing a cut-rate chicken-n-biscuits joint with a majestic, Roman-esque venue of sport, the Bojangles' Coliseum is a mindf--k in pretty much every possible way, especially when you consider that this place was actually built in 1955 and once played host to shows by Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. All we can think of now is sandal-clad gladiators battling fluffy buttermilk biscuits. Truly the pride of Charlotte, North Carolina.