Radio-Sponsored Rock Shows Coming To Town

Beck, Hole, Garbage, Korn, Cake and Soul Coughing among artists lined up for holiday shows nationwide.

Just when the high-decibel sounds of summer rock festivals have all but faded from memory, a new mass of noise from such varied acts as Barenaked Ladies, Hole and Korn is gathering on the holiday horizon.

Fans have radio to thank: Once again a handful of alt-rock radio stations are sponsoring multiple-band shows in U.S. cities in a kind of all-out audio celebration of the season.

At least 10 stations are sponsoring holiday concerts in December, from KFOG in San Francisco to Z100 in New York City, showcasing such currently popular bands as electro-rockers Garbage, post-grunge act Hole, alt-metal act Korn and the pop fivesome Barenaked Ladies, as well as a smattering of local and lesser-known acts.

The celebrating begins with Philadelphia's Y100 radio show Friday (Dec. 4) at Electric Factory, featuring a bill including Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cake, Garbage, New Radicals and Soul Coughing and continues through Dec. 20 with CIMX's "89X-mas" radio show in Detroit at the Joe Louis Arena. Among the artists planned for that show are Beck, Everlast, Placebo and Marcy Playground with DJ Kid Rock.

Individual lineups for the almost 20 planned holiday shows tend to span a broad musical spectrum -- ranging from the bummer pop of Marcy Playground to the brasher sound of Garbage.

"We try to bring as much [musical] diversity to the bill as we can," Alex Luke, program director at Chicago's Q101 (WKQX), said. "We try to pull in marquee talent that might not be touring -- like Beck."

Radio-sponsored shows -- which have become something of an annual tradition over the past 10 years or so (often with similar shows in spring) -- can be excellent promotional vehicles for station and performer alike. Stations see them as a means to expand their role as entertainment providers. "We're here as a source of entertainment for the listeners," Luke said, "not just on the radio, but beyond what we broadcast."

Often -- as with KFOG's 13th annual "Concert for Kids" -- the proceeds from the shows are donated to local charities.

For bands, the shows are a way to play to larger-than-usual audiences. "A band like Garbage might only play for 2,500 people at one of their shows, but will play for 20,000 here," Luke added.

The bands also see the shows as a way to give back to the fans who support them and to thank the radio program directors who play their records. A spokeswoman for pop-rockers the Goo Goo Dolls -- who are as perennial as poinsettias at these events and currently have a radio-friendly single in "Iris" (RealAudio excerpt) -- said, "They are pleased to support the stations that support them. They like to do this kind of show every year."

With clear benefits for the bands, some are eager to play as many of these shows as possible. "Labels will make their bands available to us for these shows -- just for the exposure," Luke said.

This year's lineups are a little more focused than in years past.

Last year's shows starred a broad mix of veterans, such as glam-rock pioneer David Bowie, Brit-pop rockers the Cure and Duran Duran and hit-of-the-moment groups such as anarchist act Chumbawamba and ska-pop practitioners Sugar Ray. Last year's events also saw a couple of high-powered no-shows, such as British rockers The Verve and Icelandic songstress Björk, who canceled on L.A.'s KROQ for the third straight year.

This season finds fewer retro acts on the road, resulting in lineups that are mini-snapshots of current radio playlists.

And while no two bills match up exactly, many feature some of the same acts. The Goo Goo Dolls, quirky rock band Cake, experimental art-rockers Soul Coughing, Garbage and rapper/singer Everlast are repeat stocking stuffers, playing in several different shows apiece. Hole and sample-happy folkie Beck also have been tapped to headline in several cities.

Amid the recurring lineups is the occasional special treat: KROQ scored a rare coup with a solo performance by Smashing Pumpkins guitarist/songwriter Billy Corgan to top the second of its two-night festival.

While critics traditionally snub these shows, the fans eat them up.

"Hole haven't toured for four years," said Atlanta's Carrie Sucharski, 15, webmaster of the fan site hole-online.com. "I think it's great that they're starting to do promotions for their new album."

Holiday Radio Show Dates:

Friday

KMTT, Seattle, Moore Theater

"The Mountain's Winter Warmth"

Susan Tedeshi,

Sonia Dada,

Laura Love

Y100, Philadelphia, Electric Factory

"Y100 Feastival"

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy,

Cake,

Garbage,

New Radicals,

Soul Coughing

Saturday

WHFS, Washington, D.C., Patriot Center

"Holiday Nutcracker"

Hole,

Cake,

Soul Coughing,

Everlast,

Garbage

Sunday

WXDX, Pittsburgh, Metropol

Garbage,

Cherry Poppin' Daddies,

Fuel

Tuesday

KNRK, Portland, Ore., Memorial Coliseum

Cake,

Flys,

Garbage,

Soul Coughing,

Violent Femmes,

Sugar Ray

Wednesday

KNDD, Seattle, Key Arena at Seattle Center

"Deck the Hall Ball"

Cake,

Cherry Poppin' Daddies,

Elliott Smith,

Garbage,

Hole,

Mark Lanegan,

Soul Coughing

Dec. 10

KFOG, Cupertino, Calif., Flint Center

"Concert for Kids"

Keb' Mo' and Band,

Cowboy Junkies,

KFOG, San Jose, Calif., San Jose Event Center

Cake,

Everlast,

Garbage,

Hole,

Offspring,

Rancid,

Soul Coughing

KFOG, San Francisco, Warfield Theater

Cardigans,

Less Than Jake,

Placebo,

Sugar Ray

Dec. 11

KROQ, Los Angeles, Shrine Auditorium

Barenaked Ladies,

Cardigans,

Hole,

Korn,

Offspring,

Reel Big Fish,

Sugar Ray,

Blink 182

Dec. 12

KROQ, Los Angeles, Shrine Auditorium

Billy Corgan,

Brian Setzer Orchestra,

Cake,

Everlast,

Soul Coughing,

Goo Goo Dolls,

Garbage,

Semisonic

WXR, Boston, The Paradise

"The River Relief"

Patty Griffin

and more to be announced

Dec. 13

KWOD, Sacramento, Calif., Arco Arena

Cake,

Green Day,

Harvey Danger,

Rancid,

Reel Big Fish,

Marcy Playground,

Less than Jake,

Semisonic,

Everlast,

Dec. 16

KISU, Seattle, Moore Theater

Candlebox,

Goodness

Dec. 17

Z100, New York, Madison Square Garden

"Jingle Ball '98"

Shania Twain,

N-Sync,

Goo Goo Dolls,

and more to be announced

Dec. 18

WKQX, Rosemont, Ill., Rosemont Horizon

"Twisted V"

Beck,

Third Eye Blind,

Everlast,

Cake,

Soul Coughing,

Garbage,

Goo Goo Dolls,

with DJ Crystal Method

Dec. 19

WRQC, Minneapolis, Target Center

Beck,

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy,

Cherry Poppin' Daddies,

Garbage,

Goo Goo Dolls,

Semisonic,

Soul Coughing

Dec. 20

CIMX, Detroit, Joe Louis Arena

"89X-mas"

Beck,

Garbage,

Everlast,

Placebo,

Marcy Playground,

with DJ Kid Rock