The Beatdown

Mean Old Man takes over Cricket on the Hillís open-stage night.

Scanning humans? I couldn't help but be simultaneously dumbfounded and amused by the audacity of such a ploy. God knows I love getting free stuff like a fat kid loves cake, but is it really wise to treat your "consumers" like objects at a grocery store? It's no secret that teens have a lot of loot and buy a lot of music -- they're a multibillion-dollar demographic; just ask any boy band -- and a high school is the perfect place to find them. But I wonder if it's savvy marketing to come right out and say, "Hey, you're a number; let's see if your number is a winner."

Karen Vardeny of Fusion Marketing, the group that helped organize the promotion, downplayed any exploitative implications. "I don't see it as being negative," she insisted. "We're just trying to get them excited about the concert. They get a free T-shirt and a gift; they don't have to do it if they don't want to. It's just a fun way to get them involved."

Had the Hummer just tossed T-shirts out the window, though, the kids would probably have gotten just as excited. They're not stupid: Like everyone else, they love free shit.

But not necessarily tickets to corporate-punk concerts. East student Courtney Fleming, who won the VIP passes to the Starting Line show, was less than enthusiastic about his victory. Asked what he thought of the band, he simply shrugged and said, "They're okay, I guess."

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