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High hopes dashed - a cautionary tale

The other day we here at the Phoenix got an e-mail about the State Theatre from Roy Ghim, who hosts Liberation By Sound on WMPG, with a tale of, as he described it, how something that "was initially a scoop turned out to be a non-story." Nevertheless, he sent it our way, no longer as a scoop, but rather "as a tragicomedy." Here's what he had to say:

Occasionally I ramble onto Pollstar.com (national concert listing database) to see who's coming to Portland. On Thursday April 9, I saw something on the screen that made my jaws drop; the State Theater was back from the dead! I was stunned to find an event scheduled for the venue in late July.  Did this mean our celebrated State Theater (that bit it in 2007) was finally going to be resurrected?  I rubbed my eyes and looked again to make sure I wasn't seeing things. Sure enough, Pollstar's city search for concerts in Portland Maine revealed that Toxic Audio was indeed booked at the State Theatre for July 27th. Who the hell was Toxic Audio? A hair metal band from the 90's?  I didn't care. The State is back and opening it's doors once again!

It's what everybody wants.

I posted the new nugget of info on my radio blog sites.  Wilco, Sonic Youth and the Flaming Lips have all graced the State's now darkened stage. My imagination started taking flight with the possibilities of bands like Iron & Wine, Animal Collective and M.I.A. drawing music lovers back into the loving arms of a reawakened State. Was it too good to be true? Was Pollstar wrong and this was a simple mistake? I almost didn't want to find out.

That's when this story gets a tiny bit strange. Bryan Bruchman of Hillytown.com emailed me the word "Weird" next to the link for Toxic Audio http://www.toxicaudio.com/index.html. I closed my eyes and clicked on it. What would I find out? That bad hair metal bands instead of creative hipster bands are calculated to be a better draw to debut the new up-to-date State Theater? Turns out Toxic Audio are a family friendly acappella cover band (think Cher and Pat Boone sung by former DisneyWorld singers). The smooth schmatlz gently churned from my speakers. I was tortured just by the 10 seconds of hearing a sample. Their band name wasn't even ironic! I just could not believe that this band was seriously booked at what could be the State Theater's marquee comeback.

I looked up and called Toxic Audio's agent in Florida that afternoon to confirm what Pollstar posted. A gruff sounding voice at the other end said yes, to his knowledge,Toxic Audio was booked at the State Theater in Portland. I asked him to double check.  After hearing the sounds of shuffling paper, he informed me that they are at the Maine State Theatre in ....BRUNSWICK! He had given Pollstar the wrong information. Pop. No State Theater re-opening. No glorious M.I.A. Portland debut. My mind was spinning while the agent tried to convince me that this would be a great show for, "anyone age 5 to 90."  I hung up the phone and cursed. 

The worst part about all this is not that I had to waste time updating my radio blogs; it's that it got my hopes up about a State Theater comeback long enough to see it flushed due to a careless massive typo from a guy in Florida that sounded like a used car salesman. If you want to see it for yourself, Pollstar.com still has the State Theater's ghostly name etched as a concert venue at  www.pollstar.com/resultsCity.aspx?ID=45914&SortBy=Date&SearchBy=portland,%20me  (on the second page of listing for Portland).


Roy Ghim
Host of Liberation By Sound on WMPG

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