If you are looking for the next big thing of 2020, look back to 1970.
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That’s right. A five-decade trip back in time may be the hot breakout in music in the near year. It is called yacht rock.
Subscribers to Sirius/XM have been cruising the yacht rock wave for almost five years. It started as a summer channel in 2015 featuring the “light” hits of the '70s with the likes of The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates and Toto. It proved so popular some fans took to Twitter to ask President Obama to issue an executive order to keep it on the satellite radio service.
It is now a full-time service (without Obama’s executive order) and has become a full-fledged movement. Plus the satellite service is not alone in its presentation. Spotify, Amazon Music and Pandora now list yacht rock as a searchable genre.
The ambassadors of this new genre is the Yacht Rock Revue, which has been pedaling the soft rock sound since 2007 in Atlanta but is now about to take it nationwide. The band will embark on its “Hot Dads in Jeans Tour” starting Jan. 9, 2020, with stops in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, Nashville and Boston in support of its first album – which will also feature original tunes.
"Step" is the new single from the new album, "Hot Dads in Jeans," from the Yacht Rock Revue
If some of its 2019 dates are any indication, this could be a profitable venture for the retro group. Previously playing in venues with 1,000 to 1,500 seats, YRR has proven a hot ticket. In October, according to Pollstar – which tracks the concert business -- at Boston’s House of Blues the band sold 2,425 tickets for a $61,479 gross. On New York’s Long Island at Huntington’s Paramount Theater, YRR sold out 1,573 tickets for $33,979.
Live Nation and Sirius/XM are backing the new tour. "After seeing the band build in our venues in the early stages, their upward trajectory as a touring artist became especially evident and that led us to pursue the partnership,” Live Nation Director of Touring Andy Messersmith explained to Pollstar in why the big concert company boarded the Yacht Rock Revue ship.
So what’s its appeal? Is this just a nostalgia ride?
“Yacht rock is more of a vibe and an energy than necessarily soft rock music made in Los Angeles between 1976 and 1984,” YRR’s Nick Niespodziani recently told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s more about when the song comes on, does it put a smile on your face in the first 10 seconds? If you use that as your first barrier to entry, then what can be considered yacht rock becomes a lot more wide. If you’re out cruising on your boat on Saturday afternoon, what’s going to feel good?”
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Indeed the idea did not come from an aging baby boomer, but rather from under-35 programming executive at Sirius/XM Jessica Besack. Part of the appeal is the '70s look and feel that YRR projects, but Besack said the popularity goes beyond the kitsch. “When a real music fan starts to get to know Yacht Rock it becomes readily apparent how talented the musicians were,” she told the Wall Street Journal.
Although Sirius/XM may have helped make yacht rock a phenomenon, according to The Week, the moniker debuted in 2005 by the creators of the web series “Yacht Rock,” which ran as part of Channel 101 for 12 episodes. The “mockumentary” tracked the careers of real-life musicians of the era but played by actors and comics.
From those humble comedic beginnings, yacht rock may become 2020’s hot “next thing” with the Yacht Rock Revue leading the way.
Yacht Rock Revue - The Hot Dads In Tight Jeans tour:
01/09/20 - Lexington, KY - Manchester Music Hall
01/10/20 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
01/11/20 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
01/16/20 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre
02/06/20 - St. Petersburg, FL - Jannus Live
02/07/20 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Revolution Live
02/08/20 - Lake Buena Vista, FL - House Of Blues - Orlando
02/21/20 - Denver, CO - Mission Ballroom
02/22/20 - Breckenridge, CO - The Riverwalk Center
02/27/20 - Portland, OR - Revolution Hall
02/29/20 - Seattle, WA - The Neptune Theatre
03/05/20 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
03/06/20 - San Diego, CA - The Observatory North Park
03/07/20 - Phoenix, AZ - The Van Buren
03/08/20 - Tucson, AZ - The Rialto Theatre
03/11/20 - Napa, CA - JaM Cellars Ballroom
03/12/20 - Sacramento, CA - Ace of Spades
03/13/20 - San Francisco, CA - August Hall
03/19/20 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore - Philadelphia
03/20/20 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
03/21/20 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
03/22/20 - Lancaster, PA - Chameleon Club
03/25/20 - Clifton Park, NY - Upstate Concert Hall
03/26/20 - Norwalk, CT - Wall Street Theater
03/27/20 - Boston, MA - House of Blues - Boston
03/28/20 - Boston, MA - House of Blues - Boston
04/17/20 - Charlotte, NC - The Fillmore - Charlotte
04/18/20 - Raleigh, NC - The Ritz - Raleigh
04/19/20 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
04/24/20 - Nashville, TN - Marathon Music Works
05/01/20 - Chicago, IL - House Of Blues - Chicago
05/02/20 - Chicago, IL - House Of Blues - Chicago
05/07/20 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues - New Orleans
05/08/20 - Houston, TX - The Ballroom at Warehouse Live
05/09/20 - Austin, TX - Emo's Austin
05/15/20 - Chattanooga, TN - The Signal
05/30/20 - Vienna, VA - Filene Center - Wolf Trap Amphitheater
08/22/20 - Atlanta, GA - Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park