Our band is playing two gigs today. That’s six hours of singing, which means I’ll be talking in a raspy whisper until probably Monday.
This afternoon, we’ll be outdoors at a massive Harley dealership after a couple hundred bikers ride around for charity. They’ll hear a bunch of Black Crowes, CCR, Doors, Skynyrd, Floyd, and the like.
Later tonight, we’ll play another outside venue – a beach-themed bar with sand for a dance floor. That’ll entail some Bob Marley and Sublime, Zac Brown and Nathaniel Rateliff, Old Crow Medicine Show, and anything else we can spin up to get people dancing.
Normally, grunge and alternative is our (Pearl) jam. From STP to the Pumpkins, The White Stripes to The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant to Blink-182, Weezer to Foo Fighters. Of course, Nirvana.
We have about 150 songs in our repertoire and can usually hack together a request from a birthday girl or bachelorette on the spot, even if we have to read the music on our phones. Certain things are off-limits. We won’t do cliche stuff like “867-5309” or “Jessie’s Girl.” We play “I Will Survive” but it’s Cake’s version.
Bon Jovi and U2 are out-of-bounds. No offense. A few of our guys have strong opinions on the subject. Not my call.
Thanks to my friend Bob Lefsetz, I know a number of Grammy-winning and stadium-filling musicians read this email every week. I’m sure you look down your nose at middling cover bands like us and you should. Creating art from scratch is a different stratosphere.
We just try to keep the crowd from wandering off. Luckily, our go-to music appeals to younger crowds more than it did even five years ago. Gen Z is listening to “old” Pearl Jam and Nirvana the way I listened to the Allmans, Zeppelin, or Bad Company 20 years ago.
Indeed, when we delve into our data, Gen Z looks more like Gen X than Millennials, which might seem counter-intuitive. It’s even showing up in 90s brand revivals. Makes sense. Why wouldn’t my 15-year-old have more in common with me than with a random 30-year-old? It’s the same reason Millennials look more like Boomers – in many ways – than Xers or Zers. Generational evolution is non-linear.
All I know is it will save me from having to learn a bunch of new lyrics anytime soon. If that makes us an “oldies” band, oh well.
Here’s what we’re seeing right now:
Even as consumer confidence is dipping elsewhere, Hispanics are getting more optimistic, at least for now. This time about two years ago, Hispanic consumer sentiment was deep in the red, driven largely by the 2016 presidential election and the new president’s extreme immigration policies. Over time, however, those tides turned and Hispanic confidence is now at its highest point since 2015. In fact, non-Hispanics are more likely to have a negative outlook for the overall U.S. economy than Hispanics. Let’s hope the president doesn’t screw that up.
Counter-intuitively, interest in fast food value menu items is the highest we’ve ever seen it. You’d assume rising enthusiasm for discounted restaurant items would rise and fall with consumer confidence. But nothing in our data seems to suggest that’s the case. When you dig a little deeper into these numbers, a generational story unfolds. Interest in QSR value menu offerings has soared – up 17% among Millennials and 16% among Gen Zers since this time last year. Maybe those pesky student loans are making it tougher to eat out. Or maybe the big QSRs have launched some killer menu items lately. Or maybe it’s a leading indicator of something yet to come. We’ll figure it out.
Groupon is still a thing, even if it’s not a $6B thing. Ah, 2009. The first and only time I ever used a Groupon to buy a yoga class – and also possibly the last time I took a yoga class. A couple years later, Groupon turned down a $6B acquisition offer from Google, peaked at $16B at its IPO, and sits now at a valuation somewhere around $2B. While 29% of U.S. adults have purchased a Groupon, 47% of those purchases happened over a year ago, at least. Five percent of Americans have used the service in the past month. It’s still a viable business, for sure, but they probably wish they’d snagged that $6B truckload of Google-money when they had the chance.
All of Nike’s post-Kaepernick buzz crested in the first half of this year and that won’t help the low expectations for its earnings next week. As I told you about Lowe’s a few weeks ago,we’re not in the stock-picking business because all we know is the consumer and so much more affects a company’s performance. In this case, though, our numbers seem to align with other analysts’ outlook for Nike after last quarter. Beyond that, if you want to learn a bunch of random facts about Nike sneaker fans, your prayers have been answered.
Tara planned our entire summer vacation and I hate being a statistic. Yeah, so 69% of women say they do the majority of vacation planning and packing for their family. Forty-one percent of men say they do the majority. Even if you factor in the percentage of same-sex couples in America, that math still doesn’t add up. Draw your own conclusions because I’m not touching it with a ten-foot pole. Let’s just say I believe the women. In related news, 28% of vacationers plan their vacations more than 6 months in advance. Thirty-six percent plan them 1-to-3 months in advance, which is crazy-talk. We can’t even schedule a simple date night without four months’ notice.
And here, my poll-obsessed friends, are our most popular questions from this week:
- Do you have a past romance that you think back upon often?
- At what age do you think of someone as ‘old’?
- How long are you willing to wait for a table at a restaurant?
- How often do you try to sit down and read a book or a magazine but end up looking at your phone instead?
- Is it a joy or a burden to have your kids off from school for the summer?
Hoping you’re well.