Hangin' with the band backstage. Left to right: Biz3 national publicist Dana Meyerson; White Denim members Joshua Block, Austin Jenkins, Steve Terebecki, James Petralli; "Last Call" recording engineer and producer Fred Archambault (who's also produced/engineered/mixed for the numerous rock bands, including Avenged Sevenfold); and "Last Call" music producer/booker Davis Powers. (Photo credit: Mitchell Peters)
NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly" was in full effect at Los Angeles' Wiltern on Jan. 25 to film Austin-based psych-garage band White Denim -- who's been tapped as the opener for a string of Wilco concert dates on the West Coast -- for an upcoming TV show scheduled to air in early February.
"Last Call" music producer/booker Davis Powers first caught wind of White Denim after seeing them open in Los Angeles for Portugal. the Man at the El Rey Theatre in 2010.
"When I started talking to my friends who enjoyed bands like Wilco and Blind Melon, everybody was looking at [White Denim] to carry the torch of this cool psychedelic and garage-y sound," Davis tells Billboard.biz. "So when their new record ('D') came out, and they got the Wilco tour, we thought the Wiltern would be a great backdrop."
Chicago-based Jam Productions co-president Jerry Mickelson (right), flew from the Windy City to support hometown favorites Wilco. Standing next to him is Paul Levy, the son of restaurateur Mark Levy, who serves as CEO of Mastro's Steakhouse. (Photo credit: Mitchell Peters)
White Denim will make their TV debut on "Last Call" in early February. The spot will include live footage from the band's opening set for Wilco at the Wiltern, including the tracks "Street Joy" and "Anvil Everything," from the group's latest full-length album, "D," which was released last May on Downtown Records.
Davis also offered some advice for artist managers or record labels looking to have their acts featured on "Last Call."
"You have to know who our audience is -- it's a very eclectic, tastemaker audience," he says, noting he's excited about upcoming "Last Call" episodes that will feature Ed Sheeran, Dr. Dog and the Melvins. "We're programming [acts] that reinforces our bond with the audience, and says, 'We know what you're into.' But we also want to have their trust that we'll give them something new and exciting that we feel they should pay attention to."
"We're constantly looking for the next wave of emerging artists, and ones we feel are going to be groundbreaking and go on to do great things," Davis continues. "We do a lot of independent music and artists that haven't had their TV debut yet."
"Last Call" music producer/booker Davis Powers chats with Los Angeles Greek Theatre GM Rena Wasserman moments before Wilco hits the stage. NBC's music-oriented talk show "Last Call with Carson Daly" kicked off its 11th season Sept. 20 with performances filmed last summer at the Greek Theatre. The Greek Theatre celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2011. (Photo credit: Mitchell Peters)
Davis also shared some thoughts about recently booking the musical talent for NBC's 2012 New Year's Eve with Carson Daly, which included performances by Drake, Cee Lo Green, the Roots, Blake Shelton, Jessie J and Tony Bennett.
"It was definitely interesting operating fully in the Top 40 world, which is something I hadn't done since I was at [Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC]," he says. "I was really proud of the fact that we had Drake in Times Square, because we hadn't had a real top-tier artist in Times Square for some years. I was also really proud about Blake Shelton, because historically the show hasn't had a country crossover act. I thought it was a good representation of the more popular genres. I would've loved a big rock act, but it seemed like they were too afraid to dabble in New Year's this year."
Meanwhile, in addition to its sold-out concert at the nearly 2,000-capacity Wiltern on Jan. 25, Wilco also performed two other L.A. concerts at the Palladium (Jan. 24) and the Los Angeles Theatre (Jan. 27). The Grammy Award-winning Chicago act, which recently released its new album, "The Whole Love," has North American dates booked through early February. From there the group will visit Europe in March.
Others in spotted roaming through the Wiltern lobby at Wilco's Wednesday concert included singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, Jam Productions co-president Jerry Mickelson and Los Angeles Greek Theatre GM Rena Wasserman.