Big band theory: who are the brightest stars?

By Scott Kara

TimeOut takes a look at the remarkable run of big rock acts coming to Auckland arenas in the coming month. Scott Kara ponders just how big each of the big visiting acts really is ...

Will Coldplay's Chris Martin be ecstatic again?  Photo / AP
Will Coldplay's Chris Martin be ecstatic again? Photo / AP

Mumford & Sons

Playing: November 2 at Vector Arena; November 4 at TSB Bank Arena, Wellington.
4: Band members. Marcus Mumford (vocals, guitar, mandolin) Ben Lovett (keyboards, accordion, drums, guitar), "Country" Winston Marshall (banjo, dobro, guitar), Ted Dwane (bass, double bass, drums, guitar).
2006: Formed in London.
2: Albums - Sigh No More (2010) and Babel, released September 21.
0: Previous New Zealand tours.
1: Banjo, played by "Country" Winston Marshall which has come to define their sound.
5 million: World-wide album sales. 3.5 million of Sigh No More; 1.5 million of Babel (in less than four weeks). That included 600,000 sales of Babel in its first week of release in the US which - these days - is almost unheard of. Mumford have officially taken on Coldplay-like proportions.
54,000: Albums sold in NZ. 40,000 (and still counting) of Sigh No More; 14,000 (after four weeks) of Babel.
1: Celebrity wife. Mumford married British actress Carey Mulligan earlier this year.

Black Keys

Playing: November 3, Vector Arena.
2: Band members, Dan Auerbach (vocals/guitars) and Patrick Carney (drums).
2001: Formed Akron, Ohio.
4: Live band members. As of 2010 Auerbach and Carney added bass player Gus Seyffert and multi-instrumentalist John Wood for live shows.
7: Albums - The Big Come Up (2002); Thickfreakness (2003); Rubber Factory(2004); Magic Potion (2006); Attack & Release (2008); Brothers (2010); El Camino (2011).
1: Rap-rock collaboration album that's well worth a listen. Blakroc was released in 2009 and included hip-hop guests Q-Tip, Mos Def, and members of Wu-Tang Clan, among many others.
1: Danger Mouse. As in musical mastermind Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton who has co-produced the band's last three albums.
2: Previous New Zealand tours: Kings Arms, Auckland, March 21, 2005. "Hearing songs like Set You Free [from 2003's Thickfreakness] live at the local pub makes you appreciate how the Black Keys make music. They make it up on the spot and it sounds lived in, well-worn and hot."Powerstation, Auckland, June 28, 2008. "There's just the two of them [but] what they might lack for in numbers they make up for in sheer swagger."Their 80-minute set was delivered with confounding blues-rock ballsiness."
1: Cancelled NZ show. They pulled out of the 2011 Big Day Out citing exhaustion.
1.5 million: Worldwide sales of Brothers, the band's breakthrough album thanks to tracks like Tighten Up and Howlin' For You. It set these blues rock brothers on course to being an arena-filling rock band.
1.5 million (and counting): World-wide sales of El Camino since being released in December, 2011.
40,000: Sales of El Camino in New Zealand. It peaked at No 2 and has spent 46 weeks on the charts.
19 million: Views of the Lonely Boy video on YouTube, which stars actor, musician and part-time security guard Derrick T. Tuggle dancing and singing along to the song. He was an extra in the original clip which was rejected by the band, but Tuggle's dancing was so impressive it won him the sole, starring part in the video.

Radiohead

Playing: November 6, Vector Arena
5: Band members, Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, piano) Jonny Greenwood (guitar, keyboards) Colin Greenwood (bass), Ed O'Brien (guitar), and Phil Selway (drums).
1985: Formed while all members were attending Abingdon School in Oxfordshire.
8: Albums - Pablo Honey (1993), The Bends (1995), OK Computer (1997), Kid A (2000), Amnesiac (2001), Hail to the Thief (2003), In Rainbows (2007), King of Limbs (2011).
10/10/07: The date In Rainbows goes on sale as a download via Radiohead website using the pay-what-you-want model giving the experimental pricing system a high-profile boost.
14: Years since they last played in New Zealand in support of OK Computer. They played at the New Zealand Expo Centre (now ASB Showgrounds), Epsom, on January 28, and Wellington's Queens Wharf Events Centre on January 29. They also played Auckland Town Hall, June 22, 1994.
19: Minutes for the band's 12,000-capacity Vector Arena show to sell-out when it went on sale in March.
30 million: World-wide albums sales, including 4.5 million for OK Computer.
110,000: Album sales in NZ, with classic The Bends by far their biggest with 45,000-plus copies sold. Radiohead's other landmark album, OK Computer, which is admittedly sometimes challenging, has only sold around 10,000.

Coldplay

Playing: November 10, Mt Smart Stadium.
4: Band members. Chris Martin (vocals, keyboards), Jonny Buckland (guitars), Will Champion (drums), Guy Berryman (bass).
1996: Formed in London.
5: Albums - Parachutes (2000); A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002); X&Y (2005); Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008); Mylo Xyloto (2011).
4: New Zealand tours.
January 18, 2001, Galatos, Auckland, showcase the night before Big Day Out.
January 19, mid-afternoon set at Big Day Out, Mt Smart Stadium. "Pleasant though Coldplay were in their sunstruck afternoon slot, the act was not one to make you go home and play their splendid [Parachutes] album again."
August 11, 2001, St James Theatre, Auckland. The set included new songs from yet-to-be-recorded second record, A Rush of Blood to the Head, their biggest selling album.
July 24, 2003, Auckland Showgrounds, Epsom. "Chris Martin seemed genuinely ecstatic to be here, flinging himself around the stage like a skittish puppet, and at one point he hammered the keys so passionately he had to have his hand bandaged."
March 18 and 19, 2009, Vector Arena, Auckland. "They played the new hits and the old favourites. But Coldplay's greatest skill is playing the crowd, which they did with such deft precision it left no doubt as to why this band are so big."
1: The number of no shows in New Zealand. Not really the band's fault; they were meant to play Vector Arena in 2006 but it wasn't finished in time so they had to pull the plug on the tour.
55 million: Albums sold worldwide. Parachutes (8.5 million); A Rush of Blood to the Head (15 million); X&Y (13 million); Viva La Vida (10 million); Mylo Xyloto (6 million).
315,000: Albums sold in New Zealand. Parachutes (75,000); A Rush of Blood to the Head (90,000); X&Y (75,000); Viva La Vida (45,000); Mylo Xyloto (30,000).
1: Celebrity wife. Chris Martin married Gwyneth Paltrow on December 5, 2003.

Nickelback

Playing: November 30, Vector Arena.
4: Band members. Chad Kroeger (guitar, vocals), Mike Kroeger (bass), Ryan Peake (guitar), Daniel Adair (drums).
1995: The band was formed in Hanna, Canada by Peake, the Kroeger brothers, and their cousin Brandon who left in 1997.
3: As in 3 Doors Down, the band Adair used to drum for until he moved on to bigger and better heavy rock things in 2005.
7: Albums - Curb (1996), The State (1998), Silver Side Up (2001), The Long Road (2003), All the Right Reasons (2005), Dark Horse (2008), Here and Now (2011).
2: New Zealand tours. Supported the Rolling Stones at Western Springs, April 16, 2006. Grumpy Herald reviewer said: "one bullshit power ballad after another, which supports the rock-is-dead argument more than the ancient headliners". Also played Vector Arena, November 7, 2009.
50 million: World-wide album sales with All the Right Reasons the most popular selling more than 11 million copies followed by Silver Side Up with 10 million.
150,000: Albums sold in New Zealand including 60,000 of All the Right Reasons.
2: No 1 albums in New Zealand - Silver Side Up and All the Right Reasons.
604: The name of the record and production company founded by Chad Kroeger whose big names include pop chick Carly Rae Jepsen, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, and hard rockers Theory of a Deadman.
1: Celebrity fiancee. 37-year-old Chad is engaged to 27-year-old pop rock star Avril Lavigne.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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