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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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Still the Bucks house band, the group plays before select games and halftimes.  (photo: bucks.com)
Still the Bucks house band, the group plays before select games and halftimes. (photo: bucks.com)
Streetlife used to play here during Bucks games.
Streetlife used to play here during Bucks games.

Bands work for college sports, but do they translate at the pro level?

This my 19th season as a Milwaukee Bucks season ticket holder. I love the Bucks, and I love the NBA.

During all my seasons as a ticket holder, the team has balanced its game day music, fun promotions, great videos and the best mascot in the league with Streetlife, the Bucks' live house band. Streetlife, with its leader Warren Wiegratz, always provided a nice balance to the piped-in jock jams that you get at most sporting events.

But, this season, at least during games, Streetlife is out of the Bucks' game-time mix.  Have you noticed?

While they're still playing around town (as a group and in solo gigs) and in the BMO Harris Bradley Center atrium before Bucks games, you won't see or hear the band while the game is in progress. 

The band is still a part of the Bucks family, though, and has played several halftime shows.  

I like Streetlife, and since my seats are (were) close to the band I have come to know them a bit and appreciate their talent. Yet, I've always felt that their sound never really traveled well enough through out the entire arena. So, if you weren't seated close to to the band they probably didn't heighten your entertainment value. Compare this to Miller Park. You can hear the organ at Miller Park from all the seats.  

The Bucks regularly poll ticket holders and buyers, and several have told me that the band usually is a point of conversation.

I understand why the Bucks aren't using live music this season. It would seem, though, that there would be a way to somehow use Streetlife in conjunction with the recorded music. Change, though, is usually good and I'm happy that the band is still a part of the team's plans.

As Bucks VP Business Development John Steinmiller told me via email, "We are continuing our relationship with Streetlife that begin in 1985 as they are a valued member of the Bucks entertainment family. This season Streetlife is our featured performer on the BMO Harris Bradley Center Bucks UWM Performance Stage in the outer east atrium on Fourth Street for a full hour at nearly half of our home games. Streetlife also is an important musical part of several halftime shows as well, which will include some of our other entertainment groups."

What do you think? Does live music have a place during pro sports games, NBA or otherwise? Bands work for college sports, but do they translate at the pro level?

Truth be told, I've always been a bit puzzled by some of the in-game music selections by many NBA and other professional teams, including several of our hometown teams. "Crazy Train," "YMCA," "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," Whoomp! There It Is," "Mony, Mony," "Welcome to the Jungle," and how about that ever annoying "Everybody Clap Your (Cha Cha Slide)?" 

Music at sporting events shouldn't matter as much as it does, but it does. A former pro sports executive once told me that fans expect "Disneyland" at every game so the sensory experience has to be fresh, consistent, loud and exciting.

Of course, a great game and winning make music, promotions and sponsored contests during time outs far less memorable. Yet, let's face it, music is a part of us and when used well it can make or break an event, movie or moment.

While I don't expect sporting events to play only what's hot on iTunes, I do think the major sports leagues need to remain current and in tune with their diverse fan bases. I realize it's hard to please a wide range of customers. There are 12-year-olds and 67-year-olds at every game. All this being said, I think a bit of live music or even a live DJ can add life to sporting events. But, really, I'm there to see the game so oddly I'd love to experience a game without any music. How crazy would that be?

Your thoughts on Streetlife and music at sporting events? Pipe in via the talkbacks or Facebook.

Talkbacks

brewcitypaul | Feb. 22, 2013 at 4:29 p.m. (report)

The problem with Streetlife was the Bucks had been using them since 1985 until only a couple years ago. They played only a handful of songs that got repeated, again, and again, and again and again.....to the fans that truly enjoyed going to Bucks games they were the bane of our existence. So outdated. So lame. The insistence (or apathy) of never choosing to update the band has been a microcosm for the entire organization. I'm sure they are all very nice people and musicians and hopefully they have opportunities elsewhere, but every Bucks fan I know has rejoiced in them not being there this year. Again, not trying to insult the band personally, but they had that gig waaaaay too long. They really need to update the in game music. I mean...how hard can it be to pick out a few RAH RAH songs to get the crowd going? I could have it figured out in probably less than an hour.

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Aardvark | Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:51 a.m. (report)

34650 We had season tickets back in the Allen/Cassell/Big Dog era and thought Streetlife just didn't work. They would play just once or twice an entire game! It just didn't make much sense and the crowd just seemed confused when they would play a song. Only the crowd next to them ever noticed or started singing/dancing. I actually think the atrium is a much better idea and allows them to play a much longer set.

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