Agency Intel: ICM Partners’ Mike Hayes On The Success Of Chase Atlantic’s 31-Date Tour; Signing David Byrne

Agent Mike Hayes
– Agent Mike Hayes
of ICM Partners
Agent Mike Hayes has worked at ICM Partners for nearly 17 years – minus a two-year stint working on the management side with Bill Silva Management. He explains that he made the move back to the agency world after realizing that “being on the touring side and the management side, my passion was ultimately in the live experience.” Hayes is also passionate about working with Chase Atlantic, an Australian alternative R&B band that is preparing to return to the road this summer after recently wrapping a two-month, 31-date tour that sold a total of 101,004 tickets and grossed more than $1.1 million. 
Chase Atlantic, which is now based in Los Angeles, features lead vocalist/bassist Mitchel Cave and brother Clinton Cave on lead guitar and saxophone along with Christian Anthony on rhythm guitar and vocals. The trio is joined on tour by Patrick Wilde on guitar and Jesse Boyle on drums. 
The band’s October-November North American run in support of its 2021 album, Beauty In Death, boasted a Nov. 7 show at the 2,500-capacity Wellmont Theater in Montclair, N.J.; two nights at the 1,350-capacity Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto Nov. 16-17; and a Nov. 14 show at Express Live! in Columbus, Ohio, that sold 2,082 tickets and grossed $41,702, according to a report submitted to Pollstar. 
Hayes chatted with Pollstar about the success of Chase Atlantic’s tour, recent ICM signing David Byrne and what’s next for a few of his other clients including The Go-Go’s and Jon Bellion.His roster also features Good Charlotte, Gary Barlow, Phantom Planet, Aly & AJ, L7 and up and-coming acts like Blossoms, You Me At Six, Gerry Cinnamon, Dreamers and Waterparks. Hayes represents Chase Atlantic worldwide with the exclusion of Europe.

Chase Atlantic
Photo by Jordan Kelsey Knight – Chase Atlantic
Pollstar: Let’s talk about Chase Atlantic’s recent tour.  
Mike Hayes: Their management company MDDN, which is [run by] Benji and Joel Madden, were there before me. They brought me on four or five years ago. And since then, it’s just been a steady build. There might not be any radio, there may not be any kind of mainstream quote-unquote high level press, meaning “Saturday Night Live,” big television looks, but there’s a strong fanbase there; the band’s releasing music that’s really connecting to an audience.Especially with this last tour, which we put on sale last summer and played in the fall, we found that the song they put out at the time called “OHMAMI” really connected on the streaming platforms, basically with the same audience that was listening to BTS, Ariana Grande and Harry Styles, you know, 14- and 19-year-old females. The click rate is extremely high for wanting more, not just constantly streaming. At that point, we had just released a song, we had the tour on sale. So, there was a real, tangible value that an audience could get out of what we were delivering. … Although they have a great label partner, it’s not like there were songs on Top 40 radio or any of the traditional avenues that we think of when we see artists selling this many tickets. It was incredible to see the band work harder than anyone that I’ve met in a long time. The management are the most unbelievable managers and partners in this. It’s just been a real joy to be a part of it.

 What was the strategy with routing the tour?
We booked the tour based on the success of the previous tour. Obviously, dealing with a pandemic and then dealing with [not knowing] how big has the audience grown, it was one of those things where no one can really be sure what the answer was other than previous tours sold out 95% of the shows, they’ve got music coming, a new album coming and a great touring partner with Live Nation.
From Down Under To Up Top:
Photo by Jordan Kelsey Knight – From Down Under To Up Top:
Chase Atlantic performs at Tabernacle in Atlanta on Oct. 27, 2021.
[We decided] let’s just keep steadily increasing the venues. Let’s take a shot in L.A. at The Wiltern. Because the last time in L.A., we sold out the Regent, which is 1,100 and it had just got there as far as it sold out, but it got there maybe a week or so before the show. … I think we can get to a Palladium, but let’s start at The Wiltern. …  And sure enough, basically sold out The Wiltern at the onsale. For a band that hasn’t been that strong in L.A. or New York – their strength’s kind of been the suburbs, you know, like Chicago, the Minneapolis – that’s kind of all changed in that it’s growing exponentially.
And to see what it did in New York, when we blew out Brooklyn Steel. We are going to move to Terminal 5, but it was NFT Week in New York and we couldn’t get into any of these venues because they were booked and rented out. So, that’s when we added a show at the Wellmont Theater in New Jersey, and we sold that out; that’s 2,500 capacity. So we essentially could have done probably 7,000 or 8,000 tickets in the New York metro area. Luckily, we booked the tour with a few spots where we could add a show here or increase the venue.
All the credit to management, who were really the ones that had the vision pushing this. …[The tour] really got everybody seeing the power of how an artist who has incredible social and streaming numbers can take that to an audience.
What’s Chase Atlantic’s live show like?
They’re a full band – guitar, bass, drums and one of the band members plays sax. And the production is a huge LED wall … It is a total vibe and a party and you really feel like you’re at the church of Chase Atlantic and they’re giving their sermon. The audience is just going absolutely bananas, singing every single word, filling in the gaps when Mitchel, the singer, purposely doesn’t sing a part because he knows the audience is going to sing along with it. Everyone’s bouncing up and down and really just having the time of their lives.The live show is truly, truly amazing. What I always do is, like a proud dad, whenever I go to the shows I video it and send clips of the videos to the promoters like, look at this audience in L.A. or Toronto going apeshit for this group. You need to be involved because it’s truly a very special event.

They’re extremely engaging. Mitchel and his brother, Clinton, who plays saxophone, guitar, and sings backing vocals and then Christian, who’s the guitar player, the three of them, plus the other two members, Jesse and Pat, have such an incredible chemistry on stage. I believe that comes from Mitchel and Clinton being brothers and really having that family dynamic and then being able to express that from the stage.
What’s next for the band? 
We have a tour [that will include] 5,000-capacity outdoor theaters. You’ll see them touring the summer, but the specifics aren’t out there yet because we’re still working out the deals. We’ll be set to announce that in the next month or so.
You work with a lot of other great artists too, like Jon Bellion, The Go-Go’s and David Byrne. Anything you can share about upcoming tour plans? 
Unfortunately, we had a COVID issue with The Go-Go’s. They were supposed to play some shows around Christmas time and there was there was a COVID case within the organization. So I’m currently rescheduling those dates, but I suspect they’ll play in the late spring.

David Byrne
Bruce Glikas/WireImage/Getty Images – David Byrne
performs during the re-opening night curtain call for “American Utopia” on Broadway at The St. James Theatre on Oct. 17, 2021, in New York City.
We just recently signed David Byrne at the agency, which I was a part of. Talking Heads is one of their favorite bands of all time, so to get to be on the forefront of that is amazing. And for [Byrne] likely going to be looking at some festival opportunities, whether that’s him performing at festivals or even thinking about creating his own festival and what the curation of that would look like, once his “American Utopia” starts winding down on Broadway, so that will be great.

I’ve been with Bellion since day one. That’s just been an unbelievable experience with him. He’s set to do a bunch of festivals later in the year and with more music coming out. It’s an insanely busy time. And I couldn’t be more excited about everything going on despite the difficulties of the world we’re living in.

Congratulations on signing David Byrne! 
Thank you so much. It was a really long process but, I guess, good things come to those who wait. It really encompassed members from all across departments within the agency:  film and television, branding, commercials, theater, publications. The team was so unified in building a compelling case to David, who is clearly a legend – (laughs) putting it mildly.
There were recently a bunch of major lineup announcements from Coachella, Bonnaroo and BottleRock. Nobody can really predict how the Omicron variant will continue to affect the live industry. What are your thoughts on the festival season this year?
Look, I think everyone is cautiously optimistic … because I think if it’s going to go like it did last year, we’ll be able to get to festival season and figure out the right protocols and what that looks like. And obviously, producers feel the same way or they wouldn’t be announcing their amazing lineups. I think you’re going to see even more festivals announced in the next several months. It’s going to be an exciting time and I think we’ll find a way to get through this and really make it special.

Since this interview was conducted, The Go-Go’s have announced rescheduled shows, with a run of March 24-31 gigs in San Francisco; Reno, Nev.; Temecula, Calif.; San Diego and Anaheim, Calif. A special hometown show scheduled for Los Angeles will be added at a later date. Presale tickets are available now and the general onsale starts Friday, January 28 at 10 a.m. PT.

Check out the confirmed routing below: 

March 24
San Francisco, CA

March 25
Reno, NV
Grand Theatre
March 27
Temecula, CA
Pechanga Theatre
March 28
Anaheim, CA
House of Blues
March 31
San Diego, CA