How Alvvays’ Grammy Nomination Helps Their Touring Business

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Abbey Blackwell, Sheridan Riley, Molly Rankin, Alec O’Hanley and Kerri MacLellan of Alvvays.
Photo by Eleanor Petry

One takeaway from Alvvays, the Canadian indie rock quintet, receiving a 2024 Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Performance for their song “Belinda Says,” is that when life gives you lemons, you make award-nominated lemonade. Just a few years ago, Blue Rev, the album that yielded the lauded song, seemed ill-fated with a very strong possibility it might not ever see the light of day.  

Alvvays were on tour opening for The Strokes in 2020 when the pandemic suddenly hit.
“They had the record written and had started recording and then eventually had to go back home because the world was shutting down and COVID,” explains their longtime agent Marshall Betts, Managing Partner at TBA Agency. “So they go back home and kept writin and recording. And then, during the pandemic, somebody broke into their house and stole all their equipment, including the songs they had written and recorded for the album.”

Adding to the band’s woes, Alvvays’ basement flooded damaging the band’s equipment.

“Eventually, when the world opened back up,” recalls Betts, “the band flew back to Los Angeles and essentially rewrote and rerecorded everything they had done. It came out and ended up being the best thing they’ve ever done.”

Pitchfork (See Leadoff: How Folding Pitchfork Into GQ Impacts Live), awarded Blue Rev (Polyvinyl/Transgressive) “Best New Music” with a score of 8.8, the band’s highest rating of their three albums. Recorded with producer Shawn Everett (War on Drugs, Big Thief, Kacey Musgraves), the album catapulted the band to another level of success. “

Marshall Betts
Marshall. Betts of TBA Agency .

Before the pandemic, they were playing 1,000-cap clubs on a headline tour behind their last album,” Betts says. “Blue Rev bumped it up into 2-3,000 or 4,000-cap and those sold out. We followed those up with co-headlines in bigger rooms, which all sold out. Their profile is now reaching a much bigger audience.”

According to Pollstar Boxoffice reports, show grosses by Alvvays, who are co-managed by Reynold Jaffe, Shira Knishkowy and Mike Sneeringer of Another Management Company, included a $91,833 haul at Artpark Mainstage Theater in Lewiston, New York on Sept. 1, 202 with 2,160 tickets sold; and $82,885 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh on Aug. 31 before 2,300. The band’s 2023 tour in support of Blue Rev also included plays at Austin’s Stubbs, Minneapolis’ First Avenue and Boston’s Roadrunner.

With 2024 U.S. tour dates announced for April and May primarily in theaters and large
clubs, and European festival dates set to kick off in June at Beyond the Pale in Wicklow,
Ireland, how is the band’s November Grammy nom helping their touring career?

“For me, the conversation is selling more tickets and also in terms of festivals and
festival billings, it changes people’s minds and perspectives and widens their audience,”
Betts says. “So people who weren’t aware of them before are aware of them now. It’s a part of their resume now clearly showing promoters who are putting up the money to book
this band as they are reaching a much wider audience than they had before.”

While a November Grammy nod is a little late to impact 2024 summer festival bookings, Betts says it’s still beneficial. “I would say my conversations with festivals accelerated as well their billing. They’re headlining a few festivals now next year.” He mentions the upcoming Austin Psych Fest slated for April and says other conversations are taking place.

The Grammy’s Best Alternative Music Performance category is heavily stacked and pits Alvvays up against critical and commercial juggernauts: boygenius (“Cool About It”), Arctic Monkeys (“Body Paint”) Lana Del Rey (“A&W”) and Paramore (“This is Why”). Betts acknowledges the competitiveness and understands in some ways they’ve already won.
“Imagine all the literally tens of thousands of other bands that vied for that one slot to be nominated,” he says. “It says that they stuck out in literally a sea of other bands. It’s an incredible feat. There’s probably some legacy artists out there who’ve never been nominated for a Grammy. Yes, they have some stiff competition there, I don’t think anybody’s delusional about that, but it’s still really great to be nominated for a Grammy. It’s a big deal.”