Madison House’s Mary Allen’s first foray in the music industry came from the graveyard time slot at her college radio station. At the University of Kentucky, Allen would host the 3am-6am shift on Wednesdays playing anything and everything she loved at the time from LCD Soundsystem to Crystal Castles and Ben Howard.
“I would go to bed at 10pm and then wake up right before my shift around 2:30am and then walk down to the station. I would stay up and go to classes afterwards. It was quite the grind,” Allen told Amplify. “I was playing whatever I liked. I had no limits.”
The early morning hours were worth it for Allen who grew up loving music and playing guitar since she was in elementary school.
“I loved guitar and still play it, but I learned pretty quickly that being a performer was not for me. I don’t like the attention of being on stage,” Allen said. “So going into high school I knew I wanted to work on the business side of the industry.”
Allen jumped at the opportunity to become the university’s Concert Director and faced a bit of a learning curve as she booked Lexington’s underground music & arts festival, Boomslang.
“It was funded by the university so I had this big talent budget. I was a college kid figuring it out and I was booking bands from all of the major agencies,” Allen explained. “I was naive and dealing with agents that definitely inflated their quotes because of it. I pretty much offered what they quoted, where looking back on it and being an agent now, I probably could have offered 30% of what they quoted and still been able to get it done.”
“It was a learning experience for sure,” Allen jokes. “Trial by error. I learned from my mistakes.”
Allen headed out to Denver after college and kept her career focused on music, landing a job booking shows for a local brewery and becoming an intern for Madison House in Boulder, Colorado. Within a few years, she moved from intern to assistant to junior agent and now works as a full time agent out of Madison House’s growing Nashville office. Amplify caught up with Allen to learn about five of her favorite shows.
LCD Soundsystem At Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado
Aug. 2, 2016
I somehow missed the boat on seeing LCD before their hiatus, so I always thought The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden was the closest I’d ever get. When they announced their reunion tour in 2016 and it included Red Rocks dates, I freaked. My expectations were unrealistically high, yet somehow met. On the first night they performed the entirety of “All of My Friends” twice because James Murphy was not happy with the way it sounded the first time. Every single person in the crowd was jumping. PURE MAGIC.
Middle Kids at Lost Lake Lounge in Denver
Feb. 28, 2017
Small sweaty shows are the best. No industry folks around, just a small room of fans drinking tallboys on a snowy Tuesday in Denver. I was (and still am) experiencing an unintentional Australian indie rock obsession, and the Middle Kids EP was up there with one of my most listened to albums of the year. No production, just the band playing and talking to the audience like we were in their garage. It was the kind of show that made me fall in love with live music in the first place.
May 28, 2016
If you know good music and you’re from Kentucky, it’s very likely you consider Jim James a local hero. So as a fellow Louisvillian, it’s pretty much in my blood to be a huge My Morning Jacket supporter. I won’t lie, it took me seeing them live in 2011 before it hit me, but man did it hit me hard. Fast forward many My Morning Jacket shows later to the first night of their two night Red Rocks run in 2016. Hands down the best show I have ever seen in my life. Not only did they play all of the classics, but they also covered Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone” and closed the set with a emotional cover of “Purple Rain” (just one month after Prince’s passing). Followed by an encore opening with “Highly Suspicious” and “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream” Pt. 1 and Pt. 2?? I would have died happy that night.
First Aid Kit at Sasquatch Music Festival
May 24, 2014
My girlfriend and I were on a three week road trip through the Pacific Northwest that summer and Sasquatch was the final event before we hightailed it back to Denver. I had been wanting to see them for years and for the first time in my life, I was literally moved to tears at a show. It was fucking FLAWLESS.
Chromatics at The Mid in Chicago
July 19, 2013
Chromatics was one of my favorite bands at the time. I was in town for Pitchfork Music Festival and this was a surprise after party that indeed caught me by surprise (thank you Urban Outfitters you trendy fuckers). The Mid isn’t exactly the most fitting room for them, but in a weird way it made it even more special. It was a tight squeeze and when Ruth came out in a shiny dress playing the guitar, you’d be lying if you said you didn’t feel the energy shift. Or maybe you were too busy drooling. Either way.