There's no doubt that Gotye is on a big rise: The video for "Somebody That I Used to Know," the first single off the Australian pop artist's latest album, is going gangbusters, racking up more than 121 million views on YouTube since it was posted last year.
Yesterday brought another indication of the singer's exploding popularity: His long sold-out April 12 show at San Francisco's Independent was moved to the much, much larger Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, increasing the potential size of the audience from 500 to 8,000.
"I've certainly never seen anything like this before," says Allen Scott, executive vice president of Bay Area concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment, which is handling Gotye's performance. "We've moved a show from the Independent to Mezzanine, or from Mezzanine to the Fox Theater, but certainly never from a 500-capacity venue to an 8,000-capacity venue."
The change was made possible by the recent booking of Gotye (pronounced "Gauthier") on Saturday Night Live. Both Gotye and Another Planet had desired to move the show to a larger room since his rise began, but the initial April 12 date -- the Thursday before Coachella's first weekend -- meant that most local venues were booked.
With Gotye set to perform on SNL April 14, he was forced to reschedule the S.F. show anyway, due to rehearsal demands in New York. The singer decided on a new Bay Area date of April 18 -- which means Kimbra, the New Zealand artist who is featured on "Somebody That I Used to Know," will no longer be opening -- and a new, massive venue.
Now, the main question is how tickets will sell. Gotye's new album, Making Mirrors, hit No. 9 on the Billboard 200 this week, and "Somebody That I Used to Know" is at No. 5 on Billboard's latest Hot 100 singles chart. But he's still new to the U.S., some TV performances have been dull (see below), and it's not clear whether he can pull off a captivating live show inside a cavernous space like Bill Graham, which usually hosts major rock concerts, throbbing raves, and big-time pop artists.
There's also the possible confounding factor of Gotye's SNL appearance the previous weekend. The show's recent focus on booking underdeveloped Internet sensations like Lana Del Rey and Karmin has seen some artists winning a lot more negative than positive attention from their performances.
Scott, though, sounds confident. "There's certainly an overwhelming demand," he says. "We knew it was bigger than the [roughly 2,500-capacity] Fox. He wants to make sure as many people can see him as want to see him."
And how much more can Gotye expect to make by performing at Bill Graham? Scott wouldn't give details, but he offered a hint: "I'll just say it's 16 times bigger than the Independent. Now money doesn't always correlate to that, but it's orders of magnitude bigger."