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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj Bring Their Beef to Bay Area

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 3:47 PM

  • Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File
Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj dominated music news headlines a few weeks back with a massively inconsequential Twitter beef. I'm going to assume you already know the details of their disagreement because we live in a vapid, meaningless world where bullshit like that clouds our newsfeeds (and because I don't feel like writing it out again), but if you don't you can read about it here, or here.

But what's interesting to me is that just a few weeks after the two stars tweeted some snide remarks to each other they are both slated to play the Bay Area tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 14.

Swift, who later apologized for her part in the beef, will be at Levi's Stadium (68,500 capacity) for two nights and Minaj will be at the much-smaller, out of the way, Concord Pavilion (12,500 capacity). It's not an apples to apples comparison, but I reached out to Cameron Papp at Stubhub to see how much it costs to see each of the Twitter warriors live in concert.

The cheapest ticket you can get your hands on to see T-Swizzle is $135, but on average Swift fans are dropping $269 to see the "Bad Blood" singer. Minaj's show is far more affordable, with the cheap seats going for only $31, and the average seat to see the "Anaconda" singer being $112.

Tickets Sold on StubHub:

Taylor Swift at Levi’s Stadium:
Low: $135
Avg: $269
High: $1,782

Nicki Minaj at Concord Pavilion:
Low $31
Avg: $112
High: $1,595

There's a variety of reasons Swift is the hotter ticket: music style, a kid-friendly image, race, etc. But the reason I'll be going to see T-Swift instead of Minaj (unlike some other writers for this publication) is her songwriting abilities. 

When I first heard Swift I was in a van with three other hardcore kids and my then-girlfriend. We were touring North America, stopping at DIY venues, basements, and squats along the way to play shows to 25-100 people and make some trouble. We were zooming down a road that paralleled one of the Great Lakes at 90-100 mph in Canada when my older brother and then-girlfriend turned on Swift.

I was pissed.

I was a hardcore kid, completely disinterested in the country-tinged pop of Fearless, Swift's second studio album. I noted in my tour journal (published in Maximum Rocknroll, the historic local punk zine) how much I despised their song-picking abilities and dozed off.

Years later, when my band and relationship fell apart, I was heartbroken. The people and musical adventures that made up such a big part of my identity were gone, but Swift was still there. And on second listen, I started to connect with the themes in her songs; the unrequited love of "You Belong With Me," the I'm-over-it vibes of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," and nostalgia of "Holy Ground." And the songs themselves, beautifully crafted pop tracks fit for the radio but also intimate enough to crack the hardened shell of a punk kid, started to become regulars on my playlists.

The deeper I got into T-Swift's discography the more I enjoyed her song- and lyric-writing abilities. And I didn't care if my punk friends made fun of me, either. I bought a poster and T-shirt at Walgreens (one of the first times I bought a band shirt outside of a show or I threw a punk show in my garage for my 22nd birthday where I, of course, played Swift's "22" right alongside bands like A Global Threat, and one of my tough, middle-aged skinhead friends scoffed and made fun of my song choice, much in the same way I did years ago in Canada.

But today, my Taylor Swift poster is still on my wall, and I'm known around the office as the guy who's willing to defend the singer even after she apologizes. Maybe that's because I see Swift's music as pop songs with real substance — more than a flash in the pan to be forgotten with time. Or maybe it's because when my teenage life fell apart those songs helped me get through it and I have some weird, embarrassing, and biased connection to them. Either way, when it came time to choose what show to go to tomorrow, my choice was made a long time ago.

Throw shade balls at me on Twitter about it (@MattSaincome). #TeamSwift
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About The Author

Matt Saincome

Matt Saincome

Matt Saincome is SF Weekly's former music editor.


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