Late Night With Seth Meyers Gets Less Musical

Jimmy Fallon turned Late Night into a hotbed for new music, mixing established artists like Justin Timberlake and Drake alongside buzzier bands like the Julie Ruin and Parquet Courts. It looked like Seth Meyers would continue this trend when his first week featured performances from Kanye and Brad Paisley as well as up-and-comers A Great Big World, but it seems that the new host isn’t eager to continue the tradition established by his predecessor. According to Billboard, the show has imposed a limit of two musical performances per week. This puts it on par with Craig Ferguson, but behind Fallon’s new show, David Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel. It’s only a month into Meyers’ run as host so things are bound to change, but it makes sense that the former host of Weekend Update would be more comfortable with politics and news than music. Apparently, the Fred Armisen-led house band that includes members of Les Savy Fav and featured Marnie Stern a few weeks ago was going to just be a DJ before they recruited Armisen at the last minute.

It probably won’t be a big deal in the long run — Fallon’s taking advantage of his new position with appearances from bigger artists like U2, Lady Gaga, and Tim McGraw, but upcoming guests include Ty Dolla $ign, Vampire Weekend, and the National so it’s clear Fallon isn’t abandoning his indie roots. Even Meyers has had appearances by Lo-Fang and Iggy Azalea, but it’s a shame that the late night world seems to be losing a reliably strong showcase for newer artists.

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Comments (14)
  1. What a freaking square. Cancel this tool.

  2. Does anyone even give a shit about late night shows anymore outside of the music?

  3. You know what just hit me when reading about this article? A lot of people have forgotten Conan is still on, as he isn’t even acknowledged along the likes the rest of his late night competition. Conan’s TBS run had a good selection of musical acts at its start, but it’s not a show I see music sites like this one continuing to cover the previous night’s guests anymore.

    As for Meyers, if I want funny + political + news + occasional music, I’ll just watch Colbert.

    • true, i used to catch a bit of conan for years but completely forgot he was on. maybe if he booked a lot of good bands and stereogum posted links, people would still care about him.

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      • Looking through those links and at his upcoming schedule of guests, a lot of the bands he books are really folky / Bonnaroo-ish type indie rock bands as opposed to his first two seasons where you could see trendier (Coachella-esque?) indie bands. Not really my scene in that regard, but I’m sure he’s funnier than Seth Meyers, who — even though he’s also a Massachusetts boy like Conan — has always rubbed me wrong as a funny guy for the preppy sports-politics-and-craft-beer type crowd of the state.

        • I’m outing myself here, but I remeber seeing Conan in the crowd at a Widespread Panic show in the mid-90s, which makes sense, as I’ve heard that he’s kind of a jam-band guy. I mean, not that the host’s personal tastes are necessarily the biggest harbinger of who the guests are going to be, but that memory came back to me when I read your comment, M_. There seems to be some correlation there.

      • Dammit, I accidentally upvoted this dumbass comment.

  4. I’m bummed about this change not so much because of the buzz bands as for the cooler 90s bands Fallon would showcase. I always loved seeing acts like the Plan or Mark Kozelek or the one-time reunion of Jawbox because those are the kinds of bands that would only get booked if Fallon really wanted them to play. It was endearing, and made for a lot of good performances.

  5. Did anyone watch SNL during the “Digital Shorts” era for Seth Meyers? Late Night is a graveyard for him to tend until he squanders into obscurity. Armisen is slumming it, IMO.

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