Metropolitan Entertainment’s Ian Noble began his love for music behind a drum kit. In his early days in Vancouver, B.C., Noble used to drum for a number of alternative and punk bands including Modernettes, The Actionauts, Go Four 3, The Metros, The Hip Type, Spunk, Paper Dolls, and Hard Poetry. The prolific player spent a lot of time securing his own gigs and caught the eye of AEG Presents’ Mark Norman who worked for Perryscope at the time.
“Mark was so impressed with my hustling abilities that he hired me to book shows for him,” Noble told Amplify. “I had no real experience as a talent buyer, but I was a young hustler and he thought that I would do a good job of booking new talent for the company. I’ve been riding the wave ever since,” Noble said.
Noble has worked as a talent buyer for Delsener/Slater Enterprises in New York, Concert Productions International in Toronto, and served as the Executive Producer of SummerStage in New York, where he helped organize the performing arts festival that comprises over one hundred music, dance, theater, comedy, film, and family programs presented in Central Park and multiple other parks throughout the city.
Now Noble plays the drums on the side when he’s not booking shows as the Senior Producer at Metropolitan Entertainment.
“My days are spent communicating with booking agents, artist managers, other industry people, and Uber drivers about what’s going on in the live entertainment world,” Noble said. “I’ve cast a wider net in the last couple of years and have been to several conferences and festivals around the globe in places like Taiwan, South Korea, Hungary, Spain, and France as there is pretty much a market for everything in New York.”
Noble is currently working with his fellow Canadian brethren on the country’s 150th birthday celebration. Ottawa 2017, the organization in charge of the year-long celebration, is tasked with creating 12 full months of big, bold, immersive and moving experiences that will compliment national celebrations and annual events and festivals.
Amplify caught up with the international talent buyer to hear about five of his favorite shows from his 28-year career in the music business.
Cheap Trick & AC/DC at Paramount Theater in Portland, Ore.
Aug 31, 1978
I’d seen Cheap Trick open for KISS and AC/DC support Aerosmith, so I already knew both bands could deliver live. The show was general admission, we arrived early to get in line and got seats in the very front of the balcony. Cheap Trick had just released Heaven Tonight and was riding high with “Surrender” on the radio. Their records were well-crafted power pop songs, but live they were another story. They had the melodies, a touch of humor, but first and foremost they totally rocked.
AC/DC went on first and to say they also rocked is an understatement. Bon Scott strutted on stage like he owned the place and they began playing “Live Wire.” The bass started hitting those eighth notes and then there was this sonic assault for the next 60 minutes as they cranked out songs like “Problem Child,’ “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place To Be,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” and “Let There Be Rock.” Looking back, AC/DC was fully formed artistically and most of their classic songs were already in their set. It was just a matter of time for the world to catch up with them.
The Smiths at Parc des Expositions in Paris, France
Dec. 1, 1984
I was drifting around Europe and while in Paris saw a poster for a Smiths show. A friend back home had recently tipped me off about their first album so I decided to check them out. I didn’t really know what to expect, but within the first minute I was sold. They had that certain je ne sais quoi — and not just because they were in France. Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke stood motionless on stage and played very intensely, but they were so cool they didn’t have to move. And in the center was Morrissey. He did his quirky dance, carried the now-famous flowers in his back pocket, and had the crowd transfixed for the entire show. This charming man indeed.
Jane’s Addiction, The Pixies & Primus at PNE Forum in Vancouver, B.C.
Dec. 10, 1990
Holy triple bill, Batman! I was a concert promoter by this time and it was a fertile period for live music, as evidenced by this show. All the acts were formidable but Jane’s were in their own lane. I vividly remember “Mountain Song” where Perry Farrell sang “Coming down the mountain…” and the audience totally lost their minds. The entire place was one big swaying body. My heart beats faster thinking about it all these years later.
Tool at City Center in New York, N.Y.
May 19-20, 2006
One of the creative benefits of promoting in New York is that artists often want to do unique, underplayed gigs. A call like that came in for Tool so John Scher and I brainstormed and proposed City Center — a venue known primarily as the home of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. After much negotiation we got the green light and the result was transcendent. Tool is ultra-powerful in an arena so in this theater it was unparalleled. The show went off without a hitch by the way; the venue was not destroyed by rabid fans. The only snag was the ticketing system crashed during the on-sale due to the high demand. Sorry Alvin.
The Big Quiet Appel Room at Jazz Lincoln Center in New York, N.Y.
April 10, 2016
I’m always looking for new, interesting event ideas and this was one thing I had never presented before: Silence. The Big Quiet is a mass meditation embellished with music and spoken word, and we sold out two shows in one day on this occasion. We’d done a couple of these prior to this one but this was the most impactful due to the majesty of the venue. The back wall of the Appel Room is 83 feet high and made entirely of glass with a view of the Manhattan skyline and Central Park. This show is clearly a sign of the times —people want to disconnect electronically, but they still want to connect communally. Namaste.