Tuning In with Graham Partridge

Posted on May 15, 2014 by


Graham Partridge, who runs the box office and venue operations at The Southern, meets musicians almost nightly, but he’s only been starstruck twice.

Graham Partridge working the box office during a show at The Southern

Graham Partridge working the box office during a show at The Southern

The first time, when Pixies frontman Frank Black played a solo show at the venue, Partridge asked for a photo. “He is the only performer that I have ever asked to have my picture taken with,” says Partridge. Then, this past winter, Joseph Arthur played the venue, and Partridge recognized Arthur’s bassist as Mike Mills from R.E.M. “Andy, [The Southern’s] production manager and I, were geeking out all night. On top of Mike Mills being in the same room as us, he was as sweet as could be. He’s definitely set the ‘Mike Mills Standard,’ which every band from here on out will be judged against,” says Partridge.

The combination of performer, sound, and crowd can make for an amazing experience at The Southern. (The March 2014 Future Islands show is a standout for Partridge.) Not every show is perfect, but Partridge chooses to focus on the better ones, the ones that remind him of why he loves his job. “As someone who was pursing a B.S. in music industry from Northeastern University when iTunes debuted and changed the face of the industry, it is really gratifying to be working in my field.”

Partridge hears a lot of live music, but when he’s home, he listens to vinyl. His roommate has an exceptional turntable and stereo system, and Partridge estimates that, between the two of them, they have 250-350 records, everything from hip hop to hardcore, from metal to classic rock. He also plugs into his iPad to keep tabs on new acts and upcoming albums via NPR’s First Listen series.

“Spring is by far my favorite season,” says Partridge, “and as I write this, my favorite kind of day is happening: everything is full green and in bloom, and the contrast of the grey clouds in the sky make the greens pop.” His playlist is full of songs that conjure Spring memories of attending Philadelphia Phillies baseball games (“Walk of Life”), his family vacation in Key West in 1997 (“Gone”), and Spring sunsets (“My Sundown”).

Posted in: music, Tuning in