August 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Rolling Stone‘s Concert App Is Sort of ‘Meh’

rolling stone on the road ios android appRolling Stone magazine, once home to Hunter S. Thompson and now home to Matt Taibbi, has a concert finding app, Rolling Stone: On The Road, whose title tips its hat to every beatnik’s and hepcat’s favorite book. It has been available for some time on iOS, but was recently ported to Android, so we thought we’d take a look. This helpful app makes it easy for music lovers to get their live music fix without much hassle — but there is some hassle, and these days, that’s too much. We just want to go, man, go!

The first things to stand out about Rolling Stone: On The Road (free for iOS and Android) are its simplicity and ease of use, with a fast load time and straightforward layout. The main menu lets you search for concerts near your location, or read up on the latest concert news from RollingStone.com. For a more lean-back experience, the app also uses your location to list all the concerts that are happening at music venues within a 25-mile radius of your current location. You can adjust this distance if you’re willing to travel a little further, a la Dean Moriarty.

The app lists bands that are playing within the next few days, or you can jump ahead to any date for future concerts, tapping through to buy tickets for whatever you want. You can look up listings for a specific artist, venue, or city… but should you have to?

Apps like Songkick already know what you like without you having to come out and say it. With Rolling Stone: On The Road, on the other hand, you have to mark your favorites manually, by searching for them or finding them on the calendar.

Also, the search feature doesn’t always work right; some artists or venues need to be spelled perfectly, otherwise they won’t turn up in the results. In our testing, it took a few spelling attempts to find out what bands were coming to T.T. the Bear’s, for example. The app does link to the venues location on a map — but it would be nicer if it also linked to venue and artist websites.

The concert listings are fairly complete, and include the individual bands playing each night so you can “favorite” the ones you want, even if they’re not the headliner. However, on top of the lack of automatic musical preference detection, there’s no way to make certain venues your favorites, so you’ll have to keep searching for them manually each time you want to see their listings.

Meanwhile, the Concert News section plays to Rolling Stone‘s strong suit, authoritative articles. Indeed, it offers up headlines from RollingStone.com and lets you read them without exiting the app. It’s a neat addition, but not as inclusive as Rolling Stone’s actual mobile site.

Finally, the app crashed a couple times during our testing, and the search function occasionally failed to find anything, and needed to be restarted by toggling back to the main menu.  If you have a trouble keeping track of where your favorite bands are playing, or if you just want to check out a show this weekend, this app will get the job done, but we’ve seen better.