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Venues, scene, covers/originals
#3032205 03/08/20 09:29 AM
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J. Dead Offline OP
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The title was the best I could do at summarizing this discussion.

Our beloved moderator DB bestowed me with the "bannination free" moniker years back because once upon a time, I framed up an ancillary to this discussion incorrectly that in hind site, was political and I want to make sure everybody knows up front that it is absolutely not my intent and I want to ask everybody before posting responses to make a conscious effort to keep discussion related to factors affecting us as musicians and how to deal with them as they exist, not political opinions about why or how to change. Clear?

Believe it or not, the coronavirus discussion made me think of all this. I realized being in St. Louis that there are things that affect me much more that may not ever enter the mind of somebody else, and vice verse.

St. Louis Detriments:

Bad weather - when it's hit, it's humid, when it's cold, you never know rain/sleet/ice/snow. Beautiful parts of Missouri but not around the city. Cool parts of the city, but not widely advertised and.....

Crime - some of the worst crime in the country....welll if you wanted a couple blocks the wrong way. St. Louis music scene is fragmented because even local residents have weird rules like not crossing a certain highway because they view it to Ben dangerous in that part of town. I could go into great depth but the music scene that I grew up considering having "made it" if you landed a gig there doesn't exist anymore. Totally fragmented.

Positives:

Talent - great group of musicians, compared to what I see on here in much larger markets it just seems there is a lot more passion and effort. Maybe because there is still a crowd spending money not to mention radio station support. You can make money in a ban if you play your cards right.

How about your town/scene. I'm guessing some places have seasonal challenges, others dealing with DJ's/pop culture, etc.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3032223 03/08/20 04:09 PM
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Bellingham has more than it's share of talented musicians.
Like the city itself, the music scene is on a smaller scale. Lots of smaller venues, very few large venues and oveall, the city itself is not a place where we play often.
This is a college town with a State Uni, community college, technical college and a Native college. Lots of students go away for summer and come back in fall.

Outlying areas keep our duo busy, with an occasional band gig in winter (slow season).

We are blessed with wonderful summers, warm but not hot, humidity is rare and pretty mild and it doesn't get dark until almost 11pm. We can have incredible rain storms in summer, sometimes they arrive quickly.
The band gets more opportunity in summer, lots of outdoor gigs including large annual outdoor parties. We book quite a few of these the day of the gig for next year.

Mix of original and "covers". One of my original songs is our most requested song. Our lead singer/strummer knows an absurd numbe of popular songs, ranging from classic country and blues to decades of pop, a bit of funk and we are known by our Friendly Neighbors to the North (who come to Whatcom County in droves come summer) for playing a selection from the Tragically Hip - one of Canada's most revered bands.

We don't have a list of songs, we don't have a set list and we rarely practice. Very common to play requests on the fly for the first time ever. We also don't worry about playing "just like the song", it has been our experience that people want to hear a good groove and the chorus and the rest simply does not matter at all.

Beginning of the first set is always a variety unless we get a notable response, then we focus on that genre more and get the dance party going.
Ain't nobody getting rich around here but we stay busy and have fun!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3032497 03/10/20 01:29 PM
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It's a remarkably vibrant music scene up here in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. Local bands are always busy with plenty of venues to play at around town and the surrounding area. I've been in a number of bands and done some other music gigs since moving here in '91. My observation is that guitar players (and there are some very good ones around) far out number other instrumentalists and also most bands are fairly "old school" with the music selection and performance. These are interesting days perhaps in the difference between current popular music and what bands can actually play in that while popular music appears to be heavily sequenced/synthesized most bands are still primarily guitar based classic rock/blues/funk focused acts. Regardless, bands are overall doing pretty well at keeping busy.

The last band I was in actually did focus on doing current pop hits for a large portion of the set list and I was enlisted for my keyboard and sequencing skills. I'm certain they were the most popular band in the area as we commanded a higher price than any other band I know of and always had a sound company on hire. I enjoyed playing in the group and we did some amazing gigs but things began to change for me after I got married and I needed to take a break from the busy band schedule.

Currently my wife and I do a duo act which is a lot of fun. I'm putting together some backing tracks for us and I expect us to keep doing this for quite some time.

Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3032545 03/10/20 03:57 PM
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I know a guy named Josh who moved back to St. Louis very recently. While he was here in DC, he booked a lot of shows. With him gone, the type of shows that he booked in DC has dropped, not surprisingly. A music scene is dependent on a handful of individuals working hard to book venues and artists to play at the venues, etc. I doubt he will cross paths with the OP though in St. Louis, as Josh's thing was harsh noise, experimental stuff, metal, performance art, etc.

DC doesn't have just "a" music scene though. It has a bunch of music scenes, with a bit of crossover between them. The punk scene that DC is notorious for is still around. Jazz continues to thrive, thanks to the CapitalBop site and crew: https://www.capitalbop.com/. It helps that the CapitalBop folks don't play jazz politics - no "real vs. not real jazz" nonsense - if there's something jazz related happening, it goes on the calendar, no debate. Various neighborhoods have their own open-mic events. There's a hiphop scene. There's an Old TIme FIddling scene. There are cover bands. There's an Ethiopian pop scene. It goes on and on.

Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3032609 03/10/20 07:05 PM
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Fourteen years ago I moved to a great job and great company, but pitiful music scene. Small town with very few venues and small group of musicians. People here just don't patronize live music. The better music scene is 90 miles away in a large city but it's too far to drive and there's no way to avoid driving over mountains in winter weather. I do know some musicians up there, some of them are on KC.

You can't get gigs in this town unless you are playing songs that are on local radio - classic rock, modern country, or hiphop. Yawn... Anything else and you get deer in the headlights. I am one of four competent gigging keyboardists in a 60 mile radius, there are way too many guitar players and most of them don't work well with keyboard players.

When I first moved here I checked out the local bands and narrowed down to two that I would seriously consider working with, and I'm fortunate to be working with one of them. Now that musicians are learning who the "new guy" is, I got some offers but I'm very happy where I am. No it's not sophisticated music but the band appreciates a good keyboardist, I make good money, and the band members are great to get along with.

Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3032687 03/11/20 03:36 AM
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J. Dead Offline OP
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I think one big result of the shift here from a localized hub downtown for the best live music, to very scattered venues that are decentralized, is that you have to pick your entertainment for the night and stick with it. When I was younger, you could head to Lacledes Landing not even knowing who you were going to see. People would skip bar to bar hearing a variety of bands in the process, including a mix of cover and origional bands. Now you have to choose where you're going to go and who you're going to see for the evening unless you want to be hopping in your car driving all over town, or racking up a bunch of Uber fees all night.

Some newer venues have popped up supporting original music, but they tend to be smaller touring acts as opposed to local music. The busy season tends to be thanksgiving through New Years. In the summer, bars are dead. Locally you shift to municipal "summer concert series" and festivals locally, or road trip to Lake of the Ozarks for gigs, since that's where a lot of people go. But that's all strictly cover gigs. Wineries are good for solo/duo work, though there are a small handful that have full bands. Casinos are pretty solid year round.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3032700 03/11/20 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
I think one big result of the shift here from a localized hub downtown for the best live music, to very scattered venues that are decentralized, is that you have to pick your entertainment for the night and stick with it. When I was younger, you could head to Lacledes Landing not even knowing who you were going to see. People would skip bar to bar hearing a variety of bands in the process, including a mix of cover and origional bands. Now you have to choose where you're going to go and who you're going to see for the evening unless you want to be hopping in your car driving all over town, or racking up a bunch of Uber fees all night.


That's a really good point. When I was spending a lot of time gigging in Cologne, there were a ton of clubs, all within walking distance. And you had good public transportation, so you could bar hop, get as drunk as you wanted, and not even need a designated driver. I loved hearing all those different acts.

Seems like Madison, WI is kind of that way. During the "Between the Waves" conference/festival that showcases a ton of bands, the venues are still a bit spread out, but it seems to be a more concentrated scene than most places.

Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
GovernorSilver #3032807 03/11/20 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
I know a guy named Josh who moved back to St. Louis very recently. While he was here in DC, he booked a lot of shows. With him gone, the type of shows that he booked in DC has dropped, not surprisingly. A music scene is dependent on a handful of individuals working hard to book venues and artists to play at the venues, etc. I doubt he will cross paths with the OP though in St. Louis, as Josh's thing was harsh noise, experimental stuff, metal, performance art, etc.


Just saw a post from Josh asking friends for their takes on hosting shows "during this time of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19"

The responses seem to be evenly split between "COVID-19 is serious business, not hosting any more shows" and "This virus thing is BS, the show must go on!"

Reduction of these small venue (probably in someone's house or even apartment) shows would affect original music acts more than cover bands, I would think.

Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3032861 03/12/20 01:04 AM
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The Austin scene, as far as I can tell, is still pretty active. There's an issue with downtown rents becoming too high for clubs. Also there are so many people living downtown now in high-rise condos, that there's a residential push-back against music that's too loud. Gentrification is a huge topic - for music and clubs and brew pubs and such, it's means new locations opening up in areas that are early in the gentrification shift, while the older locations have out-priced the older venues.

At the top, 'tho - there's such great institutions like Austin City Limits (both the show and the festival) and SXSW, the Moody Theater, UT-sponsored shows. The Red River district is still a bit like a real scene with at least a dozen clubs all in walking distance - you can bar/band hop still. Downtown on weekends, the place is crazy with kids roaming around, knocking their brains out on electric scooters, clubbing and imbibing and generally carryin on.

There are also more sedate venues opening up in the surrounding area at the endless number of outskirts and beyond breweries and festivals like Willie's 4th of July Picnic which now is held at the F1 racing track Circuit of the Americas a bit southeast of town. I remember the first Picnic, so yeah, I'm old enough to be Willie's son.

Musicians are still for the most part broke and young and repeating all the age-old script of the extremely rare successes that rise out of the enduring masses of getting-nowhere-but-what-the-hell-I'm-still-young participants.

nat

Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3033078 03/13/20 02:15 PM
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Thanks to COVID-19, seems like all the DC music scenes are shutting down. My buddies and I had tickets to see National Symphony Orchestra Sat. night - that got canceled.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...2-6342-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html

Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3033393 03/14/20 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
Iroad trip to Lake of the Ozarks for gigs, since that's where a lot of people go.


Friends of ours have a house on the lake and we go down a couple times during the season, we've been looking into booking a gig at one of the places there.

Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3033436 03/15/20 09:44 AM
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J. Dead Offline OP
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Larger bands that draw a good crowd, H. Toads and Shady Gators are both good places to play. I used to fill in with a band that played H. toads every Labor Day, Memorial Day, and July 4 weekend, which was nice. They'd pick up a hotel room for the weekend and give each member 3 $25 meal vouchers in addition to playing 3 days in a row with only one set up and teardown.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Venues, scene, covers/originals
J. Dead #3033771 03/17/20 02:29 PM
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My only committed gig now is the duo with my wife, I believe she and our hosts have inquired at Nautifish and a couple other places. It doesn't matter that much to me, I stay away from the booking side and, to be honest, I'd just as soon relax and have fun when we're down there.


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