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Alternative performance venues


Billster

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Other than the bar circuit, coffee house, or hiding in the lizard lounge, where have y'all played gigs?

 

At the library?

 

Grade school assemblies?

 

Town historic society events. My community has an old colonial building that they have restored and use as a social hall for "period" nights and things like that.

 

Town or county fairs?

 

Art galleries?

 

How do audiences at these type of events compare to the stereotype bar crowd? More receptive, more disinterested?

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Originally posted by Billster:

Other than the bar circuit, coffee house, or hiding in the lizard lounge, where have y'all played gigs?

Besides bars? A couple of art galleries, a cinema and a few squats.

 

The squats were pretty much like bars, the art gallery people mostly pretended we weren't there and the cinema was pretty much a dream come true. We were playing as a warm up to a showing of Fritz The Cat :D

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Good subject Bill!!!Yes I have played lots of different places over the years and I assume those opportunities are still available? We used to do alot of ski clubs and social clubs like PWP and CYL parties. Car clubs, van social clubs and motorcycle clubs (NEVER had any problems at all) with the bikers. The condo or apartment owners associations hold large parties in their occasion halls too. Around here the car companies hold large events too and there is a procedure associated with getting your demo recordings heard by them.
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The senior centers like to use music for therapy. No Metallica, but they really like it when you play some songs from the resident's youth (30's and 40's popular stuff - simple, fun music).

 

Town rec centers are cool. Sometimes you get those "tweeners" that are too old to hang with the parents, but too young to drive someplace really cool. ;)

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I play a lot of Do It Yourself (DIY) places.

Some of them have been "squats," which are basically abandoned houses or buildings that have been taken over by one gang or group or pseudo-organization or another. Those can be very enjoyable shows... the environment can be kind of sketchy, but the crowd is almost always enthusiastic and supportive.

 

I have also played "warehouse" shows, which basically involves someone (or some group) renting part of (or all of) a warehouse for a night or two and putting on a show. Those shows are also a lot of fun.

 

Then there are "coffee house" shows... which are much the same as bar shows, except there's no alcohol. Those audiences are also great.

 

Then there's "house parties," which are essentially shows at someone's house. Also fun.

 

The operative factors for playing at these places are:

They're all-ages, so the younger people can come to enjoy the music. Younger people are more enthusiastic.

The people are there to see a show... not get drunk and socialize... so they pay attention to the bands more.

There's no "rules" about how long your set should be or much of anything else... you can get pretty loose and do whatever you want with few restrictions.

You almost always get a great meal and meet cool people.

You almost always get a free place to crash.

You almost always sell product.

You don't have to deal with booking agents, asshole bar owners or nasty bouncers.

 

The downsides?

The sound is usually pretty lousy or half-assed.

They tend to be disorganized.

The other bands aren't usually too good.

You may not make as much money as a guarantee or from the door.

 

But.... like I said, the people are there for the music.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Originally posted by Billster:

What's a squat? Is that like a private house party?

I'm sure you have them in the US.

 

A squat is an unused building that has been "occupied" and now serves as free housing for hippies/punks/etc. At least until the courts get around to evicting everyone.

 

I'd LOVE to do stuff to a big screen. I'm really interested in stuff like that, actually. Alternative ways of writing. I've heard of bands that concentrate on a photograph and then make music accordingly and so on. I really should play some DVDs with the volume down. Thanks for the idea.

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Bill, I believe this topic which you started ties in very nicely with a quote from one of the other threads:

 

Originally posted by Billster:

[qb]

 

How about discussing ways to improve both our own musicianship and our ability to broaden the audience for what we consider to be better than what is popular?

Alternative venues/performance concepts could be the key
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My first gig was for an Arts Festival my highschool throws every 4 years. They invite all manner of professional, amateur and hobbyist artists, writers, musicians, etc. to perform and/or run clinics in their area of the arts. The list of previous performers/presenters is impressive. Instead of classes we were required to choose a certain number of activities and provide proof we'd attended those performances/clinics.

 

They audition bands to play in meeting rooms in the cafeteria during the lunch hours and my band was fortunate to get a spot.

 

A few years later, my next band's first gig we played from the stands at a highschool basketball game. A bit before the game and during half-time.

 

I had a standing pickup gig playing songs from the movie before (and sometimes during) midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I remember loading out in sub-zero weather. My fingers almost froze to my mic stand. That same gig my own bass player stole a beautiful, leather camera bag I was using as a gig bag, along with my microphone and other accessories and disappeared. :mad: (Thanks for reminding me, Bill!! ( :) )

 

Another band of mine played our town's summer-fest that took over most of downtown, too.

 

Those are probably the strangest venues I've played.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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Oh! I haven't played it, but I've mixed several years for bands (actually, for the soundco's providing production) during the Music City Marathon.

 

Bands of many genres play on 26 or so stages along the route.

 

I know there are other cities that have rock & roll marathons along the same lines, but I believe Nashville's was the first of this concept.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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My last band was a favorite at Borders books.

 

I love alternative gigs, like Light Up Night (which just passed..) First Night, lunch gigs in corporate squares, park gigs, opening for the movies in the parks in the spring and summer, various festival gigs, corporate and charity events, yeah, and the marathon gig...

 

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Coffee Houses, parking lots, city parks, any place else that wasn't being watched to closely. In the right locale, setting up on spec and playing for contributions and product sales can make you some money. It might also get you arrested if you don't get the necessary licenses, but if you do it right, it can be a way to get public exposure and make a little money. It might also be a way to expose the public to your style of music and build an audience...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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My partner Pantha on ewi and me on fretless electric guitar play standards and also originals but we really do it all in an experimental style. We've been happiest lately at this studios/gallery spaces place we found where the owners have been nice patrons to us for a few months. The type of event dictates whether the audience is passing by or sitting down, and we've been able to rent and/or borrow the theater space for a recording project we've been working on. It's been a good fit for our kind of music.
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Slightly OT, but I flashed on the live music for a silent film, and it reminded me of a laser show played to the soundtrack of Dark Side of the Moon(my fave from the enhanced reality days). In Tucson, they used to do this every Saturday night at the Flandrau Planetarium at the U. of A. - incredible sound, fabulous lightshow. If something similar comes your way, don't miss it!
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Originally posted by Hound Dog:

Festivals

Around here, we have at least a dozen festivals running any given weekend in the summer. Church festivals, art festivals, Lions Club festivals, town festivals etc. are all fun. The big one in Milwaukee is Summerfest where they have upwards of 20 stages running 12 hours a day for 10 days straight.
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Originally posted by Billster:

That's the idea Caputo ;):thu:

I have been racking my brain on this topic of Alt. Venues for a while.

 

Please keep this context in mind that This is within the context of being an unsigned, non-corporate act/artist

 

Mainly it's due to my frustration of being seemingly "enslaved" to a clubowner's whims of what he thinks the set list should be

 

OR

 

being deemed successful by how much alcohol rung the registers.

 

This frustration also stems from when the band starts cookin' and stretching out into some uncharted territory, the club boss, notices people aren't drinking, but actually enjoying the music, but later tell you the crowd wasn't into it because .. . . .

(people quit buying alcohol and were actually listening and enjoying the music)

 

Look, this post is coming from a recovered alcoholic/druggie, and even though i don't partake in that stuff anymore, I fall short in countless other personal areas, O.K.?

 

I mean music and venues has to mean more than how much booze the band sold or how much the club owner likes your set list--- Right ????? I hope so .

 

Again, This is within the context of being an unsigned, non-corporate act

 

Or if not in a Bar, being too Loud or too "intense" for coffee houses or restauraunts as i have been lambasted for before in the past.

 

So what is the way out of this pattern?

 

The answer is not simple, obviously

 

So I was thinking of a strategy on local levels

 

This is pure idealism at the moment and I can see how this could be deemed as unrealistic or "dreamworld"; but as the old saying goes,

  • The definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way expecting different results"

 

Get like minded musicians together to put a local album of quality tunes whether collaboration or solo, intrumental or vocal, etc . . .

Really combine funds to go to a killer engineer so it's not some ghetto-ized local-yocal "we're the boys from around the block and we're here to play some licks . . ."

 

For the low cost, get a basic to free website with the album downloadable free of charge w/ downloadable CD jacket artwork so they can make their own

 

Get on local radio or community/college radio and show up to promote the website/CD every week.

 

Find some other ways of getting the buzz and announce that you will do concerts upon demand free of charge

 

Here is where the alternative venues come in to play

 

rent a playhouse or some cool local type spot and serve beverages, etc . . .

 

Once it builds up, come out w/ a new CD and concerts and start charging

 

The main problem is to find musicians who DO NOT put expediency above principle (good luck)

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