Playing GREAT- to an empty room...

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Playing GREAT- to an empty room...

Postby jbone1 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:30 am

this past weekend Jo and i had a gig on friday night, and we did some really fine music. unfortunately nearly nobody showed up to hear it. the next night i was in with a full electric band and it was much the same. folks were either other places in town or just not out for any night life. understandable since it's so near Christmas and all.

i have seen this before of course. if you play out live for even a year you'll likely see the same thing.

i used to be very discouraged by this when it happened. not so much now. i look at the plus side of the equation: i get to play out live, the people i'm with and i get tighter, we have a great time, and in this case we were both fed very well and paid our guarantee! and we also booked back at the place when it's going to be busier for sure- during a fest coming up there in april! both the duo and the 4 piece!

my take on it is this- put out what you came to put out, no matter if it's 3, 30, or 3000 people watching. chances are you will win a fan or two, and when you act professionally, chances are this may get you another booking.
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Re: Playing GREAT- to an empty room...

Postby jeffl » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:10 pm

Hey j-bone, fun is fun, especially when music's involved. If the clubowner is reasonable he won't blame the lack of turnout on the band.
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Re: Playing GREAT- to an empty room...

Postby stewie » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:19 pm

I've played in a pub to 5 people (4 being family/friends!) and to a couple hundred - haven't made thousands yet - and as long as people are enjoying it and having a good time I always have fun. I'd rather play to a small, enthusiastic crowd that's enjoying what you're doing than a big crowd that really couldn't care less whether or not you're playing.
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Re: Playing GREAT- to an empty room...

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:13 am

The innkeeper wants the band that brings people (cash) to the bar, so do what you can to get somebody in there.
P.S (I wish you had your location listed in your profile, so we could relate better and learn about your part of the world).
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Re: Playing GREAT- to an empty room...

Postby jbone1 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:16 pm

bill- i am living in central arkansas. the nighte we played those dates, we played in clarksdale mississippi. typically it's feast or famine there, either you have a gig during a fest weekend and at least break even, or conversely, on a "normal" weekend, you take a loss to say you played in the cradle of delta blues.

i think it's harder these days to get a gig, and also to get one that pays very well. i know it's true here. i've been in this scene as a part time musician for several years now and if i break even after gas, food, maybe lodging, it's a good night.
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Re: Playing GREAT- to an empty room...

Postby stumblin » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:55 am

jbone1 wrote:i think it's harder these days to get a gig, and also to get one that pays very well. i know it's true here. i've been in this scene as a part time musician for several years now and if i break even after gas, food, maybe lodging, it's a good night.

It's definitely harder to get gigs here in the UK these days than it was a couple of years ago.
I actually blame the smoking ban. It's nice that you don't need a bath when you get home and your clothes don't stink, but it means a lot of empty room gigs, people standing outside make for a less involved audience.
Also, hardly any of the available gigs are paid any more. Bar managers only want bands who'll bring a bunch of fans (aka captive bar customers) in, so they don't care what anyone plays, just about that bottom line.
Maybe things will pick up a little way down the road, who knows?
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Re: Playing GREAT- to an empty room...

Postby jbone1 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:08 pm

what you say is a definite fact stumblin. add to that tougher drinking/driving penalties here in the usa and it's a very rough row to hoe sometimes.

it's partly for the above reasons that i have come to love either an evening patio gig at a joint that has one, or just street or farmers market busking on a weekend day. people can smoke, they're walking around, it's a lot looser. maybe not as lucrative but much better for the soul imho.

reason #1 why i do music is i was given this gift, it was no choice of mine initially. once i made a commitment to myself, the die was cast. there were many times i tried to quit playing and i have always been compelled to get back to it before long. so it's out of love for the music first, and secondly i hope to break even. but the social aspects are very attractive also, i can never get enough of making music that people respond to. and i can never get enough of being on a stage playing live with my peers and betters, having new adventures most times out.
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