I have been booking shows for a few years now and I’ve seen my scene back home in Sacramento flourish but I can see other things that are happening everywhere that could potentially cause us to diminish. Please let me advise you on what not to do to keep your scene going.
1. GO TO LOCAL SHOWS!!
Sure it’s great to see your big name favorites but they had to start somewhere just like your local band you see playing at your local punk house or bar. This is a no duh piece of logic. For you to have new music you must be open minded to your local bands. if you have not gone to a local show you are missing out!! There is so much great music often over looked because a big named band is in town. In no shape or form am I telling you that you are an asshole for wanting to go see your favorite band but why not save $100 bucks and save the beer money and check out your local acts. Trust me Green Day will not miss the money as to where a local band with DIY integrity still in tact is struggling to keep their merch and tour money going. You may be missing the next big thing and so might the world of you don’t support local artists and go to their shows and speak of their awesomeness. Plus there is nothing like being around a real punk show in a tiny room with a bunch of drunken jolly fuckers ready to mosh with you share a few beers and give you the sense of kinship that I feel you can’t find anywhere else. I miss my Sacramento punk haven Cass De Chaos and all my buddies I met there. It’s one of the best parts of my life and it could be one of yours but your missing it by not looking into your FaceBook local event page and checking out these kinds of shows
2. WE NEED ALL AGE SHOWS
There is probably nothing more annoying to me than not being able to bring a younger friend who is itching to get into their first punk show but then get carded at the door, ” Sorry kid can’t let ya in “. It’s beyond me why we keep losing all age venues when we need the young crowds to carry and spread our scenes music to all their friends and have them learn about both what’s new and some older bands that make our music scene so great. 21+ shows do have good booze and no you don’t have to deal with that one kid that thinks Black Vail Brides is the most hard core band they ever heard but I implore you to believe me when I say that is not true for many of our young punks and metal heads. Even if it is it’s our job as elder punks to show them good shit. I myself am a late bloomer and started going to shows way late but of it wasn’t for my friends that sat me down and let me hear good quality punk and metal bands and expand my library of music I would not be as happy as I am today. Please if you do not have any all age venues MAKE ONE. Get together and figure out houses willing to host a show or find a center or restaurant that is willing to do a show. Check into veterans halls or anywhere! It’s not easy you have to keep noise complaints from happening if you don’t properly set up notice with neighbors or don’t set up your pad to keep sound inside. I will discuss how to sound proof your shed or basement and how to keep out door shows from getting too crazy and avoid getting the police called in a future article. This also helps underage bands get the experience they need to prosper and if you book it at your house you may have a little laundry money after paying off your bands.
3. PAY THE FUCKING BANDS FAIRLY
Sure, being a local musician or promoter you are probably not rolling in the dough. You want to make sure you can get a cut to cover expenses for promoting or setting up the show but don’t be that dick that keeps a majority of the money and then makes 3 bands split $30 bucks. It is insanely difficult to be a struggling musician trying to keep your band in gas money and keep any instruments or props (costumed bands like mine have the extra expense) in good shape. They spend weeks practicing and making sure they get as many people to come see the show they deserve to be paid. Let’s not forget merch most bands use their last pennies to make patches, Cds and vinyls, stickers and shirts to help aide their efforts. So please if you go to a show and like a band get some of their stuff. It would be a cool memento that you can look back at and you can see if they ever tour with Gwar later. However if it’s a benefit show ask the bands how much they are willing to give of their cut for the cause.
4. DON’T BE THAT GUY…
Hey I have done it a few times where my friends band helps me get in for free but mind you I have been helping promote bands and keep the scene going so it’s not as bad as the guy who NEVER does anything to earn getting in free. They don’t share or promote your event to your friends. They don’t pay for their own beer. Definitely won’t help load in or out and won’t stay for every band. This person is only in for a free good time. There are usually at least 2 per band at every show. This takes away money to pay the bands and the promoter and definitely doesn’t help pay the venue. If we want good shows we have to have people willing to pay. “Money is For Posers Man!!!!” No money is to keep bands playing dude! So bands if you know someone like this please tell them they have to attract help bring more paying people in or help film clips of the bands to promote future shows or tell them no! However free shows are a good promotional tool to get people out for the next paid event
5 DONT LEAVE ALL THE PROMOTION TO THE PERSON BOOKING THE SHOW.
” Ah hey it’s their job I’m not good at that kind of thing I’m too busy”
Fuck that! No more excuses. You guys have people you want to hear your music and friends who aren’t going shit on Friday and Saturday nights. Get up and spread the damn word. Social media is one of the best and new ways of promoting new music and new shows. Make a post with a link to your music and the event page spread it everywhere regardless of it being in the right facebook group and invite everyone even people you think might not be interested. Who knows your Grandma may be proud of how you sodomize puppets on stage or sing about how our government is fucked. The promoters tirelessly share to ever online forum and social edit page they can and some maybe posting flyers. Do what you can! print the flier go to bars and other shows and pass them out. If your doing a show on Friday with a band that has one going on Saturday announce that shit! Go to your local college radio and tell them about your show and maybe see if they will play a few tracks. It takes everyone apart of shows to keep our scene going.
There is so much good music you can find in your local scene and on everyone else’s local scenes. Support it! If you are tired of played out mainstream bullshit or wanna see what’s new get out there. Next article I’m going to be discussing bands I recommend from my home town Sacramento and bands o recommend in my new home in Richmond VA. Don’t miss it they could be playing sometime and somewhere near you.
Nikki Knight writes for Capital Chaos TV and promotes events through Spewline Productions and currently based out of Richmond, Virginia.