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The Chicago Music Scene

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by dvelcich, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. dvelcich

    dvelcich

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    Hey guys, I was just wondering, in your opinions, where the best places to play heavy music in Chicago are.

    What places already have a fan base so my band wouldn't just be bringing our friends and fans in?

    Do they pay up front, or do they give you the door? Do they take a cut from the door?

    What do they want to see from you before you play? Demo? Press package?

    Anything along those lines, or anything else you guys consider important, that you can give me any info about would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. lankyloo

    lankyloo

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    This is all from the perspective of an originals band, so if you're a cover band, I've got no idea of that scene.

    I think the absolute best place for heavier music is Reggie's, but it is a big place and you'll have to work for a while to get started.

    In general you are going to be playing for your friends and the other bands' friends to start off with. Most of the places I know with built in crowds, like Cole's in Logan Square, are pretty hipster friendly, and not as into heavy music. Some places you should look into booking are the Mutiny and Empty Bottle, which are good places to start off building up a gig resume. The Beat Kitchen is also a good place to start, but I've hardly ever gotten paid there, since they take a lot off the top. I've always had a good relationship with Quencher's, which is a pretty low-key place that is fun to play with a built-in crowd in the front room, though not sure if they'd respond to more metal stuff. Another place that has been good for us is the Ace Bar in Lincoln park. Small room, but great sound system. If you're looking to get some first gigs, I'd also check out Phyllis' on Division.

    For pay, you'll typically get some portion of the door if anything. For getting the gigs, have music up on a website and you can email the booking agencies directly. The Chicago scene in recent years has really moved to using booking agencies for even the smallest clubs, so you'll be dealing with them in general, not the bar or club.

    Hope this rambling helps some.
  3. dvelcich

    dvelcich

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    It helps. Thanks.

    Yes, we are an originals band too.

    I've noticed that about the booking agencies, and I hate it. We played Reggie's through a company, and they guaranteed 300 people for a show with six bands, but we had to sell tickets in advance. My band did the work and sold 60 tickets, but when we got there, not only was there only 75 people, there were only three bands! The others dropped out and weren't replaced.

    I called the woman who set up the show, who was supposed to be there to overlook the whole thing, but she ended up being in TN! She sent some underling there just to collect the money and run.

    That's the third one of those companies I've worked with, and they've all been bad experiences. They never live up to what they say they are going to do on their end. They just want you busting your a$$ on the street making them money.
  4. thudfromafar

    thudfromafar

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    I haven't done a lot of rock gigs, and it's been a year or two since I've done them. But we did just fine without any agencies. We also didn't play the big places like Reggie's. I could see needing an agency for a place like that. But by the time you hit Reggie's, you're probably already pretty big, right? At least locally.

    I remember The Mutiny being a pretty cool place. You don't get paid much there (if it all), but it's a fun place. There was a good amount of heavy music there.
  5. Carl320

    Carl320

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    When I was in a metal band in the area, we played JJ Kelleys (Lansing) occasionally. We also played at O'Malleys in Alsip (which I believe has since closed). Those were my two favorite places to play.

    Other places we played were the Night Cap Lounge (Irving Park Rd) and the Jefferson Tap (Melrose Park). Granted, we weren't any big name band, so it was mostly us playing gigs with other friends' bands. We also didn't play out very often either.

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