Booking Gigs on Weeknights?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by winstongerd, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. winstongerd


    Jun 29, 2012
    Hey, would like to get your advice...thanks for reading.

    First, why are guitar players such a pain in the ass? Even the nice ones give you grief.

    Anyhoot, so my original rock band has been gigging around our metro area for the past few years. We haven't really gained much of an audience, but we are always well-received and our friends come out to support. One specific club in town is more top-tier than the rest of the dives, so it's a little harder to book, and definitely comes with street cred when you are able to score a gig there. I've played this venue dozens of times over the years, but only a few times were on weekend nights (thurs-sat). After a few months of sending booking requests, I finally get an offer to play on a monday night. My guitar player doesn't want to take the gig, because it's a hard night to draw in friends. True. But this venue isn't going to offer a weekend slot to a band who can only draw 20 people on our best night. We've played there before and literally had no one show up, even though we promo-ed the hell out of the gig.

    So, do we take any gig that comes our way? Or, do we hold out for better nights?

    PS. We're an original rock band so $$$ is few and far between.
  2. Biggbass

    Biggbass Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    A monday night gig covers a couple of basses for the venue.
    1) it gives them a chance to try you out and test your draw on a night that is usually a low biz night
    2) it gives them a chance to pull in some people on a night that is usually a low biz night and make some sales.

    If you don't draw in the peeps, then the venue knows that a weekend booking with your band will be a money loser.

    Other than that, which is all weighted towards the venue's benefit, IMHO a Monday night gig is a total waste of time for the band, especially if your fans won't come out to hear you on a Monday.

    We play Thurs-Fri-Sat only and reserve Fri-Sat for venues where there is a built in draw that we can add to with our fans.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    The venue needs to cover their asses as well, your guitar player can pout all he wants but nobody just shoots to the top, you need to cut your teeth like everybody else. Who wants a friday night band with no draw?

    One of the big clubs here gives you mon-weds, if you do good there you'll get a thursday, if you can hold a thursday they will give you one night on the weekend and if you can hold that they will give you a full weekend which pays quite well.
  4. winstongerd


    Jun 29, 2012
    My personal view is that we get a little press from playing out, get to play in front of the other band's fans, and usually this venue has a headliner that is on a national tour. Are Monday nights really a waste of time?
  5. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    If none of you guys have to get up for work the next morning, I'd say go for it.

    If you do, then you have to decide if it's worth going to work on no sleep in order it to keep a foot in the door at this venue... and especially if you are not getting a guarantee of $ or God forbid it is pay-to-play.

    The weekend warrior cover band I'm in would reject a Monday night gig out of hand because of what it would mean for our day jobs Tuesday morning... but you are in a very different situation (as you were considerate enough to make clear from the outset). It sounds like your driving criteria are #1 exposure and everything else is secondary. So yeah you'd probably want to take it.
  6. Take the gig and blow the roof the off the joint!!! Even if the joint is empty, play as if it was sold out.

    EDIT: If your original band is really good, take every Monday, and word will get out and Mondays will become a happening night. If you’re not confident - just quit.
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    In your shoes, I'd only want to take that Monday slot if the band were confident we could get a crowd out. In general, playing to crickets on a Monday night won't make management want to book you for a Friday/Sat.
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    Monday nights can be the kiss of death for originals bands here in Milwaukee. I can't speak for your Metro area.

    If it's a test for your drawing power I would pass on this gig.

    The " Just play every gig " methodology does not always work and could actually harm your band.

  9. famousbirds


    Aug 3, 2009
    So much depends on the market you're in.

    This was pretty much my experience in Seattle, where there's a ton of excellent live acts and promoters can afford to be extremely cautious.

    Here in Honolulu, not so much. Our first show was headlining on a Saturday night, and landing Fridays and Saturdays is not too difficult with even a minimal rep.

    Your style has a lot do with it as well. 90% of bands out here play ska, reggae, or punk, so doing something different makes it a lot easier to stand out.
  10. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I would suggest doing originals and slipping in some covers until word of mouth catches on I personally find it tough to listen to an originals band unless they are really,really good and if your guitarist is still concerned about your friends being there you aren't ready.
  11. And now you don’t take the offer?

    Question: As an original band, what is the goal - is it just for fun and dreaming without really putting into it everything you’ve got - or are you all in?
  12. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    That, to me, is the best approach for new originals acts.
    Im taking this approach myself with my new band. Ideally I'd like to have a set of originals and 2 - 3 sets of covers. This way we can break in to coverband territory and make some money while still playing our own music.
  13. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    Take the gig and have fun! Better yet, hire a videographer and produce some good videos for your promotion. If this place is truly more upscale, having video proof will be great for your bona fides. Then when you approach lower scale venues, name drop this place and use it as psychological leverage to book more gigs (which you apparently are having trouble getting).

    P.S. The great thing about video is the watchers never need to know how empty the venue was. Just like those senators and representatives giving rip roaring speeches to an empty chamber. It's all for the electronic record. :)
  14. pushbuttonfour


    Dec 20, 2012
    You win the unapologetic bass pun of the year award.
  15. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hi Matt,

    I think it depends on the market.

    At the end of the day in Milwaukee club gigs are dead on Monday nights. It might be different in the OPs metro area.

    In Milwaukee were even seeing a decrease in clubs and bars booking on Friday nights. And here the only way an originals band would get booked at PJs would be to become a cover band.

    The approach you mentioned is a good approach, where it will work is another story.

  16. Robdrone


    Jul 27, 2012
    Lancaster, PA
    Seriously though, if the headliner is a band that you've heard of (like a national act on an off day for another tour, or a more established local band) I'd say take the gig. Other wise it may not be worth the effort.

    In the original bands that I have played in we wound up turning down more shows at those kind of venues than we played. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but sometimes you gotta pick your spots. My brother seems to have a sixth sense about these things so I usually leave those decisions up to him.

    Like others have said you do have to start somewhere, but playing for nobody is even worse in a big room.

    Good luck!
  17. MrFred


    Mar 25, 2007
    Honolulu, HI
    some of my best gigs were on a weeknight... and i play in a death/black metal band out in honolulu. as long as you are confident that you can draw people, you'll be alright.
  18. and now we know why your band can't get people out to see you.
  19. 3l3phantstomp

    3l3phantstomp Doesn't Welcome Our New Overlords

    Jun 6, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    There's a difference between playing any gig and playing any night. Would you rather play the club on a Monday or the street corner on a Friday? You got what you asked/spammed for months for. If you've been asking for a steak and got it on a Monday, eat it on a Monday. You guys can play to your friends in your basement/backyard/house and everyone saves money on booze, gas, and parking. If you end up being the guys they can depend on in a pinch for a National Act playing during the first part of the that not great?

    Any port in a storm. As others have said great opportunity for a live recording/video shoot. Also a great opportunity to get to know the staff/management/sound guy in an environment that isn't bumrushed/overbooked with bands. SLAY IT. Or just spend monday night on Talkbass 8itching about your guitarist and our cover suggestions.
  20. Gravy4001


    Jan 9, 2012
    I say take the gig. You've been asking for one and they're not going to give you a weekend night for your first show anyway. You have to work your way up to that.

    So unless Monday's happen to be some crazy party night in your town, the club management is not going to expect much of a crowd anyway. When nobody shows, you can easily chalk it up to being Monday night.

    And if this is a big name club, play the show and now you can list it in your press kit as a place you've entertained. Nobody has to know it was a Monday night.

    Who is the headlining act, anyone we know?