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Getting Gigs (In Pittsburgh)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by venturabass, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Well, my band has been together for a couple of years. We've played shows outside the city but have never played in the city and are looking to do so. My question is, what's the most effective way to get gigs, at such places? We're looking to play some of the bars and maybe open for someone at a smaller theater.

    The problem is, time is running out. Soon we will be forced to go our separate ways. If you must know, the reason for this is we're leaving for college. So yes, we are a high school band. I don't think we suck, we've been playing together for almost two years, but the gigs are a bit slow. We've been contacted multiple times by Gorilla Music and those groups, which I've shot down every time because it sounds like pay to play.

    So, yeah. If anyone has any advice, please help me out. (It would be especially helpful if you were from the 'Burgh)

  2. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Get on the phone and network, if you don't have a marketing message and you if you guys are not calling your butts off, it won't happen.

    Normally I would say forget about opening for a regional act because it's to political, but you guys can leverage your youth. Once you get old those doors are closed.

  3. Just to be clear, it sounds like nobody in the band is 21.

    Where have you been playing? (Can you get inside a bar in PA if you're under 21?)

    If you get booked at a new club/bar, how many people will show up BECAUSE your band is there?
  4. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    I'll probably take some flak for this, but you guys need a agent or manager. Someone that only has the focus of finding you gigs. Your band can then focus on the act, and the music. The agent will take a percentage (they don't work for free, hint, hint), but IMHO that's preferable to nothing. Like bluewine said, get in there while you are young, because the older you get the harder it is to find work. A good agent will steer you clear of the pitfalls that we block headed musicians get ourselves into. Like pay to play, selling tickets, auditioning (meaning, free band for the night) and other traps that venues sucker desperate musicians into.
  5. You might be right, but let's not put the racecar in front of the horse. They're teenagers with limited gigging experience. An agent can victimize the naive just as fast as a bar owner.
  6. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Additionally, reputable agents are only going to work with established and proven acts. In Pennsylvania, Media 5 will only work with certain types of bands that have serious drawing potential.

    As has been stated, we're talking about teenagers going off to college soon. There's no need to get an agent involved right now.
  7. Will we be okay just calling the place, as opposed to creating a press kit?
  8. C'mon, put a SPECK of effort into this. You're asking people on the internet to get involved.

    You're either going to A) get the gig, or B) not get the gig.

    So call them instead of create a press kit. You're going to A) get the gig or B) not get the gig.

    Or create a press kit. You're going to A) get the gig or B) not get the gig.

    Other bands competing for the same gigs are probably going to put a SPECK of effort into getting the job. They might call, they might have a press kit, they might even KNOW the guy who owns the bar. If you want the gig, you need to compete.

    If you don't care, I don't care, the bar owner doesn't care, nobody cares. YOU have to care before anybody else does.

    Good luck.
  9. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Age has little to do with it if they are good enough to gig. I'm just saying they'd be better off with, than without someone beating the bushes for them.
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    A few questions:

    Do you have a website?

    Do you have a press kit?

    Do you have a CD, video, or samples of your work?

    How much effort have you put into playing in the city? Have you talked to anyone yet?

    Are minors allowed in bars in PA?
  11. We have a website but no press kit. We have samples of our work online/CD. The question I was wondering is will places turn me away without a press kit, or can I just call them? I could make a press kit if necessary, but I'm not exactly an expert on those. I guess I just don't want to look unprofessional, which is why I came here first. Certain bars won't let minors in, this has shut us out of a few places we've tried. But certain places will allow us to play.
  12. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    Depends on the owner. Some want something physical to look at. Others, are happy to look at your web page. It just depends. At a minimum, you really should have business cards that have your website on them to leave behind at your personal visits.
  13. Personally, as you're going to disband soon, I feel like this is a wasted effort. The advice is ok, but what's your rush in playing in a city? I would just enjoy what you have now. City girls smell funny anyway (ok ok just kidding)
  14. I'm trying to have patience here but you're really pushing my limits.

    Are you seriously asking our permission to call a bar and ask for a gig? You could have done that in less time than typing this post. The WORST that could happen is that you don't get the gig, which is EXACTLY where you find yourself at this moment.

    I'll throw you a bone. Here's an outline of what you need to do:

    1. Call the place and ask to speak to the person who books bands. You'll probably have to call back when he/she is working. WRITE DOWN the person's name. It's obvious, but easy to forget to do.

    2. Talk to the person who books and ASK THEM what they want. Website? Press kit? Physical CD? Emails? Videos? A pile of cocaine and keys to a Ferrari? No matter what, you say "No problem, we'll get that to you."

    3. Deliver what they asked for. If you meet them in person, be charismatic, engaging, make eye contact. Be honest but optimistic - "the glass is half full". Don't say "Some other bars shut us out because we're not 21". Do say "We take our band seriously and never let alcohol interfere with our performances."

    4. Hope for the best. You will either A) get the gig, or B) not get the gig.

    5. Rinse and repeat 100 times. If you get 10 gigs out of 100 contacts, you're off to a very good start.

    Good luck. Get off the internet and CALL A BAR. :bassist:;)
  15. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    gigs in Pittsburgh for teen bands in all ages shows? :rollno:... your not looking hard enough...gigs don't come to you you must go to them.

    My Friends in Common nightmare never had a problem playing weekly if they really wanted to.
    I would try the Smiling Moose, Mr' Smalls, Grims, Harringtons, 31st st pub, Royal place, oh god the list is endless....

    Also if you go to Washington/Cannonsburg/California/Greensburg/Imperial basically anywhere 1/2 hour AWAY from the city, your chances are even better and if your good, the PAY is also better.
  16. Alright. Thanks for the help everyone. Already helped me lock up a gig, hopefully more to come.

  17. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    what band are you in and what part of the city?
  18. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
  19. ForSix


    Jul 22, 2008
    Your problem is a sales problem. This is how you sell something.

    a) Identify the customer's need;
    b) Get him to commit that if you can fulfil his need, he will hire you;
    c) Demonstrate how you can fulfil his need, using examples that differentiate you from your competition;
    d) Ask that he hire you.

    I don't see how you can fulfil step c) without a press kit or something like a demo on your website.
  20. I was going to mention the same places. I know though that the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern is absolutely OVER 21. Pittsburgh is an interesting town to gig in, that's for sure.

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