Gig report: Advertising matters

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Steven Ayres, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    I answered a Craigslist ad to play a pickup gig at a venue about an hour away that has just gone through a change of management and major renovation. The BL is a transplant to the Southwest from Chicago, where he'd led bands for many years. I helped him connect with some local players on short notice for a November 11 show, which was to be KC-style blues and jazz.

    The venue sent him the contract on the Thursday before the Saturday night gig. When he called about details on Friday, the manager told him the house was having trouble with permits and wasn't able to open, so had to cancel. They'd also canceled the previous weekend's concert. He offered the 25th instead, and contrary to local custom refused to pay for the last-minute cancellation.

    BL took the deal for 25th. By last Thursday we noticed that they'd failed to place any notice of our show in the local nightlife paper or even the venue website. I also noticed that the site featured another band on the 11th, a local '60s-style rock'n'roll act. I'd put the word out on social media, and I presume the piano player, who was local there, did too. On Friday we got the word that the management was worried about poor advance sales (not something people generally do for local acts around here), and expected us to bring them more customers. BL agreed this was lame.

    The venue is a defunct IMAX theater converted for dinner shows, with a pretty nice restaurant in the old lobby space. It features burlesque on Fridays. Prices were $17 for one of the three rows of old theater seats at the top of the house (with one drink), $34 for a dinner seat on the midlevel, and $68 for a VIP dinner seat on the stage level beside the roughly 50 square-foot dance space in front of the stage. We had to load from the lobby level and carry everything down the audience stairs, and I was again glad that good bass rigs have got so light over the years. Oh, and there was no marquee information out front to even let customers know there would be a show.

    House sound was built around the leftover theater sound rig behind the screen, which was used as a lighting surface. One of the co-owners, an old rock bassist, ran sound and did an excellent job of it. I played my blues upright, a Kay M-5 with K&K pickup, through my usual Little Mark II and EA Wizzy 12 for stage sound.

    The pianist and drummer, both new to me, play regularly together and were great to work with. Unfortunately, and you probably knew this was coming, when we hit downbeat we had ten people in the 150-seat house, including my wife and three supremely loyal friends.

    After all the nonsense ahead of the gig, the patron shortage was a major buzzkill for the BL (playing tenor), and he couldn't really work up the stick to make it happen in front, so the rest of us did what we could to keep the energy up. The choices of material weren't bad, and the three of us were able to focus on the music and have a pretty good time despite.

    Afterward the pianist said he was very glad to find me and wants to work me into his regular gigs. So it wasn't a total loss.

    Showtime 7-8:30, $150 cash, no tips.
    nixdad, Oddly, BassCliff and 5 others like this.
  2. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    Right on, sounds like a good pay day
    McG and Jimmy4string like this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Regular gigs! You're golden. Connections are sometimes worth more than large crowd. Good luck.
    Sore Thumb and McG like this.
  4. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    You got 150 bones, a story, and a good contact now. The place will probably close within 6 months.
    McG likes this.
  5. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Evidence photo by dear wifey. Note position of pianist's left hand after encouragement by bassist.

    w Dave Clark at Majestic 11-25-17.JPG
    Oddly, Jimmy4string and McG like this.
  6. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Well let's hope this turns into something more. All in all it sounds like it could be a pretty cushy gig, except for the long carry. If the crowd shows up I bet it could be really fun.

    Thank you for your indulgence,