To Do Or Not To Do, Showcase Gigs

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Dave44, May 14, 2003.

  1. The band I play in just finished a showcase gig last night. There were lots of people there I'd say about 200 - 250 so a good crowd. It's to bad the only reason they came was for the free food and drink. As soon as the draw for the free swag was finished they split on mass. By the time our band played ( we had 5 Bands providing the entertainment) only a handful of the people were left. It's to bad for the folks because all the bands were great, we hung around to support the 2 bands that were left to play, they deseved it. I know these things never play out and I don't why over all these years I've never learned my lesson, but our booking agent put it together and we owe her our support. All I know is the next time this happens it had better be 6 months from now because the taste is still bitter in my mouth from last nights exercise. But it is fun and a learning experience to watch and chat with your compadres, swap stories and to find out what some of the futer gigs as far as crowds and rooms go. Also the sound man did a fair decent job tryin' to mix 5 diffrent bands, we had celtic rock to blues so a wide variety of tunes. Like I had said to bad for the people who missed out on a good group of bands giving there all.

    On a positive note the owner of the bar was very happy and wants all of the bands schedules, possible bookings we can only wait and hope.
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    What do you mean by a 'showcase' gig? One with lots of different bands or one with lots of different bands where you don't get paid cos "you'll benefit from the exposure"?

  3. Yes, the kind where you play with lots of bands but don't get payed, because of the so called exposure we didn't get. But like I said we may get a gig or two out of it so that's a good thing.
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I wouldn't make a habit of doing it - you're not exactly paying to play, but you've got to take the time and expense of getting there. I guess it's okay if you're in a bit of a lull or are a new band looking for gigs...

    Next time the subject comes up, why not look back and see if you gained anything measurable from this experience?

    BTW, the only 'showcase' my band has done was very poorly organised. We expected to do about four songs as part of a night of live entertainment (albeit with most people singing to backing tapes). In the end we did about nine songs, coping manfully with limiting factors (eg. one dodgy mike to share between the three vocalists) to an audience mainly consisting of a few friends we'd brought along.

    I don't think anything else happened in the way of entertainment that night - about the only thing we gained was the knowledge that this particular promoter was somebody who couldn't walk the talk...

  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I've yet to ever hear ONE, just ONE positive thing that has ever happened to a band doing one of these things. It never hurts to play in front of people, and at least you didn't pay any money.

    Historically a "showcase" gig is a private affair, when a band or a few bands (never seen a real one with more than 3 bands at a time) are playing in a reserved club for a specific set of invitees, whether they bee record company execs, or promoters and agents for a gigging circuit. I've had a few friends do showcase gigs arranged by a local agent for OTHER agents to attend, so they could assess the bands for bookings overseas.

    The monster you described typically benefits nobody but the agent and/or club owner.
  6. aaron f.

    aaron f.

    Oct 21, 2000
    Actually showcase gigs aren't all bad. I went to one at my university with about 8 bands each playing 10 minutes or so. The crowd was good maybe 150 people. I wasn't there to play though, seeing as we had just removed our vocalist and our drummer. Anyway i'm just sitting there drinkin a beer with some friends and this guy comes up to me asking if i'm in a band, I say yeah. he asks if we're looking for a singer, i say yeah. Any way long story short, turns out he's a promoter/vocalist, we check out one of his shows the next week and he hooks us up with a talented laid back drummer with great connections. So I guess the point of this story is that even though showcase gigs can suck if you're playing live it's a great way to make connections or meet other bands.
  7. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I'm with Eric. When a promoter needs to deliver a bunch of music on the cheap, they tell their bands it is a "showcase". And every time I've heard of one of these, the story was the same -- promoter talks the band into doing it, and there winds up being no one in the building anyway. Use these gigs for an opportunity to play in front of people, but don't expect anything out of them. Ain't gonna happen.

    At least be thankful you're not in NYC, where in many cases you actually have to PAY club owners for the privelege of getting their patrons to buy more beer.
  8. Showcase gigs=free publicity. If you're just starting out or need exposure, you need showcases. If you're well known, you don't need them, but it's always nice when the stars show up to their own restuarants.