Tony in Philly's Dive Bar Gig Report - Conshy Corner Tavern 5/19

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Tony In Philly, May 20, 2018.

  1. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Hey all of you TB'ers,
    I've been in this site since 2007 and have been gigging with the same band, with essentially the same personnel at the low end of the gig ladder the whole time. You know - Dive Bars, festivals, events that aren't the pricey kind. You get the gist.

    So, I guess about a year ago, while praising one of @BassCliff 's amazing gig reports I said (as kind of a joke) I'll have to send in one of my Dive Bar gig reports. Cliff, being the consummate gentleman that he is actually seemed delighted at the idea. He said that's how he got started. So, here it is - warts and all! Actually it's mostly warts by comparison, but hey why not?

    At 7:30 PM I did a final review of what I needed to bring to the gig. We all have our share so it works out nicely.

    I have a 10 minute drive through the wooded suburbs of northwest Philadelphia to get to the gig location. No scenic SoCal vistas along the freeway here!


    I pull up to the the side of the bar - perfect parking place to unload!


    Conshohocken is an old Pennsylvania industrial town that is going through quite a gentrification transformation. It hasn't hit this corner yet, but I'm glad - I love the gritty atmosphere.


    Here it is - the Conshy Corner Tavern - live music every Saturday night!


    The beer list isn't bad for a Dive Bar, eh?


    Since this is a small room with a back room with a pool table, I decided to brink a small Markbass amp - the preferred amp of Geezers (like myself) everywhere! And oh yeah - just a Mackie vocal PA - FOH would be nuts here, but naturally some bands do it anyway and the customers hate it. They run for cover quickly whenever clueless bands try that approach. So the moral is, when in a Dive Bar, keep it economical.


    I've chosen to use my Fender '51 P-Bass Relic. If it gets dinged in this claustrophobic environment, who cares? P-Bass.JPG

    Here's part of the the room layout as people start to filter in around 9 PM Prime time is always after 10 PM.


    OK, time to start playing. I'm sure @BassCliff is really envious of the Philly Tomato Pie we have off to my left. :roflmao: Actually the chef (cook is probably more accurate of a term) quit the night before and the only food they have are pretzels and chips. The pie is from an old school Italian bakery next door.

    Here is one of our guitarists, Chris, with his Les Paul sunburst and Matchless tube amp. It sounds great! Next to him is Leo, with what I imagine is a slightly stripped down kit for the small corner he has to play in. It's a challenging to play in that corner and still keep the energy but he manages to pull it off.

    Once we start playing the more "modern" stuff the younger ladies start to get more interested and begin to approach the "stage" area. That's Matt off to the left, showing off his mahogany Les Paul. We sure have the humbucker mud thing going on.

    Here's Matt being the sort of "Creepy Wireless Guy" we recently had a thread about. Of course in a Dive Bar you can do the same without wireless. So I guess that makes him the "Creepy Wired Guy". Anyway, the ladies seem to be enjoying it just as much as is.


    I think somebody hit a bum note and we're glad nobody noticed!

    End of night - time to tally it up. This is the critical part for Dive Bar owners and the bands they employ. Making your drink quota during the 9 PM to 1 AM gig slot is vital to getting bump in pay here which we did - despite the kitchen being closed all night - note the $7.50 food receipts. It's usually in the hundreds. So, I guess we can say that we sold enough drinks to compensate - that's the bottom line!

    At last I'm home and it's time for one more beer before bed. I'm always keyed up getting home from a gig.

    Sorry about the poor cell phone photography and lack of good atmosphere shots. We did OK from an attendance and positive feedback standpoint so I guess the gig worked out. We've been playing here for years and it's one of our favorite rooms because of the overall patron enthusiasm. I'll try to improve my Gig Report techniques as time goes on. I've been inspired by The Master! :hyper:
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  2. Hi Mr. @Tony In Philly,

    This. Is. Outstanding. :D

    A most excellent gig report. I enjoyed it from the load-up to the nightcap. Those little Mackie powered mixers are real workhorses. I've used them countless times on the more intimate gigs. I thought the picture of your commute was beautiful. East coast towns have such character with all the brick construction. Out here everything is all stucco, concrete, and glass. The beer list was interesting. There's a few I'd like to try. I've really been into stout beers lately but I like ambers and most IPAs too.

    Your arrangement with the "bonus" should you surpass the sales threshold reminds me of a place we used to play that gave us the same deal. It seems when the band was drinking we would always make our target and get the bonus. It's like we got to drink for free. :p

    Isn't it a little odd that both the guitar players use a Les Paul? Shouldn't someone have a Tele, or Strat, or 335? I'm sure as long as you guys have been working together that you've got it worked out. Was this a dancing or listening crowd? There doesn't seem to be much of a dance floor, but that's never stopped the ladies. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing your gig. It's pretty cool.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  3. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    I was a Southwest Philly guy myself till the 70's but have been to Conshohocken and Manayunk once in a while. Even the guy on the TV seems to be listening to your riffs ... nice cozy bar atmosphere. Chicks with tight jeans .. excellent ;)
    JeffC23, kobass, mikewalker and 5 others like this.
  4. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Hi Mr. @BassCliff,

    Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement! Yes - May is one of the best months here in the East. In a few short weeks it will be hot and muggy again! I just couldn't resist adding the beer list. I needed something to counter balance out the Miller Lite sign outside - haha!. Dive Bars are actually getting much better at serving decent beer these days - which is thanks in part to West Coast influence. I can remember times many years ago in Orange County (Costa Mesa) when I would go into a typical Dive Bar and the beer selection would still be fantastic! Needless to say, I always limit myself to three because I'm driving. That's why I get my reward when I come home!

    And yes - there is no "dance floor" to speak of. So generally the ladies just kind of dance around the bar in small groups right in front of us. What's not to love? :laugh:

    I'm glad you pointed out the bit about two Les Pauls. It's weird. :) The only band I can recall that used two Les Pauls is Thin Lizzy. Chris and Matt are both in their forties and Chris taught Matt how to play in high school, so I guess it's a mentor situation. I sure would like it if one of them would break down and use a Strat or Tele once in a while, but what can you do? Guitarists are their own breed. :laugh:

    I thought I'd throw in the bar receipts bit because in the Band Management section we've had many discussions about how our job is to sell drinks. I wanted to illustrate the thin profit margin a lot of Dive Bars are on, and how it's even a wonder they can even afford to hire bands.

    So thanks again for your encouragement, Cliff! You are The True Original of all Gig Reports and a great musician with great bands as well. Your post totally made my day!
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  5. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Nice, @dbase! Interesting you mention that. I live right near Manayunk which works well for this particular gig - just 10 minutes from Conshy. I'll let you know if we ever play in South Jersey...maybe in 10 years from now the way our "career path" is going ... :roflmao: would be nice to play somewhere else besides the north and west suburbs of Philly.
    dbase and McG like this.
  6. heatheroo1


    Dec 14, 2009
    Ephrata, PA
    I recognize that bar! When I first met my future wife, her folks lived on Hector St. Her brother still lives there. I know what bakery you are talking about too: for all family events at my place in Lancaster Co., my BIL is responsible for bringing rolls and tomato pie from the Conshohocken Bakery.

    Small world.

    For my gig report ( no pics.....), I played with some guys in Newportville (near Bristol/Croydon, N of Philly) on Saturday. I went in cold without ever meeting them. They had the gig booked and found that their bass player/singer couldn't make it. They called a singer they knew, who in turn called me and the rest is history. Gig went well and we may end up booking some gigs with that lineup under a new name. After the gig, I had to drive 90 miles home and be in church to play the 9AM service the next day.
    kwdhsk, Morrighan, mikewalker and 7 others like this.
  7. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Wow- small world indeed! Glad your gig went well @heatheroo1 !
  8. growlypants


    Nov 10, 2012
    FAN-freakin'-TASTIC!! My sister used to LIVE in Conshohocken, I grew up in Oreland, my aunt used to live in's a homecoming!!!!! Great shots, great gig, best of luck, and thanks for posting!
  9. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Thanks for the encouragement! Glad we brought back the old hood for you!!!!

    For what it's worth, I'm originally from Jenkintown.
    dbase likes this.
  10. growlypants


    Nov 10, 2012
    Very Cool. Nice to see some posts from my old stomping grounds!!!
    dbase, BassCliff and Tony In Philly like this.
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i really like the gig reports, and this one is certainly no exception. thanks for sharing the pics and play-by-plays! :thumbsup:
    Inky13, TinIndian, BassCliff and 2 others like this.
  12. heatheroo1


    Dec 14, 2009
    Ephrata, PA
    For the record, I'm from the Olney neighborhood of Philly. Moved out in 1984 and lived in Ambler for 4 years and then Perkasie (Silverdale) for 16 years and now I have been out here in Ephrata amongst the Amish/Mennonites for 13 years.
  13. That bass is BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for the report man!
    McG and Tony In Philly like this.
  14. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    Great report, Tony.

    The grey weather as depicted in the en route shots only made the room look more inviting, like a cozy drinking hole in Oregon or Ireland.

    Makes me miss pub life, bigly!

    Keep on rockin', Buddy.

    PS - sweet bass!
  15. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    Were you at the newportville inn by chance?
  16. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Cliff has inspired many of us to jump on the gig report bus. Most of us live in the small crowd, corner stage, small vocals only PA, dive bar, sports bar, Irish pub world (I have one coming up Saturday). So sharing our average gigs balances Cliff's next-step-up gigs nicely. :)

    Lemme tell ya'. That's a whole lot nicer view than many of the freeways around here. ;)

    No apologies necessary. If you've seen the photo quality in any of my reports you will feel much better. ;)

    And a tasty looking list it is! :cool:

    I've been here in Costa Mesa for 50 years. Back in my bar hoppin' days in the 70s Heineken was the highest end beer available. In the 80s that started to change. Now it seems every little neighborhood bar has a nice selection. :)

    After many years with acoustic instruments we're going through a change. My lead player has just started playing a Les Paul and the rhythm is going with a Strat. They really compliment each other.

    Me too. I love any and all gig reports. :thumbsup:
  17. ale_vanlager

    ale_vanlager Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2004
    Frederick, MD
    Wow... this gig report brings fun memories! My old band used to play that bar! They were all from Conshy, I used to take the train from University City to Conshy.... Good times!
    Sore Thumb, McG, mikewalker and 4 others like this.
  18. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. In Memoriam

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Very nice gig report! Thank you! That stage setup looks very similar to many of the club gigs here in little Sitka Alaska, a fishing town. Lots of tourists in the summer though. I never thought of putting my powered mixer on my bass amp, that's something I'm going to have to try down the road.

    Thanks for sharing! Hope to see your next road report! :thumbsup:
    Sore Thumb, McG and Tony In Philly like this.
  19. DrayMiles


    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    Wow, I didn't think anybody would ever mention Conshoshocken on the web! I'm from West Philly, so I used to get a kick seeing all of these Native American names around. I do wish Doyle's(?) was still going... Zanzibar Blue, and I'm sorry... I really wish Ortlieb's still did jazz only... :)

    Glad to see the report!
    McG, mikewalker, jnsnj and 3 others like this.
  20. Charlzm

    Charlzm Guest

    Mar 25, 2011
    Wow, six actual craft beers! If my band played there, we would drink up all our profits.

    If I may evangelize for a moment: if you care who owns a brand, you may like to know that these are not craft beers:

    10 Barrel Brewing — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Ballast Point Brewing — Constellation Brands
    Birra Del Borgo (Italy) — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Blue Moon Brewing — MillerCoors
    Blue Point Brewing — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Breckenridge Brewery — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Brooklyn Brewing - 24.5% owned by Kirin Ichiban
    Camden Town Brewery (U.K.) — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Cervejaria Colorado (Brazil) — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Devils Backbone Brewing — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Dundee Brewing — North American Breweries
    Elysian Brewing — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Fordham and Dominion Brewing — 40 percent owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Founders Brewing — 30 percent owned by Mahou-San Miguel
    Four Peaks Brewing — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Golden Road Brewing — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Goose Island Beer Company — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Hop Valley Brewing — MillerCoors
    Kona Brewing — 32 percent owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Lagunitas Brewing — 50 percent owned by Heineken International
    Leinenkugel’s Brewery — MillerCoors
    Magic Hat Brewing — North American Breweries
    Meantime Brewing (U.K.) — SABMiller
    Mendocino Brewing — United Breweries Group
    Olde Saratoga Brewing — United Breweries Group
    Portland Brewing Company (formerly MacTarnahan’s) — North American Breweries
    Pyramid Breweries — North American Breweries
    Redhook Brewery — 32 percent owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Revolver Brewing — MillerCoors
    Saint Archer Brewing — MillerCoors
    Shock Top Brewing — Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Terrapin Beer Company — MillerCoors
    Wicked Weed Brewing – Anheuser-Busch
    Widmer Brewing — 32 percent owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev
    McG, mikewalker, grinx and 4 others like this.