GTA- Gig Report (Showtime, Crestwood) 3/20/10
Last night we played at Showtime in Crestwood. Showtime used to be a HUGE pool hall a year ago or so and the floor where we played held at least 50 pool tables. Now its a comedy club and the bands play after the comedy show is over. The band area was 100ft from either door when we loaded in with the stage in the middle with a balcony in front of us w/the bar. The bar had a staff of 8, it was a HUGE room.
This gig came about 1 1/2 weeks ago when the booking agent contacted us saying he "needed a band for the night" so our drummer booked us and his other band to open for us (which we didn't know about) and if we did we would have declined it. His other band could have played the whole night but they wanted GTA there. Both bands have had some "issues" between us recently and why he booked both of us on the same bill with them I really don't know. We also agreed that GTA would play first since his other band doesn't draw and after an hour of them we would not have anyone left to play for. We also heard that this club has been not paying bands or shorting bands $$$, another "red flag" for us so we wrote up a contract which he agreed too sign. We told him that we just played down the street last week and probably would not be able to draw well..."not an issue" he says. On Thursday he came to the drummer's work to drop off the contract. "The owner will not agree to the amount unless we can guarantee 60ppl, the last band said they would bring in (175) ppl and they drew (4)". Now honestly, how do you under estimate by that much? So the drummer calls me and asks what should we do. I told him that we had people from the Jordan's show last week who were asking when we are playing next and now its 2 days out, its too late to cancel now. We'll just go in, expect a (%) of what we asked for and continue to build our audience from there. Thats the best we could hope for at this point.
I loaded in and set everything up and I hear from one of my bandmates that he heard that the last 4 bands haven't gotten paid at the end of the night. Great...we'll see what happens tonight then. Now I'm just hoping to gain some fans by the end of the night. Earlier we thought we were to start @ 10pm, the sound man tells me "now its 10:38pm. Right when the show exits...we start...we'll try and keep the crowd here". Ok, got it. "Oh, AND instead of playing 2 sets with a short break...play straight through (for 2 hours) without a break in between otherwise we'll lose momentum and the crowd". Thanks, I've just had 2 beers so I better hit the bathroom now then.
So we started right on cue (like on TV) and we kept a lot of the crowd mingling around upstairs, I would say maybe half (100-150). We did the same set as we did at Bobby McGees last month that went very well so I figured it was the best shot we had at keeping the crowd entertained and the register ringing. AND WE DID!!! We did so well that the other band who was supposed to start at 12:30am started arguing with the sound guy about pulling the plug on us. We only had 5 more songs to go but HE WANTED US OFF NOW!!! So the sound guy came up to me on my side of the stage and said to me "I don't know if the other band is going to play tonight, they are arguing with the owner about us infringing on their time. The owner wants you to keep playing because you are keeping the crowd here." I told him that we only have like 5 more songs, what do you want me to do? He told me to take a break after we finish this song and we can discuss further. No problem. The owner told the other band "you only drew 4 people" then he told them to go home. The other band leader has some "issues" so I think his mouth got him in trouble last night. So we stopped playing, hit the bathroom and then we told the drummer to go talk to the guy who is paying the band and tell him...WE ARE NOT GOING BACK ON UNTIL WE AGREE ON PAYMENT TERMS!!! He said he wouldn't pay us the full amount because we only drew 25ppl...BUT he would pay us $100 less that what we originally agreed upon & he said he will book us again in the near future. I heard the crowd & the staff said we were GREAT!!! I didn't think we played too well last night but hey, we are our own worst critic.
So we got back on stage, finished the last 5 songs we had yet to play...pulled out some old tunes from the catalogue and finished the night on a high note around 1:30am. Everyone was HAPPY!!! AND we gained some NEW fans. Katy had 2 guys come up to her who said they were at the Bobby McGees show!!! I told her SWEET!!! THAT'S what we like to hear!!!!
Our next show is FRI 5/7/10 @ MORGANS 18700 Old La Grange Road in Mokena. GTA heads to Morgan's for the first time ever to grace the stage with our brand of music!!! This is a GREAT venue to play, kind of has a "martini bar" kind of feel to it. We will be playing from 10:00pm till 1:30am and we will also be adding even more new music to our live show!! The show is 21 and over.
Hope to see some GN friends out at a show soon. Come up to me and let me know you read about it here!!!
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Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!
Yes Kent, at Jordan's we made more money than agreed upon both times because we brought in A LOT of people. Bada Brew was fine too. Only recently has this become an issue. The crowds in our area (Chicago's suburbs) have noticiably thinned out recently and thats why we started using contracts with bookers. This way its understood WAY BEFORE the gig what was agreed upon. My last band we ALWAYS got the agreed upon amount but they've also been around for 20 years and we played the better clubs in the area.
I post to give readers (who I'm assuming are or are thinking about playing on weekends in a band) an understanding of what its like for ME to play out in a cover band as a "weekend warrior". Those who also do what I do probably have "been there...done that" for years now but for me (I'm 41yrs old), I've only been playing out since 2006 and this is my first time really taking any leadership role in a band. I'm used to being just the "hired gun" if you will, just show up and play, but this is a good growing experience for me.
If you do ever join a band or do a "Solo Joe" type of thing and "play for the door"...honestly, the owner doesn't care how many ppl you bring in, its no money out of his pocket. Once you play for a "guarantee or a guarantee + the door" things start to change and the number of ppl you will bring into their place comes into play. Personally, I bid gigs at out at $10 per person ($5 cover + 2 drinks = $10). If I say I'll bring 50ppl its $500 flat. Also contracts help when the owner books 2 bands for the same night (never happened to me yet but it DOES HAPPEN). The band with the contract ALWAYS plays because we have it written in the terms that if we show up for the gig...we get paid the full amount. Doesn't matter if we play or not AND we get paid the full amount if we split the night with the other band too...no 2 bands = 50% pay either.
Just some things to think about before you or another reader heads out to the nearest bar/club & offers to provide "live entertainment" for them. Honestly it is a TON OF FUN playing out and even with all the B.S., it is still worth it for me to continue with the leadership role of the band although it was a lot easier to just show up and play in my last band. :)
Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!