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  • Bars that insist you play an open mic night to be considered for booking

    There's still a few of these in our area.  What is surprising is that a few of them are actually very desirable places to play.  In the past we've never done those, contending that we don't play for free unless it's charity, but now we're considering one of them...This is notably for our coverband, not originals.

    Any experiences with this?

    As it stands, my only experiences were with my former originals band, and every single one of those experiences was bad- mostly it was a disingenous attempt to get more people to the open mics.  Even in situations where we clearly killed it and slayed whatever crowd was there, we never once got a booking out of doing it.

    Sig Fail

  • #2

    IMO it has to be a place we REALLY want to play to have us do that. When we 1st started Ostrich Hat A new bar in the area was demanding we come and play their OPEN MIC night before they would even think of booking us. (they were pretty rude about it)

    Their attitude changed when we started booking at every other place around them. 

     

    There & Back Again did something similar to that at the Pig Pen in allentown a few years back which led to.....

     

    NOTHING.

    It was one of those sunday night play for an hour gigs to a crowd of 7. I hope you guys have better luck than we did. 

    www.ostrichhat.com

    Comment


    • Kramerguy
      Kramerguy commented
      Editing a comment

      jeff42 wrote:

      IMO it has to be a place we REALLY want to play to have us do that. When we 1st started Ostrich Hat A new bar in the area was demanding we come and play their OPEN MIC night before they would even think of booking us. (they were pretty rude about it)

      Their attitude changed when we started booking at every other place around them. 

       

      There & Back Again did something similar to that at the Pig Pen in allentown a few years back which led to.....

       

      NOTHING.

      It was one of those sunday night play for an hour gigs to a crowd of 7. I hope you guys have better luck than we did. 


      Well I guess around here, the clubs that do it have always done it that way, and the ones I mention specific to the cover band ARE places that are considered desirable to play, or a step-up from the local bars.  We might do this one as a test run and see what happens, like I said- I never did it for a cover-gig before, so I was wondering if there was at least a higher ROI than with the related originals side of it.

       

      My originals band fell for that "pig pen" model at the croc rock up there in allentown.. we were told there'd be HUNDREDS if not 1000+ of people there, including industry reps and agents, etc...  and OH the opportunities it would lead to...so we played for free to the bartenders for about an hour.. was probably the worst gig I can recall.  Sadly we shared that tragedy with no less than 15 other bands between 2 different stages that day.  Never again.


  • #3

    One more step towards "nobody gets paid" hell but that's where the "industry" is going so flip a coin and don your asbestos long johns   .


    "We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us" - Walt Kelly​

    Comment


    • Easy Listener
      Easy Listener commented
      Editing a comment

      Are there people out there that still do this primarily for money? We get paid, but mainly for the work (setting up and breaking down). It covers expenses. I've never played with a musician that did not have a day job, though sometimes that day job was music related (teaching, etc.)


  • #4

    Yeah we have those in Dallas to.

    You NEVER know what might come of any opportunity.

    There are SO AMNY Bands out there that we just aim at getting a toe in the door.

    Once we do we just play like there are Thousand people in front of us: if something comes out of it great!

    You just have to take whatever opportunity comes your way Brother.

    There are a LOT of Flaky bar and Venue owners and if they can get FREE entertainment they will do it all day long.We are a NINE PIECE and just getting everybody together for a "maybe" is a total Bitch: but it comes with the territory.  Worse case scenario "You may burn us ONCE ..But not a second time"

     

    J.B

    www.jonnyfortunato.com

    Comment


    • #5

      Sometimes worth it, particularly for duo/trio acts, or bands just getting started; especially if it is a desirable place to play, or if you band's style or the size of your market mean that there are few ideal venues for you.

      For established acts, especially in larger markets, it doesn't make much sense.  This is one reason why "play our open mic" places are often seen as for marginal acts (or they're simply pikers).

      I can imagine the GFY look I'd get from our drummer if I suggested he haul his kit out to play for nothing.  Even if there were already a kit & backline and we were desperate for the gig, they'd get 3-4 songs tops.  If they can't figure out we're good in 15 minutes, another 15 minutes isn't going to change their minds.

      If you think the venue is just jerking people around to get attendance at their open mic, just talk to some of the existing talent.  "Did you guys play the open mic there?" is a perfectly reasonable question.

      ____________________________________________
      The Homebrews!http://home.bellsouth.net/p/PWP-rupertamp

      "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." -Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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      • #6

        I've been asked to audition...play a set....but not too audition at an open mic.

         

        The only way I'd do it is to get a verbal that if the buyer likes you, then he has to be able to book you (or say no) that night. No put offs or call backs. Do a couple tunes and ask for a gig.

         

        I have gotten gigs from auditions. Now that I think about it, although I haven't done many, I've never NOT gotten a gig from a band audition. Probabbly cuz they were real auditions, not a nut massage for a free gig.

        "Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work" - Gustave Flaubert

        Comment


        • #7

          Kramerguy wrote:

          There's still a few of these in our area.  What is surprising is that a few of them are actually very desirable places to play.  In the past we've never done those, contending that we don't play for free unless it's charity, but now we're considering one of them...This is notably for our coverband, not originals.

          Any experiences with this?

          As it stands, my only experiences were with my former originals band, and every single one of those experiences was bad- mostly it was a disingenous attempt to get more people to the open mics.  Even in situations where we clearly killed it and slayed whatever crowd was there, we never once got a booking out of doing it.


          Do you think there is a correlation between playing originals, rather than playing covers, at an open mic and not being booked back?

          Comment


          • Kramerguy
            Kramerguy commented
            Editing a comment

            New Trail wrote:



            Do you think there is a correlation between playing originals, rather than playing covers, at an open mic and not being booked back?


            Absolutely yes.  With playing covers, it's all about song selection, crowd interaction, and stage show.  All true with originals also, but more focus is established on the originality of the band, songwriting, and even the wardrobe- depending on what kind of music is played.  Original bands are far more preyed upon for "free" work than cover bands, and considering that an originals project is looking for places to play- it unspokenly dictates to those who would profit off them that the band cannot produce it's own following (else they would rent a music hall and sell tickets).

            The cover band is (or at least should be) more about entertaining people and selling booze.  Original acts play far more places than bars.  I'm using the cover-band analogy in aspect to bar bands.. corporate and wedding bands are a different animal.

             

            Which brings up showcasing.. even cover bands have to showcase for corporate and wedding gigs.. so whats the difference?  A bar band can be likened to that by showcasing at the open mic, right?

             

            (disclaimer) At this point, I'm just playing devils advocate to see all sides and everyones personal beliefs on this-


        • #8
          Years ago I had a bar approach me with the open night psuedo audition for gigs type of thing.

          I countered this: if we did the open mid thing and he booked us for a future gig that night, we were cool with it. But if he decided that he didn't want to book us then he was to pay us $100 for the open mic show.

          He declined of course. But after that most of the bands did exactly what I did. This guy just wanted free entertainment but after all the other bands started proposing what I did the guy just shut the place down claiming that everyone was against him, lol. I claim that as a victory.

          Comment


          • Blackbird 13
            Blackbird 13 commented
            Editing a comment

            Crownman wrote:
            Years ago I had a bar approach me with the open night psuedo audition for gigs type of thing.

            I countered this: if we did the open mid thing and he booked us for a future gig that night, we were cool with it. But if he decided that he didn't want to book us then he was to pay us $100 for the open mic show.

            He declined of course. But after that most of the bands did exactly what I did. This guy just wanted free entertainment but after all the other bands started proposing what I did the guy just shut the place down claiming that everyone was against him, lol. I claim that as a victory.

            Nice way to handle it.

             

             

             

             

            I play for free for charity... otherwise, I don't get the idea of working for nothing. It's like telling the club owner/booker that you want to come in and sample the food and beverages, and if you like it, you'll come back.


        • #9
          Yup.

          NO SIGNATURE FOR YOU!!

          Comment


          • Piano Whore
            Piano Whore commented
            Editing a comment

            Seriously, where will it all end? Drawing straws to see who has to give the club owner head? That sucks!


        • #10
          Nicely played!!!


          NO SIGNATURE FOR YOU!!

          Comment


          • heath_eld
            heath_eld commented
            Editing a comment

            I play open mics with my duo (well... we've played two or three) mostly for fun. We're not really at the same level as many of you guys.

            2 of them "almost" led to gigs with the owners approaching us and asking for our cards etc. One of them would have come to something if we'd been organised and been prepared to accept a very low price. 

            It was a hard one - a pub we really liked in the middle of nowhere. But because it was middle of nowhere, they only had a small crowd, which wouldnt really grow because they had an unheard of covers duo (i heard about the same time that they booked another band, advertised the crap out of it, and had 2 people there). Felt sorry for them, but it had to be worth doing for us. This place does do ok in terms of selling food and drink, but just doesnt have a live music culture. 

            We've got a baby now (the duo is me and my wife) and we simply dont have time to chase gigs and they have to pay for a babysitter. As i said earlier though, because we're "not quite" professionals, even though we both do the odd professional music work here and there, it didnt really matter to us what came of the open mic night. 


        • #11

          One of my bands did it once. But we were new in the area, it was a Thursday night, and the only thing we needed to bring was our instruments. It was easier than setting up a rehearsal and we had an audience.

          We considered it a win-win.

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