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How's the club scene in your town?


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  • #31
    I live in a medium-small college town, with one large state university (UF) and a community college that partners with a private college to offer both associate (via the community college, Santa Fe CC, and bachelors degrees, acting as a satellite campus of St. Leo University).

    The result is that young adult to otherwise population, and band-musician-weirdo to normal people ratios are off the charts. There must be a couple hundred original-music rock bands in town.

    There are probably around 8-10 clubs that book original material bands, and at least an equal number booking covers probably. There's no money in the originals route, of course, unless you're Less Than Jake or Hot Water Music and thus not really a "local" band anymore. There are a small number of cover bands, maybe a couple dozen, and the top ones of those make the only decent money.

    Stylistically there's not much blues and jazz, but a ton of all different kinds of rock, from college fratboy stuff to roots to indie to emo to punk and even a small die-hard metal scene. Every new school years' start (at the end of this month) there's the Gainesville Summer Music and Film Showcase, known to locals as "Moefest" (after it's organizer and promoter) where everyone who does originals who's not away touring plays within the space of 4 or 5 days, at 4 or 5 different venues each night (Thursday through Saturday) and then Sunday afternoon the roots/altcountry bands do a BBQ show in the afternoon to wind things up. Kinda our own little mini-SxSW. My punk band is playing Friday night and my side roots rock band is playing the Sunday BBQ this year.

    In general the original bands get along fairly well, with the usual effete sniping from some of the artsier types towards some of the frattier/mainstream types, and general ignoring of the cover bands. Gainesville is kinda known for both it's college rock (like Sister Hazel, and there are several others that are similar) on one end of the spectrum, and it's punk (LTJ, Against Me!, Hot Water Music, etc.) on the other. We have a great scene website:


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    • #32
      Denver has a great scene in my opinion.

      I can, however, only speak for the punk/rock/metal end of things since I don
      Guitars 'n stuff


      • #33
        Memphis, and north Mississippi has plenty of venues, with Beale Street, all the other local clubs/bars, and all the Casinos in Tunica. Both cover, and original bands, have places to show their stuff. The cover bands work steady. We work about as much as we can, considering we only do Friday nights, and 2-3 times a month, at that. Most cover bands play for the door- $5 cover charge average, and bands with good crowds bring home $1,000 or more a night. We have a lot of bands here, but only the better ones stay around for a while. There are several open mic nights, and songwriters meets during the week.


        • #34
          Originally posted by cherri
          Northern Michigan's music scene is limping along. Enough dedicated live music venues to keep a variety of bands working, but lots of competition between bands for those venues. Lots of places turning to DJ / karaoke because the cost is less.

          Where abouts in No. MI?

          Are you sure the DJ/Karaoke thing is less costly than a band? Around here I keep hearing DJs bragging that they get no less than $500 per show and private parties are netting them $1000+, and that f'ing pisses me off because my 7 piece band is splitting $300-$400 AND we've got way more invested in equipment and practice time.

          In Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties of MI, (SW corner) it's almost exclusively cover bands. I know of only two places that host originals--White House in Niles and Czar's in St. Joe. The White House hosts heavy bands, and Czar's gets a variety of bands from blues and rock to funk and Jazz.

          The bars that host live cover bands are tiny and can typically only seat about 100. We've been able to fill all the places we play and the bar owners always push for us to come back, but I hesitate to keep going back to the same places doing the same tired old covers to the same crowds week after week.
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          • #35
            this place is a great oppoturnity to start a network for us touring bands, maybe some of you have connection to clubs in your area and would like to trade info via emails etc about different bands that could sign up and get help getting gigs in out of the coutry,in u.s.a. and canada.
            booking shows can be fun and seeing all the others bands makes great connection
            what do you think??
            my bands



            • #36
              small town, 10,000 people. Local country bar which books bar bands. We put on all ages punk shows for the kids probably every other month. 5 to 7 bands in a night. 3 to 5 from out of town and 2 - 3 local bands as openers. The local bands are all highschool bands, which are better than you may think. Kids have a good time, expenses are covered. Sometimes theres even a few sheckles left over for "renting" my PA.

              Kids get to see a lot of indie bands they never would, local bands get out of the basments and garages to play in front of a real crowd at a real show. It's a win win situation. Usually brings in about 120 - 130 kids.


              • #37
                as mentioned elsewhere, new york city currently blows dirty, dank, dangling, donkey dong.

                live music mainstays like tramps, manny's car wash, dan lynch, nightingales, lone star, chicago blues, trax, ludlow, brownies, and the bottom line all all long gone, with cbgb's next in line.

                it's a good place to be a real estate agent.... or a billionaire mayor.

                -d. gauss
                d. gauss



                • #38
                  Portland, Oregon.. The Blues, more blues, and some more blues. Same 25 bands rotating at every venue all over town. Good Jazz scene for small ensemble jazz groups and lots of cover bands.

                  Pay sucks. It was better thirty years ago. $350 to $450 a WEEKEND..

                  There is money, but it sure ain't in doing club work. We have a few big show bands getting four and five grand a gig, and some mid level bands making a grand or more, but most bands are doing the club grind..and did I mention there is a lot of blues in town?

                  I have avoided playing in the city for years, choosing instead to get paid.
                  "Do that again....Open your mouth and make your face disappear"..


                  • #39
                    I live in a pretty poor city. We have two clubs that'll book good rock cover bands, one club that'll book good blues/jazz/funk/ or soul, maybe three bars that'll book hack rock groups, and maybe three bars that'll book a solo or duo act (these are all weekends only).

                    Providence is within a 30 minute drive from here, where some better acts can be found, and Boston is about an hour away, so its not too bad.


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by GZsound
                      Portland, Oregon.. The Blues, more blues, and some more blues. Same 25 bands rotating at every venue all over town. Good Jazz scene for small ensemble jazz groups and lots of cover bands.

                      Pay sucks. It was better thirty years ago. $350 to $450 a WEEKEND..

                      There is money, but it sure ain't in doing club work. We have a few big show bands getting four and five grand a gig, and some mid level bands making a grand or more, but most bands are doing the club grind..and did I mention there is a lot of blues in town?

                      I have avoided playing in the city for years, choosing instead to get paid.

                      The Boston/Providence area is similar. Blues and jazz groups aren't going to make crap here. Some rock cover bands do ok. I've found the best paying here are Portuguese bands (huge Azorean-Portuguese population here) and wedding bands. A typical Boston wedding band can pull 4 or 5 grand for a 4 hour summer wedding.


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by fastplant
                        Alot of clubs are starting to do away with bands and just having djs.

                        I've often wondered why so many clubs around here had bands when, in fact, what they really wanted was a dj.

                        I wish there was a better original scene around here. If you want to make cash and/or gig regularly, the original scene in CT ain't for you. And playing covers can be, well, frustrating. Artistically and otherwise. Luckily, I've played out enough and have a family on the way, so I can afford to take time, do originals and play less, but enjoy it more.
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                        • #42
                          Im in a band called Fear of Heights(www.myspace.com/fohmusic) .Were a trio in the Houston Area.Were Alternative/Post Grunge,but those are basically the same.Also,we literally have nowhere to play!All the good venues are so far away from us,not to mention screamo being the dominant genre.Weve set up some shows in our garages,but thats about it.Anyone know of some good venues we could play?

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                          • #43
                            My area, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA, is unique in its club scene. Check out the definition of "swamp pop" on Wikipedia -- that's the most popular music here. I define it as a mixture of r & b, country, and rock. Most bands blend this with Top 40 covers, especially danceable music from the 70's and 80's. In fact, it's almost impossible to get booked, if you don't play danceable music.

                            The pay is decent, $100 to $175. The clubs charge $5 to $10 cover.

                            Most wedding receptions have a band, which brings $200 a man for decent bands. There are many musicians who play wedding receptions for little or nothing.

                            One nice thing about the swamp pop scene is that, IMO, it allows plenty of leeway in interpreting these old songs.

                            Originals bands don't get many gigs. I can't think of a club here that hires originals bands. In Baton Rouge, 30 minutes drive west, there are some college scene clubs that have originals bands. But these clubs are in the minority.

                            New Orleans is 30 minutes east, and although I've lived most of my life here, I know little about it. I do know that it shares some of the aspects of Austin, as far as parking. Standard pay is $20 a set, I believe, and 5 sets are typical. I believe a set is 45 to 50 minutes. Most clubs charge no cover. Instead they advertise and enforce a minimum drink limit. If a patron didn't buy enough drinks per set, the staff, before Katrina, ran the patron off.


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                            • #44
                              Wow! Talk about a thread coming back to life. Most replies are from '05. Since the time I posted on it, one of the good clubs changed hands and now only has DJ's

                              I also found out that one of the very small places that only has solo or duo acts, doesn't pay the entertainment. I actually saw an ad looking for someone to play there for free. Its gotta suck when you have to advertise to get your free schmuck.


                              • #45
                                So, where do you live, and how's the gigging scene there? What kinds of bands are the most popular, and it is fairly easy to get gigs, very cutthroat, a lot of diversity in the musical styles or very little?

                                We had a good liitle scene developing for a while. A local club manager was an active player and music fan. He had a quite active heavy music thing going for a while. He was even booking a couple of bigger name acts for a while. Mushroomhead, Clutch, and quite a few others.
                                From what I understand, the guy took a job in Cleveland (some industry capacity) and the club has been doing nothing lately. I guess he was running it for the guys that own the club. I was told they needed somebody else to run it.
                                It really seemed like he had made some progress getting a scene going in this area, but it seems to have puttered out.

                                I wouldn't mind inquiring about that job, but I don't know if I want the headaches involved. This town has some serious drug problems and a gung-ho police department. And you can guess where the focus of law enforcement is?
                                Plus, the reality that a good portion of people who enjoy the heavier music are under 21.
                                They also banned smoking statewide, and the bars have felt the impact.
                                RIP: Nite Owl Jazz