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What would you do in this situation?


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I have been playing a gig steadily for the past year. I just received an email from the manager of the club telling me I lost my regular gig but will offer a slower Saturday night spot and a first call when someone cancels. Of course there are new requirements. Here is the email.

 

"Wanted to touch base about fall semester. As you know I have been contracting - verbally- with you on a Semester basis about playing the every other Tuesday night gig. I am going to be changing some things around for fall Semester, which incidentally starts on Monday. This is also when I have to look at **** ******* contract as well.

 

I have had A LOT of requests to have **** play more often than his present twice a month schedule - from mostly the TTU crowd.

He leans more to the country side, and is very energetic and upbeat, which apparently is popular. I have tried over and over to get **** in to Spankies on the weekend but with no luck. He is booked in Knoxville quite heavily with his other band and his solo gigs. I am going to be moving **** to play every Tuesday night at Spankies, starting with the semester change - this coming Tuesday the 30th. **** travels every Monday to Nashville to write songs with some folks up there, and to get exposure in Nashville. It is a very good fit for him to handle the Tuesday only thing as he drives by Spankies every Tuesday anyway, therefore making it basically all profit as he is making the trip anyway.

 

I want to expand on a few things here.... You are a VERY talented musician and guitar player. This decision has nothing to do with "talent" - you are definitely top notch. Maybe even the very top! It does however have to do with style, and also with what the people want. Your style and stage presence is very calm, "studio" like. It is not my place to define you as an artist. I can tell you however, people like ***** ***, **** *******, and **** *****, are very successful at getting the crowd into it. They play in a very upbeat style, continually conversing with the audience, and getting the party started. Its all about fun at this point.

 

What I have to offer you, if you are interested:

 

If interested, I can offer you a booked Saturday gig every month. I can also offer you first call if I get a cancelation. This should net you the same amount of gigs at Spankies each month - banking on 1 cancelation a month. This is assuming your boat dock gigs on the weekend will start to dwindle as it gets colder, and your Saturdays will become more open. As you know Saturday's are a little different then Tuesdays at Spankies. Saturdays start as an older crowd that gets younger as the night goes on. You have to work hard to hold a crowd- people have to be having fun.! I don't have to work real hard at this point to get a crowd on Tuesday's. The $1 drafts and two for one Jager bombs and twenty years of history kind of take care of that! If you are interested let me know and I will make this happen.

 

If you do decide to play the Saturday gig - let me make a few suggestions about stage presence and style:

1) move the music stand to the side.

2) Stand up the entire time.

3) Play with more Flair and in the most upbeat style you can!

4) talk to the crowd and get them into it!

5) Learn peoples names in between sets and get to know them!

 

 

**** - I like you a lot. I believe we have become decent friends over the past year as well. Not trying to jeopardize any of that - if I didn't care this email would be 2 sentences long. This is all about business. I am not trying to tell you how to be a musician, just what I am looking for at Spankies! Please let me know what you decide....."

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Put a full band together take the Saturday gig and kick ass. Most club managers would let you know as went to set up on Tuesday that, "Oh, by the way, we're making some changes starting now." The guy genuiniely likes you and your talent, but is simply looking to keep up with an increasing crowd that needs to be involved in the music, rather than providing background music. Your opportunity is still very much there and no doubt you have the chance to work yourself and a group into something tailor made for that club. Sure, it seems like a blow to the ego, but really it's more like a slight glance. Unless it's really something you're not into, step back, reassess and reinvent yourself a little. It may open up a lot more doors for you in the end.

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This is valuable feedback.Like the man said..if he didnt like you, the note would have been 2 sentences long,and you would never have known the reasons.Also,what he said will probably work in just about ANY other gig you may play.

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If you do decide to play the Saturday gig - let me make a few suggestions about stage presence and style:

1) move the music stand to the side.

2) Stand up the entire time.

3) Play with more Flair and in the most upbeat style you can!

4) talk to the crowd and get them into it!

5) Learn peoples names in between sets and get to know them!

 

:facepalm: (not directed at you, just a general :face palm:)

 

Time to man up. If I were you I'd be very appreciative of his advice and heed it. Put together a band and rock the joint. Lose the music stand (don't get me started - check the music stand thread) and work on your performance. The performance is more then just the songs. It is the music and they way it is presented. Remember a musician is an actor. Play the part of an outgoing engaging musician that gets the crowd into your performance.

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This guy sounds like a friend. He's telling you what he sees and doing it in a constructive and non-condiscending manner. I used to be a teacher trainer and recommended that people vidio tape themselves teaching occasionly. Seeing yourself as others see you when you do what you do can really be helpful. Hope things work out the best.

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If you do decide to play the Saturday gig - let me make a few suggestions about stage presence and style:

1) move the music stand to the side.

2) Stand up the entire time.

3) Play with more Flair and in the most upbeat style you can!

4) talk to the crowd and get them into it!

5) Learn peoples names in between sets and get to know them!

 

 

I hate to say it...

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Agree with everyone else. He's offering good advice and going out of his way to help you be successful at his bar. Put a band together and rock the {censored} out of that place. When in doubt, learn a Stones cover to close the night.

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I agree, he wants to help you. Tough pill to swallow, though. If he didn't want you anymore, you would have been LUCKY to get a two sentence email.

 

When I got dropped from a place earlier this year, I kept asking about the summer schedule, and being told "we are trying to figure it out, we want you back, we'll be in touch." Eventually, I emailed and was told "sorry, we're already booked solid." This was after being one of their more popular acts for a couple of summers. :confused:

 

I struggle with the crowd involvement thing as well. I'm learning more and more as I go along, but I'm still not "good" at it.

 

I'd also question songlist?? Are you playing fun songs? What are those other acts playing that are more fun than your selections? Are you doing upbeat drinking sing along stuff, or more artistic choices?

 

 

-I agree with standing up. You can move around a little, and act a little more energized.

-Make eye contact and smile!

-If you need the music stand, standing up will help. You can drop it down to waist height and still see it if you need to, without it being a "shield" (as some on this board like to call it) :p

-Sometimes it's not easy to get the crowd into it. Easier if it's a bar, can be tough if it's a restaurant. Go see a few other artists and pick up on what they are doing. Do you have a local mentor you can talk to about it?

-Assuming you have a decent setlist - take requests!! If you don't know the specific songs they are asking for, you at least will have a basis for the style of music they want to hear.

-Act like you are having fun. If people think the musician is having a good time, they will want to join in.

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:eekphil: Wowww. What an e-mail. I have never, ever had a clubowner talk to me like that. Even the nicest ones, errrr maybe just one come to think of it.

 

Nice communication, well written and well thought out. Definitely someone to keep working with.

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If you do decide to play the Saturday gig - let me make a few suggestions about stage presence and style:

1) move the music stand to the side.

 

 

Just a thought: maybe we should move this to the music stand thread.

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I guess I agree with everyone else, if the dude did not like you - you would have gotten one or two sentences at most. It would be a little hard on the ego to hear the critiques but again, maybe it will work out for the best. I say take the gig, and go ahead and take his suggestions, see if you feel like your stage presence and audience connection improve...

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If you do decide to play the Saturday gig - let me make a few suggestions about stage presence and style:

1) move the music stand to the side.

2) Stand up the entire time.

3) Play with more Flair and in the most upbeat style you can!

4) talk to the crowd and get them into it!

5) Learn peoples names in between sets and get to know them!

 

 

Let me summarize the above list. Be an entertainer. That's what people pay for.

 

As for the rest of the Email, I would be extremely happy that a club owner had the decency, integrity and honesty to send something like that.

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I agree with everyone else, it seems like he's really going out of his way to be nice to you and maintain a relationship, and that he is just being completely honest about what he needs to do to make as much money as possible, which is why he's in business in the first place. I think you're really fortunate to have that from an owner, I've never met one that was even CLOSE to being this kind and considerate. And despite his "suggestions for improvement" for you, you're obviously doing something right cuz he wants to continue a working relationship with you.

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Let me summarize the above list. Be an entertainer. That's what people pay for.


As for the rest of the Email, I would be extremely happy that a club owner had the decency, integrity and honesty to send something like that.

 

 

Yup.

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The bottom line is, it's all about the show and connecting with the audience, and if that's not happening, well...you notice things like music stands detracting from it. I honestly don't think he would have mentioned the music stand if his show/stage presence was better. He probably wouldn't have even noticed it. I'm guessing our friend the OP probably stared at it a lot or spent a lot of time flipping through it.

 

Like everyone else says: Take the advice, amp it up, stand up, lose the stand if at all possible, and win back your regular spot. It's obvious the guy likes having you around.

Brian V.

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