Bands, be better The music-venue landscape in Chico is changing. LaSalles and 1078 Gallery are gone (for now, at least), and Cafe Coda has scaled its calendar way back. At the same time, new outlets like Argus Bar + Patio and Naked Lounge are ramping up their programming considerably. At this juncture of transition, Arts DEVO wants to remind the makers of music that, while the venues are a crucial part, the artists need to work just as hard as promoters if the music scene is to thrive. With that in mind, I’ve cobbled together some of my timeless advice to goose bands into action. Here are your marching orders:
First, take control of your own destiny. Seek out touring bands you think are rad, make friends with them and put together a tight show and pitch it to your friendly neighborhood booker. The booker will wipe the drool from his chin, shake your hand and thank you. If the show goes well, he’ll even remember your name.
Second, book three bands per show, no more. Trust me, I know from experience how hard it is to make that happen, but discipline with this issue is crucial to the overall health of the music scene. The five-band bill is unsustainable. Be sustainable. Have a tight bill that moves smoothly and ends in less than three hours. It is as important as performing a kick-ass set for consistently attracting show-goers outside of the usual suspects.
Third, promote. Do not depend on any venue, booker, fellow band or rock ’n’ roll pixies to magically conjure up an audience for you. You may believe it’s the venue’s “job” to promote (and it most definitely is), but there is no way its managers should be more excited about the show than you are. And excitement is contagious. Spread it around, and before you know it, you’ve created anticipation. This will work out well for you and your dreams of playing music in front of others. And of course, exploit Facebook. It’s easy and fast. But despite all appearances, life is not lived on social media. We breathe and move and meet up in the analog world. Print and hang a few fliers. Be real. Advocate in person. And, for the love of all things that are boneheadedly simple, set aside 30 seconds and send an email to your local print-media outlets about your cool show. You may assume that we editors and reporters sit at our computers monitoring your every rock ’n’ roll move, but that, my delusional friends, is not the case. We depend on you to help make us look hip. (And if you think all venues are sending us show info in a timely manner, I have a magical guitar pick to sell you.)
For those who don’t know how it works at the Chico News & Review: Submit your local gig to the calendar editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the deadline (5 p.m. Wednesday, one week before the issue in which the date of your event falls) and you will be listed in our printed Nightlife section. And, even if you’re late, there is no deadline for the online calendar (www.newsreview.com/chico/calendar). Post it, and it’s live.
Pro tip: Send your press releases and photos at least one month before your show. The CN&R plans stories two to four weeks out and if I get info on your rad show happening that weekend, there is no room left on the stage even if I wanted to turn the spotlight on you.
If you rockers are up to the task, the scene will be yours. And Chico will be better for it.