Saw Now, Now on their tour supporting The Lonely Forest this past friday. It was at a to remain nameless venue in southern CA. This venue is also a pay to play venue for local bands, the guy at the door asked me what band I was there to see and he had a tally of which people coming to see which act.
I have strong feelings against pay-to-play and for a short while I was looking to play a Tangerine Smile show here until they told me they required a 20 ticket pre-sale in order to play. For those who are unfamiliar with pay-to-play it works like this: bands are financially responsible for the tickets being sold. They pay a bunch of money up front (lets say 10$ a ticket which with the about ticket amount = 200$) for their slot on the bill for that particular night. They are either required to sell that many tickets to be allowed to play, or have to cough up the remaining cash to pay for the difference. This is shitty because they only end up selling tickets to existing fans or family members which in turn doesn’t increase their fanbase. It also puts extra cost and work on the bands who are usually strapped for cash and time to begin with. They are not a marketing department/person. They are the entertainment. And to top it all off those coming to see the band they bought the ticket from don’t stick around for the other acts. Overall it is a crummy situation and I do my best not to be involved with it. Most all-ages venues in southern California are like this. Which is lame, but the plethora of unexperienced acts in this, “center of the entertainment industry” who are desperate to play make it possible. So other like minded individuals and myself work around this and find the few venues who don’t pull this pseudo scam on musicians. I end up doing a lot of house shows (which I love) and playing things like the punx picnic in LA(more on that in a minute)
THAT BEING SAID, this nameless venue is a nice venue, its clean, the sound is good, the staff is friendly and they are on top of their stuff. I disapprove of how they book bands but I empathize. Its hard to make money in this industry/scene. Its hard to pay your bills in this financial climate. When bands will handle your marketing/ticket sales for you, you don’t have to put as many resources into that aspect of your business and you save time and money. That makes sense considering the amount of bands who are willing to do almost anything to get themselves on stage. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. To reiterate: I’m don’t like pay-to-play, its stupid and slightly amoral, but I understand why it is done. Provided its done only to cut costs and if any other option was viable it would be taken. If this isn’t the case, shame on you, you money grubbing no good nerf-herders.
RANT OVER. Happier things now. Now, Now was fantastic. The openers were good as was the Lonely Forest. I bought Now, Now’s vinyl and they signed it. Talked to the drummer for a minute. He was a nice guy, we talked about the tour and needing more sleep. It was a good show.
Yesterday I played the second Los Angeles Punx Picnic. WHICH WAS FANTASTIC. Met tons of cool people, saw some real good bands. Cyclops Rock was there, sadly he didn’t get to play because of timing and school and things. He and the guys from Alexander the Grape were fantastic to bum around with though. Brittany and Ian were the coolest cats. So were Kasey and Claire. Claire was a champ for putting the whole thing together. It was a real good day.