Like Twisted Sister, we wanna rock
May 18, 2012 5:58 AM   Subscribe

Where can a rock band get a gig in Manhattan on a favorable night of the week without having recent gig experience?

My band wants to have a record release gig on a night when people are more likely to come see us -- Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. We'd like to play somewhere with good sound. But we are coming off a 10-year hiatus. We've got a booking page up on our Web site, with some professional-sounding Soundcloud links on it. We just started promoting our Facebook page (and we haven't played yet), so we've got 150 fans, not 6,000. But we'll absolutely bring somewhere around 75-100 people to the record release gig, and there aren't many bars looking for more than that out of their, say, Thursday 9 p.m. slot. At the same time, I understand bookers can't just take my word for that.

Are there bars anyone can recommend that have good sound and might be open to hosting us on one of those nights? Thanks in advance for any help.
posted by troywestfield to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Arlene's Grocery is a good bet. Make sure to mention your draw in the email you send.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:06 AM on May 18, 2012

You may want to try Rockwood Music Hall, Pianos, or Cake Shop, all on LES. I am not sure about how competitive the booking is for popular nights, but each has a ton of shows.
posted by mlle valentine at 6:11 AM on May 18, 2012

I'm not familiar with Manhattan but I do work for a booking agency in La. For most venues here, the goal is to book a quality band that will draw, for the least amount of money as possible. As you don't already have a steady following and this will be your first public gig, here are a few suggestions:

1. Find another local band in your genre that gigs. Make a list of the places that they play. Contact those places first.

2. If you already know one of these bands, ask to open for them for free or a percentage of the door. This will get you seen by the club manager.

3. If you can get a club manager to call you back and he is hesitant to hire you, offer to play for a percentage of the door, just for the first time.

4. Play a full set in front of friends (in your practice room) with the most tech savvy friend recording it on video. Cut and paste to make a promo video with your best shots. Do not post anything on youtube or fb that does not look 100% professional.

Best of luck to you! Feel free to message me if I can be of any assistance.
posted by myselfasme at 8:24 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

One more thing...

What is the name of your band?

You should never miss out on a chance to self promote. :)
posted by myselfasme at 8:27 AM on May 18, 2012

Thanks very much, myselfasme. We're the Troy Westfield Experience, and we're cooking up some videos, but the time to book is now, given the record's release. Bars here often book 6-8 weeks in advance.

Up here, you usually do end up playing for a percentage of the door. I'm guessing in La., it's often for a flat fee or something? Also, most of these bars tend to book bands for slots, so you'll go on at 9 and not have any connection with the bands that go on at 8 and at 10.

Thanks to ludwig_van and mlle valentin as well. I've written to those places, am afraid they'll want a more experienced band, since there's no proving an inexperienced one will bring a crowd. There used to be a place called Acme Underground, we got our start there, and I'm sure we could have gotten a prime slot there, but they closed.
posted by troywestfield at 8:35 AM on May 18, 2012

Any idea where the staff from Acme Underground ended up? Those might be good places to try.
posted by maurice at 9:15 AM on May 18, 2012

In my experience Arlene's Grocery is not very picky with booking, but they have good sound. You may have to follow up. Pianos and Cake Shop are a different story and I would be surprised if either of them got back to you. Best of luck.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:25 AM on May 18, 2012

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