I (@FollowMeAlexG) am sure glad that I have lived in DC for 1.5 years before heading to NYC, because it was quite the maze to navigate. My business mission while in NYC was to visit as many of the great record stores as possible, and introduce them to our awesome company in person.
I took a Bolt Bus from Union Station in DC to NYC, and was definitely overwhelmed; it didn’t help that my “Apple Maps” wasn’t functioning very well. By the time I figured out the subway, and took the train to Brooklyn, it was pretty late in the day. I was staying with Kid Named Breezy and his manager in a Brooklyn apartment, and I decided to stick around for his video shoot that evening so I could meet the music industry professionals who were attending.
It’s okay to sin (in some cases), and in this case, it was okay to S.I.N all over the 9:30 Club. What I’m referring to is the “Strength In Numbers” national tour that was in Washington, D.C. this past Tuesday night. The tour features an excellent line-up of great bands, each bringing their own flavor to the mix.
I arrived at the 9:30 Club right as the doors opened giving me time to talk with Alex in an indoor voice, no screaming over blaring rock music. We had a drink at the bar and a chat about Sparks The Rescue and the music industry. Then I joined the band in their dressing room and met the rest of the gang. They are a great group of gentlemen who like to make great music, and encourage all types of shenanigans and good times, which I am always game to join.
When their set was about to start, I headed down in front of the stage to get the full Sparks The Rescue experience. They are normally a bit more pop-oriented, but for this tour, they are performing a more varied selection of songs. I definitely applaud their choice to play the heavier songs, based on my own personal preference, and think it fits in better with what the concertgoers want. BRAVO Sparks The Rescue! You get better every time I see you!!
The other band I watched was DRUGS. I have seen Nick Martin, Matt Good, and Craig Owens perform many times in different bands throughout my life, and to see them all in one band was a treat. Heck, I’ll even admit that they were a part of the inspiration for my decision to pursue a career in the music industry. Even though I was bummed that Craig and Chiodos parted ways, DRUGS sure makes up for any disappointment I might have felt.
For fans ….make sure you get tickets and plan your trip to catch one of the dates on the S.I.N Tour, because this is one hell of a show, get there when the doors open so you can experience music from some great bands.
Life as a struggling artist is, in a word, hard. You essentially have two jobs. Daytime Ramen noodle thief, nighttime Ramen noodle eater, thus leaving little time for those noodles on your guitar.
You also don’t want to squander all your hard work and creativity. Posting on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Datpiff isn’t enough to get recognized. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, just look at Asher Roth. Or don’t, he does reflect the sun something awful. It’s great for your friends, but the point is, you need a venue. People will talk when they see how you are live. Gaining a cult following in this way is the first way to blow up. Wale did it in D.C., then expanded by playing in all the local venues. He still does. It’s so easy to find him.
The thing is, you may be asking, where do you go? How do you get booked without a manager? The easy answer is, with connections. All it takes is one. As a member of the University of Maryland’s Music Business Society, we are always looking for talented artists to bring to campus, whether they are well-known or local. We get this done by emailing the band directly or whoever they are associated with to let them know we are interested in having them perform. Of course this works the other way around too. Contacting and sending a sample or two of your music is a great way to get noticed. Music lovers in the music biz are always willing to give something a listen.
You might be thinking, “I’m not a big enough name to actually draw people, why would they choose me?” Well, Mr./Ms. Sadsack, college bars and small-time businesses with room for live music are always looking for up and coming acts to open for larger names. A new bar at UMD, The Barking Dog, has been trying to draw in the kids. Facing tough competition from more established venues, they have been bringing in local artists to perform live, to build interest.
So if you’re in school already, look up the school clubs and find one that organizes functions where you can perform. If you’re not in school, do the same thing! Other options include contacting your local government if they are heavily involved in your community. Mine puts on free concerts during the summer. C’mon guys, FREE CONCERT, people will be there. Live music is amazing, so get over your stage fright and get up offa that thing and try to release the pressure!