**Guest post written by Paula Tolly, one half of the Boca Raton based Americana duo 33 Years. "My band recently did a gig where, just after the first song, a note was delivered onto the stage. Was it a song request? NO! A secret admirer? NO! On the back of an envelope was the phrase: “Turn it down a few notches, please.” Really? It’s Saturday night and this is only the FIRST song. (sigh) So I ask you, ‘what would you do?’ At first, this seems like a pretty easy question, right. But think - there you are in your first set and how do you really want to deal with this negative feedback? Just for fun, I had my picture taken with this note - very later on in the evening with a particular (middle ) finger pointed up to the note and then proceeded to post it to a band site on facebook. I figured it would strike a chord with fellow musicians and BOY DID it! The responses were so good that I just had to share some with you so, here we go! +Principles of Playing an Excellent Show DISREGARD!! After all, Spinal Tap’s amps went up to 11 so why can’t we have that liberty? I guess there is a school of thought that we musicians deserve to play at a volume which projects our genius, no matter how loud and offensive this may be to others? Here are a few sample responses from you fellow musicians: - tell her to wear ear plugs! - TURN DOWN! WHY???? - I'd tell her to take out her hearing aids and unravel her panties that were all in a twist - My guys would blow the roof off the place! Lol - GO HOME THEN!!!!!! SGT. BUZZKILL Then, came the next group of popular responses which I will call: THE BAR IS PAYING YOU!! Most folks felt that you need to respect the bar, the bartenders and the folks who are trying to make $ off your gig that night. If they ask you to turn it down, you SHOULD turn it down. period. - You have to be appropriate for the room. Madison Square Gardens isn't Joe's Corner Pub. - All depends on who is signing the check - No matter how awesome you are, you are there to sell drinks and nothing more. If they can't hear drink orders, you will not be back. If people are bitching about the volume and leaving, you will not be back. Learning to play a room is almost as import. Finally, we shall discuss those who prefer to: MEET YOU IN THE MIDDLE!! Yup - you probably get asked back to your gigs because you try to keep everyone happy. The management, the bartenders, the clients and your fellow musicians. You have a lot to juggle and the last thing you need to do is burn a bridge over anything. - if you're a professional, you turn down. First thing, I do after a set is ask management if volume was OK and then adjust accordingly. - Don't make a fuss, simply drop it down a notch or two, especially if they pay well and you want to go back. - As you are on stage, it is not easy to assess how loud you are at the bar, but if they can't hear their customers orders and drink sales go down, you ain't going back! WHAT DID WE DO, YOU ASK? We used a little humor to ask the collective group if we needed to turn it down and there was an overwhelming yell of ‘no’. Actually, we thought it was kind of funny that we got this note because we ALWAYS try to start soft, be more aware of the room we are playing, and always ask the management about the volume level. So what is your band style? Are you loud and boisterous? Considerate and reserved or just a big old pushover. Whatever it is, I think we could all strive to be a partner of the establishment and work hand in hand to keep everyone happy."
Life on the road anyone? Do you ever wonder what it is like to be a real, touring act on the road and living that super exciting life? Well, read on as I recap what our last little road tour was like for this Americana duo! We recently returned from our first 9 day tour and wanted to share all the excitement about band life on the road. Day 1 So after family drama about who was gonna watch the dog, water the plants, take Grandma to Costco, etc... we FINALLY head out! Ahhhh - our FIRST gig of the tour. After a mere 4 1/2 hour drive, we get ourselves psyched for our first big night. We adopt our first bit of tour strategy which means that we head straight to the venue as soon as we get to town. This enables us to get a feel for the neighborhood - i.e, do we need to fear for our lives after the show gets out, will our car still be there - you know that kind of stuff. We arrive at our destination. College town. Dead of Summer. Venue looks okay - along a pretty busy street and down a few doors from a tattoo joint and liquor store. Street parking looks ok. Time to find a hotel and rest up! We find a hotel in town with a good parking situation. For us this means making sure the bits of gear we leave in the car are safe and we can easily access the car. Car safe = a good thing. Rest. Long night ahead! Are you getting the impression that a lot of this has nothing to do with music? Well, that’s what happens. Your focus becomes the process of getting there, finding the venue and then trying to mind meld with the venue before your show. Trying to gel with the venue and the other performers for the night. That’s the primary objective. Are we opening for someone else? Who else is playing? Go to their twitter, find their facebook - start to mingle. That sort of stuff. Drink some coffee. One more twitter - maybe a vine post. More coffee. Rest. Next.. showtime! - we get there, find a corner to stow our guitars and then the fun begins. First question: hmmm - is it a yoga studio or dance studio - not quite sure, especially since there were lots of folks, both young and old, either dancing to mystical vibes and falling on the floor or doing a full vinyasa on the floor before the artists’ show. In both cases, there seemed to be a good use for the dance floor at this show! We were told our show goes on at 12:30 a.m. Really? Will there still be people left? Anyone? Did I mention that we are usually early morning people? Well - thus begins our big shift into night time schedule. This means, rise at 10:00 a.m. - try to catch any free breakfast at the hotel, pack, hit the road. Lunch at 2:00 or a combo lunch - dinner at 4:00 p.m. Find venue, repeat.... This venue was really cool because the sound guy was really into lights and made sure to use all possible variations during our show. Luckily, the feature band stayed behind to catch our show - or, rather, they stayed because they HAD to. Their gear was still on stage and they stayed out of customary support for the next band to play. So - after some super smoke machine effects and an amazing light show set, we are done. Our car is safe on the street! Hooray! Success! We make our way back to the hotel - always hot and sweaty. We say goodnight to the front lobby folks as we pass through the empty lobby at 2:00 a.m. Goodnight! It was a good first night on the road!
"You know the scenario.... you’ve been trying to get into this local bar for who knows how long and your buddy just gave you the name of the new booker. You email him or text or whatever his preference is and you get the dreaded dead end comment back: "How many people can you draw at my venue....?" Your heart sinks, your confidence dwindles and you think, "Hey, is there anyone out there who really cares about the music nowadays?"
You write, again, the booker in that DC venue where you are trying to get a show to round out your tour and AGAIN - that question pops up.... "How many people will you bring?" Well... DUH! I’m trying to break into this new market. How do I get my foot in the door when I KNOW I can’t bring a draw the FIRST time I play your venue?
- See more at: http://www.indieonthemove.com/blog/2014/05/whats-your-draw#sthash.rDqUX7MZ.dpuf
We are on the move this month - first to NYC at The Parkside Lounge where we got to hang with our NYC friends! This was special because our NJ/NY folks have never even seen us play instruments before! Thanks to everyone who came out to see us!
As a duo act, Kevin and I played the Florida Strawberry Festival yesterday and what a fair that is! 11 days full of music, strawberries, food, crafts.... if you live near Plant City, FL go and check it out!
Next week, we'll be up near Orlando at Sleeping Moon Cafe and then next month a few stops in Colorado! Hope to catch up with some friends out there as well.
It's like one big class reunion!
Thanks for listening and thanks for visiting!
paula & kevin 33 Years
We're so proud to be nominated along side some top South Florida talent for our song A CASE OF WHISKEY! Look for it in the FAVORITE SONG BY A LOCAL ARTIST CATEGORY on this site: http://www.southfloridacountrymusic.com/2013-sfcm-awards-final-round-of-voting/
God bless! Paula & Kevin Duo / Band: 33 Years
Phew - I don't know what is more work.... booking shows or making sure you post your dates to all your artsit websites. Well... we are getting ready to get on tour next week in Tennessee. This time, we are making Knoxville our target base and we'll be playing at a few places around there. We'll get to preview our brand new song A Case Of Whiskey - so far, everyone LOVES IT!
I'm gonna miss my family but it will be worth it as we continue on our musical journey and get to play to some new faces along the way.
I sure hope we get a little Autumn weather because Florida is still hotter than a cat on a hot tin roof.
More updates next week from the road!
Till then, take care!
Paula & Kevin
We recently went on Michael Stock's radio show on WLRN, Miami. It was so exciting to get into the studio and see the HUGE collection of CD's and Michael is a wonderful host. We hope to come back sometime soon!
This is a big week - we have our first area club debut tomorrow night at Fish Tales in Fort Lauderdale. Check our upcoming show schedule because we'll be showing up at various venues in our back yard soon!
paula & kevin
So - to think we came here just two months ago and now we are back for our SECOND time! This time with guitars, mandolin and lots of fun appointments. Meeting other songwriters, visiting studios and trying to play a bit too. It's all good and there are so many venues to check out both in Nashville and in the surrounding areas. It has been so fun to meet all you restaurant owners who provide the stage and help provide an atmosphere for live music to be heard! This has definitely been an experience for Kevin and myself. Hope to see you around town!
So - we're getting ready to head down to the Keys next Friday for the Key Largo Original Music Fest! This is going to be a hoot! Some fresh arrangements of originals - even a few from Kevin. Come on down and see us! http://www.keylargosongwritersfestival.com/
So happy to be listed on the Artist roster for South Florida Country Music! woo hoo!