Although tour has now ended, I am going to pick up where I left off and continue giving some day-to-day posts from the road. These will lead up to Polyrhythmics’ big shows in Portland and Bend this weekend, as well as the grand finale in Seattle on November 24.
Before I left for tour, my dad told me about this figure of speech. I had never heard it before, but if there’s a whole Wikipedia entry for it, it must be worth something, right?
Our gig in Peoria brought us back into Illinois, to Kenny’s Westside Pub. Kenny’s had some delicious takes on Irish pub food and some very energetic costumed music fans. This was one of the latest shows on the tour, and although we were a little paranoid we’d be wiped, I think the energy was up until the end, even as a loyal handful of folks were still partying.
After playing Kenny’s, on the drive to our hotel, I had a good conversation with Ben about expectations and ticket sales on this Midwest tour. The promoter for our Peoria show is also responsible for booking other events and venues in the area, and the booker at our St. Louis show the following night was in a similar role there. Most of my experiences playing gigs deals with venue owners and people that work for the venue directly, and for better or for worse, that sometimes makes their number one priority filling the room and selling tickets. Granted, you can’t play music that nobody likes; you have to find the audience and the appropriate spaces to do what you do, and try to run business accordingly, but it occurred to me on this tour that I don’t think about “tastemakers” all that much, and that’s what these guys are doing.
I’ll talk more about St. Louis in the next post, but both promoters were extremely passionate about our music after we finished our shows. They were ready to go to bat for us if nobody showed up and were ready to go to bat for us after people lost their minds too, and in writing this post I’m thinking about some of the people I know in Seattle that do the same thing, some working at venues, some running festivals or non-profits, etc.
Sometimes it’s easy for me to be apprehensive about venues and promoters, to think that some will book anything that sells tickets. But in general, I’ve been lucky to deal largely with people that are on the same mission I am, and the more I can reason out my cynicism and get rid of it, the better things will be, I think. Thank you, all you tastemakers!
Current Listening: Noname, “Room 25”
I caught a little bit of Noname at Capitol Hill Block Party some time ago, but this tour I listened to her most recent album, “Room 25”, and I like it a lot. I think the songs are well-written and create a real mood, and Noname is a very talented vocalist and musician. Check it out!
NEXT, for real this time: St. Louis